Changing the symbols of Caracas breaks with the past and reduces history, warn Inés Quintero and Rafael Arráiz Lucca

A shield with a red star and three faces: Simón Bolívar, a woman of African descent and an indigenous man. A flag with a mountain, a red background and a white star. A hymn with a stanza that praises February 27, 1989. On April 13, 2022, we knew that the latter would be the new symbols of Caracasrecently approved by the Municipal Council of Libertador.

Discontent soon surfaced. For the historian Rafael Arráiz Lucca, it is an attempt to ignore and simplify, capriciously, part of the story.

There is an intention to alter history, to give an exclusive version of the story, but we Venezuelans are a combination of factors: indigenous, African, Spanish and large migratory waves from certain parts of the world, such as Spain, Italy, Portugal and Colombia. Venezuelans are not one, we are very varied and our wealth comes from interbreeding and variety. To pretend to impose that we Venezuelans are one and not another is a contradiction. We must seek unity amidst variety,” Arráiz Lucca said. Cocuyo effect.

the original coat of arms of Caracas includes the full name of the city, its year of foundation (1567) and the iconic lion. The new shield erases it and instead includes the years 1810, 1811, 1989 and 2002. The Ávila, the Bolívar sword, a spear and the “red star of the Bolivarian Revolution” also appear, as does the explained the mayor on Twitter. Liberator, Carmen Melendezwho signed the promulgation of the ordinance that regulates the symbols.

“On the shield it says 1810, 1811, but the city was founded in 1567. It is not known that the city grew for two and a half centuries when we were a province of the Spanish empire. The country didn’t start in 1810, our heritage is much richer and older, so these types of edits reduce and impoverish the story“, he added.

On the left, the original shield. On the right, the new

The lawyer and doctor of history felt that the edit is a mistake that will hopefully be corrected in the future.

“It is a pity that Caracas does without its coat of arms, because the name of the city is Santiago de Leon from Caracas, which includes Spanish and native voice, because Caracas is an indigenous Toromaima word. I think it’s a mistake, it will probably be corrected in the future,” he said.

for the historian Agnes QuinteroIndividual of Number of the National Academy of History, the modification is part of a recurring political practice of chavismo, which seeks break with the past based on symbolic resources, in this case, through the symbols of Caracas.

“The history of Caracas is much broader and more complex than the municipality of Libertador as an administrative entity. Libertador, while occupying the geographic space of the original core, cannot claim the right to incorporate symbology that transcends the history of the municipality to further encompass the history of the city. Libertador is much more recent as an administrative entity than the condition of a city as a historical space,” he explained to Cocuyo effect.

According to Carmen Meléndez, the white star on the new flag “symbolizes light, rebellion and luminosity”, while the red “represents the passion and blood of patriots”.

According to Quintero, moreover, the modification was carried out thanks to a tax formulataking advantage of a majority of circumstance within the municipal government, without “taking care of the forms” and without respecting the procedures established in the municipal ordinances, which require “broad consultation” which should include the inhabitants of Caracas.

Likewise, he affirmed that the content of the new symbols of Caracas responds more to a political interest than to the representation of the city.

The very fact of the content of the symbols is more about political interest than the idea of ​​resorting to an effective symbolic representation which accounts for the components of a complex historical process which does not only refer to the last 20 years of history,” he added.

As a resident of the city, he called on the inhabitants of Caracas to be aware of the implications of the decision, since five municipalities coexist in Caracas: “It is a question of putting in place resources to challenge, reject or confront this type of impositions that represent a way of establishing symbolic forms that do not represent us”.

The anthem in effect until April 13 (left) had lyrics by Chelique Sarabia and music by Tiero Pezutti

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