Simon Bolivar – Exhumation

I learned the remains of Simon Bolivar, The Liberator of several South American counties from Spanish rule, were exhumed on July 17, the 227th anniversary of his birth.  Venezuelan President Chavez, referred to by many as El Mono, the Monkey, decided on a whim to have Bolivar’s bones examined to determine the true cause of his death.

Why?  Simon died in 1830 with a physician in attendance.  Well documented it was that Simon suffered from tuberculosis, which ran rampant on South America at that time.   His autopsy showed TB as cause of death.  Some speculate Chavez may try to prove the bone are not Bolivar’s.

The entire sarcophagus opening was captured for posterity, now on YouTube, while the Venezuelan national anthem boomed in the background.  According to Monkey Brains, a variety of forensic scientists from several countries attended the exhumation.  When the sarcophagus was opened, I saw the Venezuelan flag draped over the long ago deceased.  The six coffin openers took great care with the flag and folded it according to Venezuelan custom.

Why was the flag completely intact?  How was it that when the flag was lifted, it did not fall apart or at least show signs of deterioration?  The flag, like Simon’s  bones, has been interred in the tropics for 170 years.

Chavez, ese sin verguenza, needs to focus on real problems in his country – poverty, unemployment, crime, and a failing infrastructure – rather than disturb the bones of The Liberator.

Abajo Cadenas,



4 Responses to Simon Bolivar – Exhumation

  1. Hernan says:

    Dear Susan, totally in agreement with focusing on economic growth, liberties, free and truthful press, crime and many other calamities.
    However, your post includes several historical innacuracies that I would like to suggest you may correct:
    1. Bolivar was born July 24th 1783, not the 17th
    2. The national flag that was removed from the sarcophagus was not the one placed there in the 19th century, but in 1947. Therefore, conditions were good.

    One more point. Although in disagreement with his policies and executions, I agree with polls that show 30-40% of the voting population still willing to vote for him and his party in the next election, for whatever reason or emotional connection they may have.
    Personal disqualification labeling him as mono or gorilla does not help in trying to capture that hard vote and switch it over to an alternative.

    Although in spanish, I find interesting to review what our poeta Andres Eloy Blanco had to say in 1947 about the state of Bolivar´s urn in Panteon Nacional.

    Last, feel free to publish your original post and my comment in the VOB forum.

    Saludos, Hernan

    • Susan McClurg Berman says:

      Hola Herman,

      Thank you for the corrections. Most sorry that I got Simon’s birthday wrong. Senorita Carrullo, my Venezuelan Social Studies teacher, would be so annoyed with me.

      I had zero idea that flag was a 1947 version. Wish that information has been emphasized.

      Question for you: Why are so many people still willing to vote for Chavez?

      Gracias for your input and corrections.

      Abajo Cadenas,


      Susan McClurg Berman Blog –

    • Susan McClurg Berman says:

      Hi Herman,

      I checked and I responded to Simon’s exhumation from a newspaper article. They had the date wrong. My bad because I didn’t check it myself.

      Susanita Mcbo 1957-64

      Susan McClurg Berman Blog –

  2. Hernan says:

    Susanita, for several reasons. Some analysts confirm that although inmense amounts of oil revenue has gone down the drain as a result of corruption, foreign aid and ineficciency, Chavez has been very successful at promoting social programs in health and education that has reached a largely previously excluded sector of the population. Deciding that food supply to the general population (does not matter that it has to be imported)is a matter of national security, hundreds of small abastos have been installed all over, so that subsidized food items are generally available to people at the barrios and under priviledged communities. They recently nationalized the french and colombian owned CADA supermarket chain so that they could strenghten this strategy
    There are other arguments but these I find more applicable to answer your question from my ciudadano point of view. Thus the road ahead demands a wiser approach to develop an alternativ.
    Thank you for your opinions and concern for my country. Regards

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