Simón Bolívar's Quest for Glory

By Richard W. Slatta; Jane Lucas De Grummond | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
Armistice
Joining with San Martín
to Turn the Tide, 1820–21

In late 1819 Bolívar struggled to map a strategy to retake Venezuela. He felt checked, frustrated by the enemy and the weather. The Patriots remained weak in the Apure, while Morillo stood strong in Venezuela. Any supplies Sucre might send would arrive during the rainy season, and they could not be transported across the flooded llanos. Bolívar concluded that any offensive in Venezuela would have to be delayed.

Where should his next major thrust against the Royalists come? Bolívar wanted to attack Morillo and La Torre, but should he remain on the defensive in Venezuela or take the offensive in Cundinamarca? Santander controlled eighteen provinces in the center of Cundinamarca for the Patriots. Antonio Obando commanded the Army of the South in Popayán Province, keeping Royalists at bay along the Quito border. Before Bolívar could liberate Quito, Peru, and Upper Peru, however, he had to free the Caribbean coasts of Cundinamarca and Venezuela.

The Liberator also had to try to forecast Spain’s reactions. Spain might send no more reinforcements to America. Revolts had broken out in Spain against Ferdinand’s rule. Privateers blockaded the coasts of Spain and Portugal and prevented ships and troops from sailing to Spanish America. Perhaps the Patriots should simply wait for the Spanish will in the colonies to crumble.

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