This is the third in a series of books of conversations and correspondence with Latin American presidents. The first was Venezuela's Voice for Democracy, dealing solely with Rómulo Betancourt. The second was The ABC Presidents, dealing with the chief executives of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.
The present volume deals with presidents of the five South American countries which were liberated by Simón Bolivar: Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. The sixth nation which might be labelled "Bolivarian" is Panama, which in the Liberator's time was part of what is today Colombia; however, it will be dealt with in a volume on Central America.
A couple of comments are in order concerning the sequences used in this book. The various presidents are dealt with in the order in which they were presidents of their respective countries. The five countries are presented in what seemed to me a more logical order than a merely alphabetical one. We start with the most southerly of these nations, Bolivia, the one which was named after Bolivar. We then proceed geographically from south to north, through Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
A word is also called for concerning the way my discussions with these people were conducted. In nearly half a century of interviewing and/or talking with political leaders and others, I have never used a recording device, and have seldom taken notes while actually talking to individuals. It has always seemed to me that a person is more likely to talk freely when he or she is not