Una sobre Bolívar / Cantórbery Cuevas

One About Bolívar

When Simón Rodríguez affirms that “Bolívar and his defender (referring to himself) are zambos,” I believe he says it not in function of what portions of black, indian or white blood might flow through their veins, but rather in allusion to how both of them are mestizos, and that moreover he affirms this in a celebratory manner. Completely in contrast to Salvador de Madariaga, who goes around combing for Negroid corpuscles in The Liberator’s veins, in an effort to diminish him (?).

Personally, I’m not concerned about whether they existed or not, since that recourse is more of a digression than an argument; though I presume that – as with almost everyone in this country – it is a case of mixed blood.

The paternal branch of my family was not Bolivarist, and when I was a child my father used to recall my grandmother’s indignant reaction – she had personally known the young man before he became famous – when she found out about the celebration of the Caracas Provincial Delegation decree of 1842; “Imagine, giving the Plaza Mayor that idiot’s name!”

Of course, an opposite case was the excessive fancy of veneration for the hero on the part of a great-grandfather of mine on my mother’s side, the godchild of Feliciano Palacios, of whom it is said, finding himself in Santa Marta when The Liberator died, he managed to surreptitiously amputate the third phalanx of the deceased one’s left pinkie finger with a little pocket knife, stealthily placing it in his pocket and escaping unnoticed.

Pepe Izquierdo’s scandalous determination in 1947 to profane the tomb of The Liberator and confirm whether or not the skull of the homeland’s first eminence was resting there (in response to such a determined request the Constituent Assembly of that era named an ad hoc commission presided by Andrés Eloy Blanco which included, inter alia, Rafael Caldera and Julio Lander Márquez, and which we will discuss in a future column), was actually nothing more than a pretext for him to find out what really interested him: if the illustrious cadaver was missing a fraction of a finger.

In the end the coffin was never opened completely, but there are still those who furiously defend the amputation thesis and assure that the relic was passed on from generation to generation in the family of my ancestor’s godfather, to this very day.

Being personally linked by blood kinship with the presumed theft, from the beginning I suspected this hypothesis was probable; and finding myself one afternoon, a long time ago, visiting the house Chulavista in the Colinas de Bello Monte neighborhood, I discovered in the room of Cristóbal Palacios, a friend of my grandchildren, a small vial smelling of formol and containing a little object submerged in an amber liquid that meticulously revealed a tiny phalanx, with an incorporated fingernail. I immediately asked Cristóbal about the nature of my discovery, excitedly anticipating a confirming and very secretive confession.

He took the vial from me and acted as though nothing had happened.

{ Cantórbery Cuevas, TalCual, 5 October 2000 }

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