Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Battle of Carabobo

Today is the commemoration of the Battle of Carabobo on June 24, 1821 when Simon Bolivar broke the back of the Spanish empire in the Americas with the help of his British and Irish Regiments against the forces of the Spanish General field Marshall Miguel De Torre.

It was one of the single most decisive victories of the entire Napoleonic era and led to the removal of royalist Spanish forces from Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Paraguay while San Martin liberated Argentina and Chile, Uruguay! A land mass as large as 3/4 of all of North America was effectively set free between 1810 through 1842!

Just as our Declaration of Independence set in motion the freedom of the Americas from English colonial power, the Battle of Carabobo effectively helped end Spanish colonial domination by European powers of the western Hemisphere!

Following his victory, and with the establishment of a congress for Gran Colombia here was Simon Bolivar's statement:

Sir:

The oath I have just taken in my capacity as President of Colombia represents for me an act of conscience, which further places me under the obligation to submit to the laws of my country.

Only a profound sense of respect for the will of the people could compel me to submit to the onerous position of Supreme Magistrate. The gratitude for so doing which I feel emanates from the representatives of the people, moreover, imposes upon me the pleasant duty, to continue in the service of my country, to defend, with my possessions, my blood and my honour, this Constitution, which cements the Rights of Man, joining them in the cause of freedom, the public good, and glory. The Constitution of Colombia, together with her independence, will constitute the Holy Altar on which I shall make the necessary sacrifices. For her I will march to the very edge of Colombia to break the chains which bind the sons of Ecuador, and, making them free, invite them to join her.

Sir, I hope that you will authorize me to join together, in beneficence, those peoples which nature and Heaven have made our brothers. Once this work, born of our wisdom and my zeal, is done, nothing will remain for us to achieve but peace, so that we may give to Colombia its rest and its glory. Therefore, Sir, I preach you ardently, do not show yourself deaf to the call of my conscience and my honour, which bid me loudly to remain solely a citizen. I feel the necessity of quitting the Presidency of the Republic, which the people hold as the Master of their Hearts. I am the son of war; a man brought to power only by dint of combat; fortune has kept for me this rank and victory has confirmed me in it. But these are not the titles consecrated by justice, good fortune, and the will of the people.

The sword which has governed Colombia is not the scales of justice, but the whip of misfortune which, sometimes, Heaven lets fall to Earth to punish tyrants and boastful nations. That sword serves no purpose when there is peace, and this should be the last time I am permitted to wield it; so I have sworn to myself, because I have promised it to Colombia, and because there can be no Republic where the people cannot wield power. A man such as myself, is a dangerous thing in a popular government; my existence is a clear and present danger to the sovereignty of the nation.

I would wish to be a citizen, a free man, so that all may be free men. I prefer the name of Citizen to that of Liberator, for the latter being born of war, the former is born of law. I beseech thee, Sir, I should give up all my titles, if in exchange I could procure but one: that of The Good Citizen.

Simon Bolivar

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