by Robin Lindley
In Bolivar, Ms. Arana recounts Bolivar’s bloody military campaigns and forays into the turbulent and frustrating politics of the new republics, and she also presents a striking portrait of the times and the many contradictions and foibles of the Great Liberator -- a passionate embodiment of the Enlightenment who was addicted to gambling, glory, and women.
Marie Arana, a journalist, novelist and adviser to the librarian of Congress, is the author, most recently, of “Bolívar: American Liberator,” and a guest columnist.Can you name an American founder whose name is shouted in the streets, whose legacy inspires fanatical worship, whose image is used to bolster ideals not his own, whose mantle is claimed by both left and right? There is no Washington party, no Jeffersonian republic. No one runs for president in Madison’s name. But in Latin America, as the Venezuelan election on Sunday reminded us, the question is easy, and the answer is Simón Bolívar.
The remains of South American independence hero Simon Bolivar have been exhumed in Venezuela to determine the cause of his death nearly 200 years ago. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ordered Bolivar's tomb be opened because he suspects he was murdered. Most accounts maintain Bolivar died from tuberculosis in Colombia in 1830. More than 50 experts including criminal investigators and forensic pathologists have been examining the remains to see if Bolivar was the victim of a conspiracy rather than disease, according to Venezuela's attorney-general, Luisa Ortega Diaz....