Chavez Insists Bolivar Murdered Despite Probe

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said that he’s still convinced South American liberator Simon Bolivar was murdered in 1830 even though an investigation he commissioned has come up with no evidence of foul play.

“They killed Simon Bolivar,” Chavez said in a telephone call broadcast by state television. “They murdered him and, even though I don’t have proof, the circumstances in which he died point to that.”

Earlier, Vice President Elias Jaua read out a forensic report that found there was no evidence Bolivar had been assassinated, nor that his death was caused by tuberculosis as some history books say.

“The hypothesis many historians had about Bolivar’s death by poisoning was ruled out,” Jaua said on state television. “The possibility that he may have consumed medicines that poisoned him unintentionally remains open.”

Chavez ordered the exhumation of the independence hero’s remains a year ago to certify their identity and determine the cause of death. Chavez, who frequently invokes Bolivar in speeches and talks of fulfilling the liberator’s dream of uniting the continent as one state, made a surprise return to Caracas from chemotherapy treatment in Cuba in time to celebrate yesterday’s 228th anniversary of Bolivar’s birth.

The socialist leader, who is suffering from an undisclosed form of cancer, said today he is trying to reverse “two centuries of lies” and denied claims by “bourgeois historians” that he is trying to alter historical events to fit his political agenda.

Changing History

“Some people say we are trying to change history, to alter history,” he said. “It’s they who altered it. The alteration of history began early, even before Bolivar died.”

Letters in which Bolivar spoke of his desire to re-enter politics are proof that he was healthy around the time of his death and may have been poisoned by his political enemies, Chavez said.

In July last year, the former paratrooper wrote several messages on his Twitter account describing the 3 a.m. exhumation from a mausoleum in Caracas.

“I tell you: that glorious skeleton must be Bolivar because you can feel its flame,” Chavez wrote.

Chavez has said he believes Bolivar was poisoned by Colombian oligarchs. Bolivar, who liberated Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia, died in Santa Marta, Colombia complaining that his attempts to unify the continent had been like “plowing the waves.”

The investigation, headed by Spanish forensics expert Jose Antonio Lorente of the University of Granada, was able to prove that the exhumed bones belonged to Bolivar, Jaua said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Charlie Devereux in Caracas at cdevereux3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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