BOLÍVAR had not received from the Congress at Tunja outright permission to lead the troops of New Granada into Venezuela. Anxious as he was to follow Correa and consummate his plan for liberation of his country, he dared not advance until that permission was granted. From Cúcuta he dispatched a letter to the Congress, describing the victories of his army thus far, and begging not that he be allowed to continue on to Caracas --for he knew the Congress would never agree to any such mad scheme--but merely that he might advance to the cities of Mérida and Trujillo in order to complete the demolition of Correa's force. But Tunja was a long way off. He would have more than two months of waiting before he could hope for a reply.
He used that time to advantage. He sent José Félix Ribas, his kinsman and old friend, who had come from Curaçao to join him, to Santa Fé de Bogotá to win sympathy and help from the republican government there.
That city, the oldest and most cultured of the northern Andean capitals, had been the seat of the viceroyalty of New Granada and was now the capital of the Republic of Cundinamarca, independent of the Congress of Tunja. Its president was Antonio Nariño. This was that intellectual patriot Nariño who had been imprisoned in Cádiz for printing and distributing The Rights of Alan in Santa Fé. He had escaped from the Spanish prison, returned to Bogotá, was imprisoned again and released during the successful revolution of Cartagena in 1810. Then he had