Thursday, June 26, 2014

the last book I ever read (Marie Arana's Bolívar: American Liberator, excerpt eleven)

from Bolívar: American Liberator by Marie Arana:

A hastily gathered assembly of representatives, “elected” by laws that were clearly arbitrary and racist, met in Chuquisaca on July 10 to formally deliberate the founding. It was hardly a democratic exercise. The Aymara Indians—an overwhelming majority of the population, forty thousand of whom had risen up against their masters forty years before—were given no say, and the pecking order that once had prevailed under Spanish rule was put in place again: the whites would lord over the half-breeds, and the half-breeds would lord over the brown.

On August 6 the members of the assembly officially declared the independence of Upper Peru, changed its name to the Republic of Bolívar, changed it again to Bolivia, and voted to make the Liberator their president. To give him absolute power, they invited the new president to draft their constitution Bolívar, who was rounding the shimmering, cold waters of Lake Titicaca when he heard of it, was delighted with the news. In the course of one day, his America had acquired a million souls. As maximum leader of three vast republics, Bolívar now ruled over an area that, taken together, exceeded the size of modern Europe. He hurried to accept the honors.

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