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Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


Bolivarianism could be regarded as the ideological formation that emerged in Latin America during the twentieth century in order to define two different political and institutional experiences: anti-imperialism and democracy. The political use of the term made by nationalist, socialist liberal Latin American political thinkers and by contemporary Chavism will be analyzed historically and compared with Simón Bolívar's international and constitutional thought. The objective of this historical approach is not to provide a presumed “original” Bolivarianism in contrast with contemporary interpretations, but to decipher the political use of the Bolivarian past and doctrine in present times by stressing the historical and material dimension that characterizes this same use. According to this reading, Bolivarianism is not a historical tradition or an accumulation of consistent experiences; rather, it is a polemical device based on the identification of an enemy, a contextualized choice of arguments. In 1934, José Vasconcelos defined Bolivarianism as the “ideal hispanoamericano de crear una federación con todos los pueblos de cultura española” (“the Hispanic American ideal of creating a Spanish cultural federation”). This definition is inspired by Bolívar's project of federating the former Spanish colonies into a league through the summoning of a Congress of plenipotentiaries in Panama, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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