During the final leg of the first independence, under the watchful eye of President James Monroe (1817-25), Simón Bolívar takes a little over five years to liberate the five South American countries of Colombia (1819), Venezuela (1821 ), Ecuador (1822), Peru and Bolivia (1824). Five years later, Washington derails their dreams of unity.
Monroe and Bolivar take a stand before the Holy Alliance of Europe, but hold radically different ideas about the fate of the Hispanic people. To Bolivar, the Yankees are rogues, warlike and calculating (Letter from Jamaica, 1815), and John Quincy Adams (Secretary of State and successor to Monroe) proposes that America be for Americans (1812).
While the Liberator draws his sword in the south, with geopolitical frigidity, Washington turns Bogota into a hotbed of intrigue destined to undermine the Bolivian ranks. Since 1822 (the year when the sovereignty of Great Colombia was recognized), ambassadors like Richard C. Anderson (Bogota), William H. Harrison (Bogota), Joel R. Poinsett (Mexico), John B. Prevost (Chile and Buenos Aires) and William Tudor (Lima) sow the seeds of racism, encouraging oligarchic interests.
The objective of Washington (purported to be neutral during the war of liberation) is to confront Venezuelans and New Granadians (Colombians). Simultaneously, the Yankee navy helps weapons smugglers, in support of Spain.
The traitors flourish. In the hero Francisco de Paula Santander, Vice President of Great Colombia and cornerstone of the first major victory against Spain (Boyacá, 1819), Bolívar belatedly discovers a sordid precursor of Monroe’s pan-Americanism.
Sounding the alarm from distant Potosi during the preparations for the Congress of Panama (1826), the Liberator warns Santander, “ . . . I hate these bastards so much that I wouldn’t have it said that a Colombian was anything like them" (October 1825). However, the mysterious death of Argentinian Bernardo de Monteagudo (responsible for drafting the premises of Congress), stabbed to death on a street in Lima, draws threatening clouds.
During April of 1826 in Caracas, Venezuelan José Antonio Páez (another hero of limited vision) rebels against Santander, but not in favor of Bolivar. And, as soon as the Liberator leaves Lima to head off the uprising, Ambassador Tudor begins to pull strings. In La Paz and Lima, New Granadian rebel regiments revolt. The Venezuelan officers arrest rioters, placing them under the orders of Santander.
Upon arriving in Guayaquil, Bolivar receives the news that the Colombian Congress has given a Yankee shipping merchant, John B. Elbers, a monopoly on navigation of the Magdalena River for 21 years. He revokes the decision and recommends that Santander “ . . .maintain the greatest vigilance over Americans who frequent the coasts. They are capable of selling Colombia for a pittance.”
The die was cast. Bolivarian America, double the size of the United States and with three times the U.S. population, begins to be fodder for separatism and oligarchic regionalism. In June 1830, it completes its task by killing the great marshal of Ayacucho, Antonio José de Sucre, expelling him from Bolivia, with shouts of “Out with mulattoes!”
Bolivar dies in 1830, and the beasts of balkanization fight over bits of land in conflicts and fistfights that historians call a civil war. But the apparent differences between federalists and centralists, and liberals and conservatives, become glorious when they come together to drown in the blood of their villages.
At the end of the 19th century, Washington supports Panamanian merchants desiring separation from Colombia, remaining there in perpetuity with the inter-oceanic canal. Although it had taken 12 years to recognize the independence of Great Colombia, only a day or less was enough to recognize the independence of Texas (1836); of Nicaragua, liberated by the pirate, William Walker (1856); and of Panama (1903).
From the pro-Yankee doctrine, “Look North” or “Follow the North Star” (Res Pice Polum) of Marco Fidel Suárez’s conservative government of 1918-21, to the democratic security of the paramilitary narco-trafficker Álvaro Uribe Vélez; through the bloody Heroic Act of conservative, Miguel Abadía Méndez (1928), and the bestial repression of Laureano Gómez and others during the decade of the 1950s, the economic groups and leaders of Colombia have never been able to fend for themselves.
Washington's warmongering inspires them, the servility of Santander guides them. And the people of Latin America, more than noticing and caring about their warlike work, despise them with their souls, their minds and their hearts.