Since 1876, the remains of Simón Bolívar rest in the National Pantheon, along with other distinguished Venezuelans. That won’t be for long. A new personal mausoleum, which has been likened to a giant skateboard park, is now being built behind the pantheon and was originally slated to open last December. Now it will be partially ready in April, but it’s facing some serious setbacks to meet the deadline. Experts and citizens’ views are split about its cost and purpose.
Hugo Chavez has used and abused of Bolivarianism to the point of overkill: The country itself and its institutions carry Bolívar’s name; his face and words are incorporated to every single act of government. The fixation long ago took a weird necrophiliac turn: Chavez insists that Simón Bolívar didn’t die of tuberculosis but was really murdered and even ordered his body to be disinterred and tested to prove it. Images of the procedure were presented in cadena nacional, and the whole surreal specticle live-tweeted by the coma-andante/presidente.
In 1969, historian Germán Carrera Damas wrote “The cult of Bolívar”, on the way the thoughts of our founding father has been the ideological backbone not just of the Venezuelan State but of our overall society, becoming a cult in the process. This cultish take on Bolívar has gone freakishly literal in the last 13 years.
To see how far the Bolivarian Government will adapt the image of Bolívar to fit its narrative, just take a look to the mural at the entrance of the Communication and Information Ministry (after the jump.)
(The Frankenstein’s monster, we’re told, represents capitalism.)