THREE men were at the head of affairs at Caracas: Juan Escalona, Cristobal Mendoza, and Baltasar Padrón. Such confusion had never before been seen.
After several weeks of rejoicings it was seen that the situation was beginning to grow complicated. Several towns had recognized the Regency. At Lima the Spanish garrison had sacked the rich part of the town and on a feeble excuse had massacred hundreds of people. Puerto Cabello had become a centre of counter-revolution. Talk of punishing the rebels was beginning everywhere.
The Junta decided to send the Marquis del Toro with four thousand men against the town of Cora. The Marquis possessed four field-guns, but no ammunition. His men were armed with knives, with iron bars, clubs, and old swords; a hundred or so had muskets. It was deplorable. At the Spaniards' first discharge, there was a wholesale stampede.
Bolivar's brother had been sent to the United States to buy arms. An unscrupulous dealer persuaded him, instead of arms, to take agricultural implements, which would certainly be of more service to the prosperity of Venezuela. Nobody understood the working of his machines, the need for which was nowhere apparent. Moreover, the ship which brought them foundered in a storm and Juan Vicente only escaped death by a miracle.