Skip to content

Not so bad company

27 July 2021

Had they been alive today (and had they been alive at the time), Simon Bolivar’s parents might have been mighily concerned about the company their 16 year old son was keeping up there in Mexico City on his long layover headed for Madrid where he was expected to finish his education (and, incidentally, find a Spanish wife… the latter being a condition in his mother’s will if he was to inherit the family property).

While Bolivar was well-known in his own time for his … uh… amorous adventures… it also has to be said that, unlike other leaders of his era, he always took women, especially intelligent women, seriously. One wonders if, during his stay in Mexico City (at what is now the corner of Uruguay and (of course) Simon Bolivar, it wasn’t La Guera Rodriguez (aka, María Ignacia Rodríguez de Velasco de Osorio Barba y Bello Pereyra) who first introduced him not only to the charms of the female anatomy, but to the value of their brains, as well.

La Guera lived across the street from the house where Bolivar was staying. Married off at the age of 14, La Guera was already notorious for her affairs with the rich and famous (including, it is said, the Viceroy) by the time she was 21, when young Simon caught her eye. While a sexy adult may have been what first attracted Simon (and a pretty boy, what caught La Guera’s eye), it can’t be said that he didn’t learn more than a few positions from her… after managing to dispose of her pesky husband (even after she shot him, it was only when she theatened to prosecute him for sodomy that she was able to attain a divorce in 1802), she would become a leader in the independence movement (organzing an underground network of society ladies to smuggle arms, publish anti-Spanish newspapers, run a spy network… and find time to pose for a statue of the Virgin Mary!), later serving as adviser to a later paramour, Agustin Iturbide.

Simon, in his later career of Liberador, would have no problem with women officers in his armies (including a few generalas), and his must trusted political adviser would be his Peruvian companion, Manuela Saenz.

While it’s doubtful young Simon learned, or did anything that might have shocked his conventional parents (who anyway had both died by the time he was 12), or Hipollita — his “milk mother” (nursemaid) whom he always referred to as both his true mother and true father (and whom he emacipated as soon as he reached the age of majority, providing her a comfortable home and pension the rest of her life… and she outlived Simon by five years), but WHAT HE LEARNED!

That neighbor was the thirty year old Alexander von Humboldt. Humboldt’s sexual preferences were hardly a secret, even then… to the end of his very long life (he lived to be 90) … surrounding himself with good-looking, young, and intelligent men. And, what was Humboldt seducing young Simon with? Why the surprising data proving the Americas did not need Spain, that Spain was a drag on development in the Americas… and besides, there was this radical theory called “Democracy” and “Republicanism” being tried out north of the border that looked very, very promising. Oh, and if Simon got the chance, yes, you could get across the Andes mountains.

So there you have it… money and looks and the luck of birth can only get you so far. Better yet to keep disreputable company.

No comments yet

Leave a reply, but please stick to the topic

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s