July is a month marked by historical events for anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles across Latin America and the Caribbean. The Cuban and Nicaraguan Revolutions for instance were pivotal events in the region that inspired anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements globally. July also marks the independence from Colonial Spanish rule for many countries, including Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru. Solidarity and internationalism played a significant role in the fight for independence in the Americas with revolutionaries from other parts of the world supporting the struggles for liberation in the Americas.
Below are some significant dates in July that are widely celebrated and commemorated throughout the Americas.
July 5th: Venezuelan Independence: On July 5th, 1811, Venezuela's revolutionary Simón Bolívar led the country in declaring independence from colonial Spanish rule, marking the beginning of Venezuela's fight for freedom, which continued for several years. In 1815 Bolívar was exiled and sought aid from the first president of Haiti, Alexandre Pétion. With the help of Haiti, Bolívar was able to return to Venezuela and continue his fight for independence, ultimately securing Venezuela's independence in 1821.
July 19: The Sandinista Revolution: The Sandinista Revolution in 1979 saw the FSLN overthrow the U.S.-backed dictatorship of the Somoza family in Nicaragua. The Palestinian resistance played a critical role in the struggle by providing arms and training to Nicaragua's rebel forces. The Sandinista government went on to implement social programs and economic reforms. In an effort to dismantle the Revolution, the US provided support to the Contras - a ruthless right-wing opposition group, responsible for committing heinous human rights abuses.
July 20: Colombia independence day: In 1811, Colombia gained independence from Spain under the leadership of Símon Bolívar. Despite patriarchal domination, women and Afro-Colombians also played a significant role in the country's fight for independence. Simon Bolivar's army had many Afro-Colombian soldiers who were involved in both military and political capacities. Women such as Policarpa Salavarrieta, also known as "La Pola," also played a significant role in the decolonization of Colombia by spying for revolutionary forces.
July 24: Birthday of Simon Bolivar: Simon Bolivar was born in Caracas on July 24, 1783. He became known as "El Libertador" for leading the fight for Latin American independence from Spain and played a major role in the liberation of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Simon Bolivar rejected slavery and called for its abolition in the Americas. His goal was to unite all South American countries into one nation. Bolivar's dream never materialized but his leadership left a legacy of liberation in South America, inspiring future revolutionaries in the region.
July 26: The Moncada Barracks Raid: On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro and a group of young revolutionaries attempted to overthrow Batista by attacking the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba and Carlos Manuel de Céspedes in Bayamo. These attacks marked the beginning of the Cuban Revolution led by Castro, which eventually succeeded in overthrowing the Batista regime in 1959. July 26th has become an important national holiday in Cuba, celebrated as the Day of National Rebellion.
July 28: Peru Independence: On 28 July 1821, José de San Martín and his troops successfully freed Peru from Spanish rule and declared it an independent country. In 1824, Simon Bolivar led the patriot armies in the battles of Junín and Ayacucho. Peru definitively expelled the Spanish royalist forces and consolidated its independence.
Birth of Hugo Chavez: Hugo Chavez, born on July 28, became a renowned leader in the Americas for his efforts in uniting South America and fostering stronger relationships between nations. He established several organizations, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and PetroCaribe, which provided aid to struggling nations and helped to create more equitable trade relationships. His tireless advocacy for the poor, his rejection of imperialism, and his unwavering commitment to social justice continue to inspire generations.
Let us never forget that our struggles are interconnected and that our liberation is bound up with one another.