Building a New History
CARACAS, Venezuela The clock had just struck midnight. Most of the country was asleep. But that did not stop President Hugo Chvez from announcing in the early hours of July 16 that the latest phase of his Bolivarian Revolution had been stirred into motion.
Marching to the national canada goose coats on sale anthem, a team of buy canada goose jacket cheap soldiers, forensic specialists and presidential aides gathered around the sarcophagus uk canada goose outlet of Simn Bolvar, the 19th century aristocrat who freed much of South America from Spain. A state television crew filmed the group, clad in white lab coats, hair nets and ventilation masks, attempt what seemed like an anemic half goose step.
Then they unscrewed the burial casket, lifted off its lid and removed a Venezuelan Canada Goose online flag covering the remains. A camera suspended from above captured images of a skeleton. buy canada goose jacket Insomniacs here with dropped jaws watched live coverage of the Bolvar exhumation on state television, with narration provided by Interior Minister Tareck El Aissami.
For those unfortunate enough to have dozed off, there was always Twitter.
“What impressive moments we’ve lived tonight!” Mr. Chvez told followers in a series of Twitter messages sent during the exhumation that were redistributed by the state news agency a few hours cheap canada goose uk later. Canada Goose Jackets “Rise up, Simn, as it’s not time to die! Immediately I remembered that Bolvar lives!”
With all this going on, Venezuelans have been scratching their heads in recent canada goose black friday sale weeks over the cheap Canada Goose possible motives for Mr. Chvez’s removal of Bolvar’s remains from the National Pantheon.
The president offered his own explanation. It involves the urgent need to do tests to determine canada goose factory sale whether Bolvar died of arsenic poisoning in Santa Marta, Colombia, instead of from tuberculosis in 1830, as historians have long accepted. A commission assembled here by Mr. Chvez has been examining this theory for the past three years.
Their work is based on claims among some Bolivarianlogos, as specialists here on the history of Bolvar are called, that a long lost Canada Goose sale letter by Bolvar reveals how he was betrayed by Canada Goose Online Colombia’s aristocracy. By deciphering the letter using Masonic codes, they suggest the conspiracy was even broader, including Andrew Jackson, then president of the United States, and the canada goose clearance king of Spain.
Findings canada goose store presented at a medical conference this year in the United States have encouraged Mr. Chvez further. At the canada goose conference, Paul Auwaerter, an infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins University, said Bolvar likely died of arsenic ingestion, an canadian goose jacket assertion seized upon by state media here to support the claim that canada goose coats Bolvar was murdered.
It matters little that Dr. Auwaerter says his research has been misconstrued, since an ingestion of arsenic could have been unintentional canada goose clearance sale through arsenic Canada Goose Coats On Sale containing medications common in that era or contaminated drinking water. “I do not agree with President Chvez’s theories,” he said by e mail.
Undeterred, the government here says it will get to the bottom of Bolvar’s death.
The exhumation could serve multiple purposes. If Mr. Chvez can say Bolvar was murdered in Colombia, he could try to use that against Colombia’s current government, with which Venezuela’s relations are cold, while reinforcing his longstanding claims that Colombians canada goose uk black friday and others are plotting to assassinate him.
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Some of Mr. Chvez’s top aides have begun using the exhumation as a method for attacking his opponents. Last month, the culture minister, Francisco Sesto, chastised Baltazar Porras, a Venezuelan archbishop, for “verbal desecration” for contending that Bolvar was, in fact, dead.
Political movements drawing strength from the remains of the dead are not new here or canada goose outlet sale elsewhere in Latin America. One recent example came from Carlos Menem, Argentina’s former president, who returned the remains of the 19th century warlord Juan Manuel de Rosas from England for burial in Argentina in 1989.
“Disputes over bodies are disputes over power, power over the past and power in the present,” said Lyman Johnson, a historian at the Canada Goose Outlet University of North Carolina who specializes in Latin America’s body cults. “These powerful meanings force new life into long dead bodies.”
Mr. Chvez, with his removal of teeth and other bone fragments from Bolvar’s skeleton for DNA testing, may be taking the appropriation of the dead to new levels.
“The exhumation was one of the uk canada goose most grotesque spectacles I have ever seen,” said Lope Mendoza, 71, a prominent businessman here who is a great great grandnephew of canada goose uk shop Bolvar’s. They plan to build a new pantheon for Canada Goose Parka Bolvar to be completed by next year in which the bones will be deposited in a golden urn instead of a lead sarcophagus.
Next up for exhumation, said Vice President https://www.canadagoosejacket-outlet.ca Elas Jaua, is Bolvar’s sister Mara Antonia Bolvar, whose remains lie at the Caracas Cathedral. Mr. Jaua said DNA testing must be done on her skeleton as well to determine whether the bones found in Bolvar’s tomb are actually Bolvar’s canada goose uk outlet.