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Latin America’s Debt to Haiti: The Untold Story

January 15, 2010

Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez celebrates a painting of Simon Bolivar. Pic From Flickr

From Wikipedia at:  http://thelouvertureproject.org/index.php?title=Sim%C3%B3n_Bol%C3%ADvar

and at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sim%C3%B3n_Bol%C3%ADvar

Simon Bolivar

Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios (July 24, 1783 Caracas, Venezuela – December 17, 1830 Santa Marta, Colombia) South American liberator. Bolívar traveled on December 24, 1815 to Haiti, arriving in the coastal town of Les Cayes on his way from Jamaica were he was expelled.

Simón Bolívar received help from the Haitian goverment under Alexandre Pétion for his military campaigns. Pétion secretly supplied Bolívar with 4,000 muskets, 15,000 pounds of powder, flints, lead and a printing press and asked in return for South America’s slaves to be freed. (Heinl p. 158 – See also footnote 430 of The Struggle for the Recognition of Haiti…).

Bolívar left Haiti on April 10, 1816 for Venezuela, but returned in mid September of that year to Les Cayes after lost battles in South America. Resupplied by Pétion he sailed again from Haiti on December 28, 1816, this time to successfully conclude his struggle for South American liberation from colonialism. The Haitian help was given because he promised to free slaves, Bolívar landed in Venezuela and captured Angostura

Despite the crucial logistical support from Haiti, Bolívar never recognized the independence of the former French colony Saint-Domingue.

One of Bolívar’s predecessors in the liberation struggle from colonialism in Spanish ruled South America, Francisco de Miranda, created the first Venezuelan flag near Jacmel in the South of Haiti. Anchored in the Bay of Jacmel, he first raised the flag on March 12, 1806 on the Corvette Leander. This day is celebrated is still celebrated as Venezuelan Flag Day.

Importance of Bolivar to Latin America:

Simón Bolívar (July 24, 1783 – December 17, 1830), was one of the most important leaders of Spanish America’s successful struggle for independence from Spain, along with Argentinian general José de San Martín.

After the triumph over the Spanish monarchy, Bolívar participated in the foundation of Gran Colombia, a nation formed from the liberated Spanish colonies. Bolívar became President of Gran Colombia from 1821 to 1830, President of Peru from 1824 to 1826 and President of Bolivia from 1825 to 1826. His legacy contributed decisively to the independence of present-day Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panamá, Perú and Venezuela.

Could any of this have been achieved without the help of Haiti?

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