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Rafael Urdaneta: Between the Glory and the Shadows of Independence in Venezuela
General Rafael Urdaneta was born in Maracaibo on October 24, 1788.


October 24 is a day that generates diverse opinions in Venezuela, as it commemorates the birth of Rafael Urdaneta, a prominent figure in the history of the country's independence. However, his legacy is far from being unanimously celebrated. In this brief, we will explore both the notable achievements and controversies surrounding Urdaneta, remembering that history is often more complex than it seems.

Life of Rafael Urdaneta:

Rafael José Urdaneta Farías, born in Maracaibo in 1788, became a symbol of the struggle against Spanish colonial rule in Venezuela. Although his participation in the independence is indisputable, his legacy is marked by a series of nuances that deserve a critical review.

Contribution to Independence:

Urdaneta is commemorated for his participation in the Battle of Carabobo, a crucial victory in the struggle for Venezuelan independence. While it is undeniable that his leadership and bravery played a role, it is also important to remember that the glory of Carabobo belongs to a collective effort that involved numerous anonymous leaders and soldiers. The tendency to exalt individual figures in history can overshadow the joint effort of the Venezuelan people.

Political Ambitions:

After independence, Urdaneta held important political positions, including the presidency of Gran Colombia in 1831. However, his time in power was marked by political divisions and disputes that undermined his leadership. Some critics argue that his political ambitions often took precedence over the welfare of the nation, raising questions about his leadership ability and commitment to the ideals of independence.

The Urdaneta Treaty:

The "Treaty of Urdaneta" that ended the war between Gran Colombia and Peru in 1832, although a high point in his diplomatic career, its terms and its impact on the region are a source of controversy and criticism. Some see the treaty as a necessary act to end a grueling war, while others interpret it as a questionable compromise that did not serve the interests of Gran Colombia.

The Controversial Legacy:

Despite his achievements, Rafael Urdaneta also faced controversy and criticism during his lifetime and after his death. History cannot ignore the shadows that loom over his legacy. His role in tumultuous political events, as well as his focus on personal ambitions, has led to conflicting opinions about his true impact on independence and nation building.

Celebration of his natal day:

October 24 remains a date of commemoration in Venezuela, but it is important that this commemoration does not erase the complexities of the figure of Urdaneta. Instead of blindly glorifying him, this day should be an opportunity for an open and honest debate about his role in the country's history. Acknowledging both his achievements and shortcomings is essential for a full understanding of his legacy and his impact on Venezuela.


The figure of Rafael Urdaneta is a reflection of the complexity of history, where heroic deeds and controversial decisions converge to shape a disputed legacy. Celebrating his birthday is more than a simple act of commemoration; it is an opportunity to unravel the intricate plot of his role in Venezuelan independence and his political legacy.

This debate does not seek to detract from their courageous contributions in the Battle of Carabobo or their role in the liberation of Venezuela, but rather to recognize that independence was a collective effort, where multiple actors played fundamental roles.

Moreover, in examining his political ambitions and the Treaty of Urdaneta, we must critically consider its impact on the political landscape and stability of the region. History is full of ambiguous moments when leaders are forced to make complex decisions.

The commemoration of the birth of Rafael Urdaneta should be an invitation to open dialogue and reflection. History is not limited to the pages of textbooks, but is intertwined with the identity and evolution of a nation. By embracing a more complete and nuanced view of the figure of Urdaneta, we are contributing to a deeper understanding of Venezuela's history and its development as an independent nation.

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