Liberty is America’s Destiny
Germán Arciniegas, the man Gabriel Garcia Márquez called the only “professional writer” in Colombia, was prophetic with this book’s title.
Professor Germán Arciniegas was tall, spoke professorially, and was a stern statesman on behalf of his native Colombia, but he was also a ball of fire as a writer, ever since he crafted almost his classic, The Student of the Round Table.
It was the first of 50 or so books he left behind before his passing on Nov. 30, 1999, at the tender age of 99 in hissllep in native Bogotá, the same town where he was born almost a century earlier.
I owe him the emotions I felt as a teenager as I read one of his books, Los Comuneros, the powerful narrative of the spontaneous movements by the peasants from the province of Santander, Colombia (where I happened to be born) — the first province in America to rise up against the European monarchies exploiting with little mercy their colonies on the new continent.
Los Comuneros rose up in Santander against the Spanish Crown in 1781, well before the French Revolution of 1789
Los Comuneros rose up in Santander against the Spanish Crown in 1781, well before the French Revolution of 1789, and just five years after the American Revolution was ignited on July 4, 1776, here in my adopted hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Arciniegas went on to write dozens and dozens of new books (like Italia: Guía para Vagabundos — yet another book title to remember!), and I went to the U.S. to study journalism in Iowa City, Iowa, where I thought I would discover the secrets of writing.
Only illusions, of course, Sancho!
On July 20th of 2021, I want to thank you for looking down on us from Heaven where you may be watching down what is going on in your troubled and beloved continent.
On July 4th we celebrated the American Revolution ignited in Philadelphia, and also the one your peasants started in Socorro, Santander, March the 16th, 1781.
Where a woman, Manuela Beltrán, challenged the men of the hour to be men, and they very quickly started a revolution under her spell that still took 40 years to complete in the final “Batalla de Boyacá”, where Simón Bolívar finally put down his sword after thrusting it down the middle of Spanish Empire’s heart in bloody combat in Boyacá, Colombia.