During Simón Bolívar’s speech before the Patriotic Society on July 4th, 1811, he pleaded for Venezuela to break from colonial chains: “Lets, with no fear, place the stone of fundamental South American liberty: to hesitate is to lose ourselves.” His words against Spanish rule aimed at a unity, if effective, it would lead Venezuela to freedom. The words union and liberty ring throughout his speech but, what did Bolívar mean with such words, with such proclamation? A sentiment that forced him to leave a clear message of what for a new nation was, or meant: its independence.
Union; an ambiguous word used in ancestral generations to define the strong and unbreakable links of an agreement or friendship. When I was young, my mother used to say, “the links of brotherhood and friendship are so intricately intertwined that when force is applied, they’re almost impossible to break because they form a nucleus of unwavering power.” In each one of Bolívar’s letters, he often referred to the same union. In each text. In each proclamation. He relied on his faith, “when union is consolidated, and parties cease, I will go down calmly into my grave.” These words were a declaration not only for that time, but his words served as inspiration for future liberators. I frequently question myself about Bolívar’s thoughts regarding liberty and union, and I wonder if we are those ornamented liberators he conceived, or are we just simple-minded citizens? Perhaps we are like those who chose not to come after that independence feat, but chose to live under colonial rule of the enslaving Spanish Monarchy? Well no, I am a patriot because I firmly believe in the fundamental principles of the First Republic of Venezuela’s constitution based on the premises of equality of individuals, abolition of censorship and dedication to freedom of expression. The one that freed us, that weaned us from that colonial sustenance; and like the Phoenix, it gave us new wings to fly, to be free and search for skies of dignity and national patriotism. That, to me, and to many others, would represent what we commemorate on July 5th.
As I reflect on these words, and how Bolívar’s thoughts resonate in my mind; ‘Caramba’ it feels as if I’m listening to the echo of his words in the air. It’s as if I’m seeing his hand moving the sword of justice, crying out for union and freedom of the oppressed. For twenty one years Venezuela has suffered many battles, from unlimited corruption lawsuits to systematic human rights violations; Bolívar’s dreams have been shattered. Simón Bolívar was a prophet, a dreamer, a visionary leader who yearned for a free country, and on July 5th, 1811, proclaimed his vision in order to establish a new nation, and help Venezuela compelling such emancipation parchment manuscript: our constitution.
Today, July 5th, 2019, two hundred and eight years later, I’m left yearning for that same freedom. Today, I cry out for the chains of hate, abuse, and division to break, and I plead for an effective union that will lead Venezuela to freedom, again.
I believe we are those liberators Bolívar spoke about, but until our union is not consolidated, we will not go calmly into our grave.
By Pedro Correa, Marlon Correa, Daniella Bustillos, Virginia Giunta