Friday, April 11, 2003


Yesterday in the forum for solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution a professor from the Central University here in Caracas spoke about the relevance of Simón Bolívar´s thinking for these moments in which we are living.

Bolívar was ahead of his time. He devoted a hundred percent of his time and energy and economic resources to freeing his country from its colonial status; he was born wealthy and died penniless, wearing a borrowed shirt. His ideas about equality of all people in a nation and creating a structure for a united South America had gone unheeded until the emergence of Chávez on the political screen, who proudly wears his mixed ethnicity and his heart on his sleeve.

Chávez has not endeared himself to the oligarchy, the traditional elite whose control of Venezuela Bolívar tried to prevent. The same kinds of folks who conspired against The Liberator actively conspire against Chávez. I sure didn’t see any designer label shoppers in the crowd for yesterday’s events.

Raven might have spotted them; he has sharper eyes than I....

Revolutionary leaders who are ahead of their time--this theme kept resounding in my head all day yesterday, due not just to the analysis of Bolívar’s thinking, but also because April 10th was the 84th anniversary of the assassination in Chinameca, Morelos, of Emiliano Zapata—another leader who was ahead of his time because he wanted to take what was precious and useful from traditions of the past to insure a viable and harmonious future for campesinos of Mexico.

Zapata is famous for having said, “La tierra es de quien la trabaja” (The land belongs to the person who works it), and that phrase is displayed in the wall of the musuem in Anenecuilco, Morelos, that contains the ruins of house in which Zapata was born. Zapata was also against a society of classes. Why is it that leaders who believe in and promote the concept of equality among people are seen as dangers to society?

Zapata also said, “It´s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.”

I assume that Raven would insist that the question to think about in terms of the loss of personal freedom in the US and other parts of the world due to the current administration´s plan for world dominance is:

How many of us are living on our knees?

Raven, of course, doesn't have knees....

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