Posts filed under 'Venezuela'

1872: Matias Salazar

Add comment May 17th, 2019 Headsman

Venezuelan caudillo Matias Salazar was shot on this date in 1872.

A commander who had adhered himself to Antonio Guzman Blanco‘s 1870 “April Revolution”, Salazar gradually became alienated from his chief and in 1871 orchestrated an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Guzman.

The resulting exile Salazar used as an opportunity to mount an invasion — but he was intercepted trying to march into Venezuela through Colombia’s bordering Arauca region and given over to a war council for his fate.

There’s a Spanish-language public domain biography of Salazar here.

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Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Power,Shot,Soldiers,Treason,Venezuela

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1814: Vicente Salias, Venezuelan national anthem author

Add comment September 17th, 2013 Headsman

On this date in 1814, the Venezuelan doctor and writer Vicente Salias was shot in San Felipe castle at Puerto Cabello by the Spanish who meant to run the place.

Salias (English Wikipedia entry | Spanish) was a founding member of the Sociedad Patriotica de Caracas and editor of the nationalist publication El Patriota de Venezuela.

He worked for the First Republic of Venezuela, a short-lived (1810-1812) attempt to break away from a Spanish empire preoccupied by the Napoleonic Wars. In 1810, Salias is said to have* composed the lyrics for Gloria al Bravo Pueblo (Glory to the Brave People),

Captured attempting to escape the approaching royalist forces of Jose Tomas Boves, Salias was shot with the spectacularly defiant last cry of “God Almighty, if the Heavens admit Spaniards, then I renounce the Heavens!”

* There are some revisionist hypotheses postulating other authors.

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Entry Filed under: 19th Century,Artists,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Doctors,Execution,Famous Last Words,History,Occupation and Colonialism,Power,Revolutionaries,Separatists,Shot,Spain,Treason,Venezuela

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1907: Gen. Antonio Paredes, Venezuelan rebel

Add comment February 15th, 2012 Headsman

In the small hours this date* in 1907, Venezuelan Gen. Antonio Paredes was summarily shot for an abortive rising against dictator Cipriano Castro.

The Andean military governor Castro had overthrown the previous kleptocracy in the Restoration Revolution of 1899.

Castro’s state was racked by internal conflicts as Castro’s body was by collapsing organ systems. Both factors helped encourage malcontents towards designs upon his job.

Paredes was one of the regime’s chief opponents, an admired officer who had been the last holdout (Spanish link) against the 1899 revolt from his own base in the port city of Puerto Cabello, latterly knocking about in exile openly scheming against Castro. Paredes steamed in to New York in the summer of 1906 “to obtain arms and ammunition … for this movement against Castro,” he told the New York Tribune in a story wired from coast to coast. “I came here solely on that mission.”**

Paredes finally landed in his homeland in early February 1907, just as Castro was undergoing an emergency surgery. The Chicago Tribune Feb. 9, 1907 dispatch ran under a headline announcing “Paredes’ Long Planned Insurrection Begun”.

But long planned evidently wasn’t well planned.

Making landfall with a token force of retainers, he banked on “rally[ing] an army of 5,000 to 8,000 men.” (Chicago Tribune, op. cit.) But he in fact rallied zero, and was almost instantly intercepted by Castro’s troops. After a couple of days in captivity, the men in the field received a curt telegram over Cipriano Castro’s name — either dictated from the president’s hospital bed between chloroform stupors, or simply given in his stead by powerful Interior Minister Julio Torres Cardenas — ordering the summary execution (Spanish link) of the prisoners.

The whole lot of 17 or 18 prisoners (including two US expatriates, John Godskin and Thomas Lovelace), were accordingly dispatched (Spanish again) without color of law.

Venezuela had actually abolished capital punishment for all crimes in 1863. While extrajudicial executions are always in a gray area, this might be the last event in that country’s history that could clearly be classified as an execution.

* This memoirs of Paredes’ 1899-1903 imprisonment at one point states that the execution occurred in the small hours of Feb. 16, but I believe this is mistaken.

** Quotes from an A.P. story titled “Planning Revolution Against Gen. Castro” in the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 11, 1906.

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Entry Filed under: 20th Century,Capital Punishment,Crime,Death Penalty,Execution,History,Milestones,No Formal Charge,Politicians,Power,Revolutionaries,Shot,Soldiers,Summary Executions,Venezuela

1796: Jose Leonardo Chirino, Venezuelan slave revolt leader

1 comment December 10th, 2008 Headsman

On this date in 1796, insurrectionary Jose Leonardo Chirino was hanged in Caracas for leading a slave revolt in Spain’s oppressive New World sugar plantations.

Nearly all the information readily available online about Chirino is in Spanish, and all the links in this post are to Spanish pages.

The influence of the Haitian Revolution, and the philosophical precepts of the French Revolution that had helped spawn it, sent waves through the Caribbean washing up on every shore it touched.

Most of those lands had a ready audience under the lash of European colonial masters; the eastern Venezuelan city of Coro, home to the sugar aristocracy and the groaning underclass that crop implied, must have had one of the readiest.

On May 10, 1795, Chirino — a Zambo of mixed African and Amerindian blood who was himself a free farmer — led an uprising of the Congolese slaves in the area who worked the sugarcane and declared a Republic under the “Law of the French,” with slavery and white privilege abolished.

Forcibly.

The rebellion’s attempt on Coro itself failed, and it was swiftly put down by the colonial authorities. Though many involved were killed summarily, the Spanish took their sweet time after capturing Chirino in August 1795: only the following year was he transferred to Caracas for execution, after which his body was dismembered and his head set in an iron cage displayed on the road to Coro. (For good measure, they sold his family into slavery.)

[flv:http://www.executedtoday.com/video/Jose_Leonardo_Chirino.flv 440 330]

(Video from here)

Of course, Chirino was on the right side of history. The city square in Caracas where Chirino hung is now Plaza Bolivar, named for Latin America’s eponymous liberator.

Coro itself is today served by Jose Leonardo Chirino airport, and for the African diaspora in Venezuela, Chirino is a special inspiration.

[audio:Jose_Leonardo.mp3]

Like any worthwhile symbol, he’s also contested territory — claimed as a forerunner (if a questionable one) of socialism by the “Bolivarian Republic” now governed by Hugo Chavez.

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Entry Filed under: 18th Century,Capital Punishment,Death Penalty,Disfavored Minorities,Execution,Famous,Guerrillas,Hanged,History,Occupation and Colonialism,Power,Public Executions,Racial and Ethnic Minorities,Revolutionaries,Slaves,Soldiers,Treason,Venezuela

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