MISFORTUNES rained upon the Liberator. Taking refuge with Marifio at Cumaná, he arranged for the emigration of all the civil population to the island of Margarita, which was easier to defend. The Italian Bianchi and his pirates were to carry out the transfer. Bolivar trusted them, and sent them the treasure which he had managed to save.
In the darkness of night, Bianchi fled with the treasure, all the weapons, the guns, and the ammunition which he was to have taken to Margarita. Accompanied by Mariño, Bolivar leapt into a brig, hoisted all sail, and overtook the pirates on the high seas. Bianchi merely replied:
'I do not make war for my amusement. I snap my fingers at Venezuelans and Spaniards both. I was promised forty thousand piastres and I have had nothing. I cannot wait for ever. My men are sick of promises which seldom seem to be binding.'
After a long argument, Bianchi agreed to restore part of the treasure and to cast anchor off Margarita. Bolivar and Marifio landed on the island, where utter confusion reigned; they stayed only for a few hours and returned to the mainland. As they were entering a house at Carupafio, they were arrested and taken before a triumvirate consisting of Piar, Rivas, and Bermudez. Bolivar and Marifio were accused of having fled before the enemy, abandoned their army,