Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Bolívar in nappies

A ship commissioned by the Venezuelan government from Germany to be part of the fishing fleet Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) has just arrived in Venezuela. Our autocrat says the ship will be called - surprise, surprise - Simón Bolívar. We have already another ship called Simón Bolívar, but that one is a school ship. Now we have at the very least two governmental Simón Bolívar ships.

Chávez single-handedly changed the name of our country from República de Venezuela to República Bolivariana de Venezuela. Our currency is called Bolívar, our largest state is Bolívar, the highest peak also, a big iron mountain, absolutely every single main square of every village and city in Venezuela, an autonomous university and a group of state-controlled universities, a thousand other institutions and much more.

Bolívar Peak

Universidad Simón Bolívar

Autocrat in front of first caudillo of independent Venezuela
(Paez would be the second)

Many years ago, shortly after Chávez revamped the Bolívar Cult, I read a reader's letter in El Nacional who in order to avoid confusions with all the new things being called after Bolívar suggested adding a specific word or two: "kindergarten wee Bolívar", "fashion shop Bolívar on the Catwalk", school "Bolívar Reading Books" and so on. US Americans use a lot of "Washington", but even that one does not get close to the use of the Bolívar name in Venezuela. And the saddest part is that most Venezuelans have an incredibly fuzzy idea of universal and national history and who Bolívar actually was. Chávez was not joking when he said that mankind was 20 to 25 centuries old.

One day we will have to deconstruct Bolívar. I mean: the man did some good things, but he was neither unique nor a super hero nor so positive as painted by every Venezuelan textbook and there were many other persons who made great contributions to Venezuela. We would have got our independence without him anyway. The Bolívar cult has done more evil than good in Venezuela, as I have often said.

Bolívar's deconstruction will have to come not as an iconoclastic movement, but rather as very-well planned process of analysis of history as manipulation tool in the world and Venezuela.

Curious note: the Order of the Liberator (referring to Bolívar) was first created by...Bolívar himself.

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