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Simón Bolívar attempted to unite several South American countries into a s
Simon Bolivar
ingle nation* and since then politicians have been invoking his name and memory to give themselves legitimacy, linking themselves to a man seen as a “founding father” of Latin America. There was a period of a few decades after his death in 1830 when Latin America became preoccupied with modernizing, which in that context meant striving to be more European, but in the mid-late 1900s Bolivar’s mantle was once again taken up by a new group of leaders who were proud to associate themselves with his dream of uniting Latin America and freeing it from Continental influence.

Simon Bolivar is an incredibly important and influential Latin American figure and one whose name to this day gives those who invoke it an air of authority and patriotism. It is used to legitimize leaders in the eyes of their people and to inspire feelings of Latin American unity that a new generation of socialist leaders can draw from to try and achieve their goals. Today's president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, continues to follow in the great liberator's footsteps.

Bolivar's DreamEdit

Simon Bolivar 's dream was to unite Latin America. This would allow the people that were under the rule of the colonialists to rule themselves and avoid outside influence. Throughout Latin American History, the ideas of Latin American unification have given rise to many interpretations of Bolivar's dream. This is in part
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Statue of Simon Bolivar in Washinton D.C. (Wikipedia)

because of the bridge Bolivar’s politics made between the liberal and conservative and in part by the history that has occurred since then. Bolivia has become a hero in many parts of Latin America because of the dream he created. Bolivar established Gran Colombia in his attempt to unify Latin America. This country spanned all or part of modern day Colombia, Panama, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guyana, Nicaragua, Peru, and Venzuela. It would ultimately fail before Bolivar’s death in 1930. This may have contributed to the legacy of Bolivar’s dream in countries like Venezuela.

Despite efforts to achieve Bolivar's noble dream, many obstacles stand in the way of acomplishing unity, so Latin America remains as a fragmented region. One of the most significant hindrances to unity is autonomy. Groups such as the Crucenos in Bolivia and the Indians in Peru desire to be acknowledged as independent people-nations. Therefore, they are fighting for the right to self-rule and are a threat to the progress of their respective countries. Cultural groups like these demonstrate the key role that minority groups play in Latin America.

Free from the U.S. ideas on BolivarEdit

The ideas Bolivar produced were followed by many different leaders of Latin America including Jose Marti , Che Guevara, and Hugo Chavez . These leaders have attempted to unify Latin America under political ideals, economic policy, or a combination of both. These ideals and leaders changed the landscape of Latin America forever. Marti Published Our America while in exile in New York. Marti published this work as a warning to Latin Americans that with the progress of the modernization outside influence would come, they should focus on the interests of their fellow Latin Americans. Guevara, who famously fought for Cuban revolution as the only non-Cuban in the Castro’s party, wanted Latin Americans and then the rest of the world to adopt his idea of the new socialist man. The new socialist man would work not as a benefit to himself but as a benefit to the members of his community. Hugo Chavez is the current president of Venezuela. He has recently unified Latin America under the Pink Tide of leftist governments in Latin America. These Pink Tide governments have taken advantage of the United States’ attentions in the Middle East to remove the United States’ influence in Latin America.

Including the U.S. ideas on BolivarEdit

Conversley there have been many who advocate Bolivar's ideas are for a capatalist society in Latin America. Most notably Guyanese ambassador Odeen Ishmael and the Organization of American States (OAS) have tried to advocate for this. In his 2002 Ishmael offers the idea of capitalism as the way to promote a Free Trade Area of the Americas which would allow the American States to trade freely in a way similar to the European Union. The OAS has also advocated for the Free Trade Area of the Americas, but is more involved with the promotion of democracy throughout the Americas. Because of this the OAS has notably excluded Cuba from 1962 to 2009.

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