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Alí Rojas Olaya: “he who messes with the Liberator messes with us”

With the Angostura Movement he aims to vindicate the figure of Bolívar, historically violated and now through the networks

All the fronts of attack that the hegemonic powers maintain against the country and its desire for independence are summarized in a constant and almost imperceptible offensive on a dangerously subjective area: the cultural fact. It is there that imperial forces and their immense apparatus achieve the longest-term objectives and the deepest damage.

The symbolic territory and its spiritual section finds its greatest power of seduction in various instruments of capitalism, managing to impose tastes above the icons that give us cohesion as a people.

No territory has been more battered than our identity, and Alí Rojas Olaya, writer, researcher, insurgent historian, orchestra player and teacher, knows this, who on May 23 led – along with several members of the International University of Communications ( Uicom), other educational institutions, intellectuals and chroniclers – the launch of the Angostura Movement, a platform of struggle that, from the academy, tries to point out the naked king, objectify it, reflect on it and think of strategies to dismantle its immense damage to our emotional scaffolding, by attacking one of the most powerful emblems of Venezuela, Simón Bolívar himself.

The group was made official from Bolívar Square in Caracas, under the motto “Bolívar is in the Street”, a campaign that seeks to challenge the information and media blockade suffered by the Bolivarian Revolution and the country in general, vindicating the memory of Father Of the homeland.

The historical insult

“War is eminently cultural, cognitive and spiritual,” Olaya quickly defines, and reviews an unusual historical account that allows us to observe how from the beginning of our republican history the attacks on the Liberator are a tool to hurt our self-esteem.

As a result of his investigation of the printed media that circulated in South America in 1828, Simón Rodríguez recorded 67 insults against his favorite student. “They called him a usurper, a dictator, a donkey, a traitor, and stop counting,” Olaya lists.

At that time, Rodríguez wrote the text The liberator of the noon of America and his friends in arms, defended by a friend of the social cause, published in January 1830.

“It is attacked even at the epistolary level. The letters between Henry Klein – US Secretary of State – and William Tudor, who was consul in Peru, give proof of the cruelty that existed towards this 'madman from the South', as they called him. For his part, William Henry Harrison, who was the United States ambassador to our country, attempted several assassinations against Bolívar.

But the worst of all this is that, even after death, as a result of the movement known as La Cosiata, José Antonio Páez asks that all the titles with which the Liberator was honored be burned in the Plaza Mayor. Years passed and, in 1936, a Chicago gangster named Walt Disney created Donald Duck's mascot, a St. Bernard dog, silly and obedient, also unkempt, and named him Bolívar. Then a series of comics and movies begin where in one way or another they degrade his image.”

An attack on Venezuelanness?
— In the eighties the singer Willie Colón released a song called El gran varón, whose character was called Simón. Many years later, when Commander Chávez was ill, Colón said: “Venezuela has two presidents: one rotten and one mature.” We already know what kind of person the salsero is. In the series X Men there is a character called Bolívar Trask, but what a coincidence, Trask translates trash. The series was born in the 60s, but more recently in the cinema the character is played by a dwarf.

A front against ridicule

Alí Rojas Olaya says that, concerned about what is evidently a trend that today translates into the effort to ridicule the most important character in our history, through the social networks most used by the right and young people (Instagram, TikTok, Facebook , such as Madrid, Lima and Bogotá.

“We began to do a semiotic analysis of the situation, the philosophy of the image and the text, and we came to the conclusion that because this is an electoral year, also because our country is called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and our revolution is Bolivarian, "Indeed, a campaign is being orchestrated against us, since we also have a commitment to Latin American and Caribbean unity."

The idea, according to Olaya, is that sectors beyond the university are incorporated; that communes, institutes, and social movements get involved, not only in Venezuela, but in Latin America and the Caribbean. "I believe that at this moment the work of the country's organic intellectual should be to become a sentimental maroon, that if Bolívar is attacked, defend him like Simón Rodríguez, because whoever messes with the Liberator messes with us."

The movement is called Angostura, the writer adds, because in that city (today Ciudad Bolívar) and in that context the project of Gran Colombia was born, Bolívar's integrative dream of uniting several nations into a great power that came to fruition on the 17th. December 1819 on the shores of Padre Orinoco. “And not only for that, but because there, days before, Bolívar gives the speech with which the Angostura Congress is officially inaugurated and where he outlines the project of what the Bolivarian doctrine is: giving the greatest amount of happiness possible to the people. , greater political stability and social security.

Our ontology is even born: what are we? We are Indians, blacks and Europeans. There he even tells the deputies, all constituentists of July 5, 1811, that our code is not that of Washington, without even knowing that the United States was going to become an appendix of the British Empire. Bolívar warned him then: 'A monster much worse than Spain is being born. “In the heart of North America, a country is being created that is going to do a lot of damage to the continent.”

Olaya is amazed because, in the form of gringo doublespeak, after the death of the Liberator, the North American president at the time, Andrew Jackson, detonated cannon shots in his honor. There are cities, squares, ports, ships, planes, and even two renowned soldiers were named after him. “But it seems that they are only interested in military exploits. The issue is that Bolívar, at a social level, wanted the distribution of lands for the native peoples, he wanted popular education, that is, he wanted to end slavery.”

But we know that behind social networks are transnational corporations, how do we confront that monster?
—It is not easy, however, particularly at the International University of Communications, all forms and algorithms are being studied very seriously.

Understand that industry that the Frankfurt School told us about. I like the term “counterculture” that Ludovico Silva spoke about and which refers to the culture that is alien to us and at the same time is alienating, the culture of evil. There is no doubt that the United States and Zionism, which are essentially the same, dominate social networks, the big media. Our ability lies in how to ensure that, through those same means, we can impose a message. It is not easy, because we have not taken the step that China took by eliminating YouTube, Facebook, X, and creating its own networks. We have not yet reached that level, what remains for us is to see what scientific logic they work with.

Don't you think it's clever the way in which President Maduro has taken on the challenge, facing the dilemma from the same social networks and calling for a great media battle?
—There is no doubt that we are facing one of the great strategists of the 21st century. Hugo Chávez was not wrong when he gave the baton to Nicolás Maduro. He is a man of peace and great social sensitivity, prepared in the fights of internationalism, not in vain he was chancellor for almost seven years. He is putting the largest empire in the world in check, using damaged weapons, as Che said, to be able to counteract that immense power. Just as Chávez created @ chavezcandanga when the network was called Twitter; he was our astrolabe. When he created Aló Presidente, you have to see what it meant in terms of speaking, dialoguing and listening to the people. So there is no doubt that Nicolás – following that compass, taking over TikTok above all, making use of that ability he has – is a strategist capable of creating, although many get upset with me, a Super Mustache in the style of North American superheroes , with the difference that ours does exist and theirs are fiction.

The cultural battle

The fight is fighting, and the Angostura Movement offers an email to link with those who wish to join the tasks to come: mov.angostura@gmail.com. "We still use those foreign platforms, but soon we will have our Apps, with our platforms, and for that at Uicom we are doing highly in-depth technological, scientific, and semiotic work, uniting sciences and humanities for the service of communication."

In the end, Alí ​​explains, it is about the bicentennial confrontation between the Monroe doctrine and that of Bolívar, two opposite ways of understanding the destinies of the continent. “This is what has led Nicolás Maduro in this electoral campaign to take to the streets, like líder, to talk to the people. Let's not forget that there are 936 unilateral coercive measures, we are not talking about anything."

Culture and politics on the battlefield?
-You are not wrong. Culture is everything made by human beings, and within that cultural war there is a very important element which is cognition, the brain, that is why the war is cognitive. But also within that culture there is another subset, which is spirituality, that is why war is spiritual, and there is another subgroup, wisdom, that is why war is epistemological. It is true that they impose coercive measures that will attack your pocket, they will destroy your currency, but with all that, they have not been able to.

That is the danger, continues Olaya. Given that we have been attacked on all fronts without definitive results, the war is targeting deeper aspects of our symbolic representations. Bolívar, within the framework of cultural imperialism, is a target. But beyond, directly to the heart of the Venezuelan people, there are also their music, their crafts, their dances, their gastronomy, their fabrics.

We must start from the idea that the singular is uncomfortable, dissonant, even more so when the objective of a market-state is to standardize the tastes and knowledge of its dominated within the framework of the Western world-system, as ordered by globalization.

Wherever the homogenizing voice can dominate, local identities, with their ancestral burden, lose meaning, which constitutes an extermination that does not even require physical annihilation, but rather advances through the processes of transculturation and acculturation that have served as sufficient reason to justify the emergence of the Great Mission Viva Venezuela mi Patria Querida, another front in defense of our cultural values.

In the words of expert Raymond Colle, “since the beginning of the American independence process, the export of its culture and ideology has been considered its right and one of its most sacred missions. George Washington declared that America had been designated by Providence to be the theater where man must achieve his true stature.”

Faced with such a “messianic commitment”, the United States takes responsibility for exporting its ideological system, the so-called “American dream”, with all the strategies it has at hand, which places it in a dilemmatic situation in Venezuela.

Alí Rojas Olaya senses this concern: “What else can we do? They ask themselves, and since they have large laboratories, they answer that war has to be cultural. We must attack his references, his narrative, and the main reference of the Bolivarian Revolution is Bolívar, so we are going to defame him to see if once and for all we can take over El Dorado, which was what the Tyrant Aguirre wanted, which is what the same thing that the great filibusters have wanted, that is, the riches. But it is good that the United States knows that the Orinoco Oil Belt continues to belong to Venezuela, because Bolívar decreed this when he said that the subsoil riches belong to the State.

A consecrated life

He was born on December 10, 1964 in Caracas.

In 2002 he graduated from the Central University of Venezuela with a degree in Education with a Major in Mathematics.

In 2011 he graduated with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from the Faculty of Pedagogical Sciences and Psychology of the Free University of Berlin, Germany.

He currently works as a professor-researcher at the International University of Communications (Uicom); He is a member of the board of directors of the National Center for Historical Studies (CNEH); deputy chronicler of Caracas; advisor to the Vice Ministry of Anti-Blockade Policies; professor at the University of the Communes.

Write regular columns for newspapers Últimas Noticias and Correo del Orinoco, and for the weekly newspapers 4F and Todosadentro.

Author of essay books, school texts, chronicles, history and collaborator in countless editorial publications, he is included in several compilations in the area of ​​mathematics, history and critical studies.

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