Simón Bolívar, Venezuela and Haiti

Simon Bolivar [negatiive photo]

But this is not all that the Haitians did for the sacred cause of Humanity: the breath of God was on them. When the immortal Bolívar, vanquished and a fugitive, after the failure of his first effort, was seeking a place of refuge as well as help, it was in Haiti that he found both. The leader of the second American Republic, the chief of the Black people, in supplying Simón Bolívar with men and money, allowed him to resume the struggle, and to become later on the glorious liberator of the United States of Venezuela. This fact is but little known, although it has not been forgotten by the Venezuelans who have erected in a public place of Caracas, among their national heroes, a statue of Alexandre Pétion, President of Haiti.

Mons M. Charles Moravia, “Haiti — Past and Present,” Pan-American Commerce: Past-Present-Future, from the Pan-American Viewpoint, John Barret and Julián Moreno-Lacalle, Eds. (1919)

Bolívar visited Haiti and made the acquaintance of the negro patriot Pétion, who have him help in fitting out his new expedition, and advised him, as a first step after landing in his country, to free the slaves, “for how can you found a republic where slavery exists?” — advice which Bolívar followed.

Julian Hawthorne, Spanish America: from the earliest period to the present time (1899)

On July 6, 1816 Bolívar and his men landed in Ocumare de la Costa, a port north of Valencia, proclaimed the cessation of the War to Death, and offered pardon to all those who surrendered, even though they were Spaniards. He also proclaimed the freedom of all slaves, thereby fulfilling a promise to President Pétion of Haiti. “Henceforward,” he said, “in Venezuela, there will be only one class of men: all will be citizens.”

Guillermo A. Sherwell, Simón Bolívar (The Liberator): Patriot, Warrior, Statesmen, Father of Five Nations: A Sketch of His Life and His Work (The Bolivarian Society of Venezuela, 1951)

Twice did Bolívar, the Liberator of South America, find a secure refuge at Aux Cayes in Southern Haiti when all other neutral ports were closed to him. Yet at a later date he showed himself most ungrateful to the Haitians: affecting to ignore the existence of their republic and omitting to send to them as well as to all the other recently enfranchised states any diplomatic repreenttieve of his new government.

Sir Harry Hamilton Johnson, The Negro in the New World (Macmillan, 1910)

Said Bolívar: “Should I not let it be known to later generations that Alexander Pétion is the true liberator of my country?

Alexander J. Allen, “U.S. Owes Haiti Gratitude, Not Abuse,” The Crisis (October 1982)

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5 Comments

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