POR ESPAÑA, CONTRA ESPAÑA… (II)

Ciertamente, ni los soldados independentistas ni Simón Bolívar cantaron jamás entre 1811 y 1823 el “Gloria al Bravo Pueblo”. Como todo (o casi todo), lo que se hizo en torno a la esquina de La Torre en lo cultural y en lo político, hasta 1811, entonar esa canción fue por España. Desde comienzos de 1811 y durante un par de décadas entonar cualquier canción patriótica fue contra España, y de ahí en adelante ni por España ni contra España, sino por Venezuela. O contra Venezuela. Aun cuando no haya sido esa la verdadera intención, la primera acción que puede interpretarse como contra España se produjo el 19 o el 20 de abril de 1749, cuando Juan Francisco de León llegó a Caracas para protestar contra el monopolio de la Compañía Guipuzcoana. Lo seguían gentes de la región barloventeña (Panaquire y Caucagua) a los que se sumaron otros de Guatire y Guarenas Como vimos, al entrevistarse con el gobernador Luis Francisco de Castellanos, frente a la torre de la Catedral, le hizo saber que su acción no era una asonada ni un acto de desacato a la autoridad real en Venezuela, y en prueba de su buena fe y sus “leales intenciones” ordenó a los suyos dejaran sus armas en la pared de la Catedral, en plena esquina de La Torre. Solo que no se alejó demasiado de las armas, por las dudas, puesto que su partida acampó allí mismo, en plena Plaza Mayor, a pocos pasos de ellas y en plan de alerta y él mismo se alojó en el viejo palacio episcopal, que estaba vacío. Que sus intenciones eran buenas, no se duda, pero tampoco hay dudas de que, a la larga, actitudes como la suya tendrían consecuencias graves para el poder español. Por ello, el gobernador Felipe Ricardos ordenó tumbar la casa del capitán León, sembrar el sitio de sal y colocar allí un “poste de ignominia” que en julio de 1811 el gobierno independiente hizo derribar.

La primera acción abiertamente y sin duda contra España fue la fallida revolución de José Leonardo Chirino, hijo de un esclavo, pero hombre libre porque su madre era india, nacido en fecha incierta en Curimagua, en el actual estado Falcón. Como empleado de un comerciante de la zona, conoció Haití y decidió hacer aquí lo mismo que se había hecho allá, por lo que se alzó el 10 de mayo de 1795 y proclamó la “Ley de los Franceses”, es decir, la Revolución. Pero no consiguió apoyo y fue traicionado y entregado por su misma gente. El 10 de diciembre fue ejecutado y descuartizado, como ejemplo terrible e inútil para los que estuviesen pensando en otra revolución. Es, sin embargo, un capítulo de nuestra Historia que se comenta muy poco a pesar de su gran importancia. Debe ser porque no tiene ningún vínculo visible con esas siete u ocho hectáreas de Caracas o con el dios Bolívar.

Quizá la más importante y decisiva acción contra España, antes de la Independencia, fue la de los criollos José María España, y Manuel Gual, que se inició en La Guaira y terminó en Caracas y en Trinidad, o quizá en Carabobo, con la batalla que selló la Independencia del país. José María España, hijo de criolla y de español, nació en el puerto de La Guaira el 28 de febrero de 1761. Su vida concluyó a los treinta y ocho años, luego de encabezar en 1797 la más seria conspiración contra la corona española junto con Manuel Gual, que también era guaireño, además de hijo de un antiguo gobernador y capitán general de la provincia de Cumaná, que luego de enviudar de su primera esposa (la madre Manuel y abuela de Pedro Gual), se casó con María Teresa de Sucre y García de Urbaneja, tía del futuro Mariscal de Ayacucho. Manuel Gual, que conoció personalmente a Francisco de Miranda en su juventud, apenas sobrevivió unos meses a José María España, su compañero de sueños y de revolución frustrada (se dice que fue envenenado en Trinidad por un espía inglés, aunque también existe la versión de que murió a causa de una depresión aguda cuando el gobernador inglés de Saint Thomas le dio la espalda en sus planes revolucionarios; y no es imposible que lo haya asesinado un español, de apellido Valecillos, que actuaba en la isla como espía de sus paisanos). Su sobrino, Pedro Gual, ocupará luego un lugar distinguido en la historia de Venezuela y le tocará luchar contra el abuso británico que despojó a Venezuela del territorio esequibo. España vivió parte de su infancia en Bayona, Francia. Hablaba francés e inglés y siempre demostró una gran curiosidad intelectual. A los veintidós años se casó con Josefa Joaquina Sánchez Bastidas, que sufriría en carne propia las consecuencias de la brutal intolerancia española y la acción revolucionaria de su esposo. A raíz de la Revolución Francesa (1789), España, Gual y un grupo de francófilos de La Guaira inician un movimiento semiclandestino de partidarios de la República y, por lo tanto, de la Independencia de Venezuela y de toda la América. El grupo llegó hasta a celebrar la ocupación de San Sebastián por los franceses como un triunfo de la libertad sobre la tiranía, lo cual es más impresionante cuando se piensa que el cofrade José María España, desde 1793 era Teniente Justicia Mayor de Macuto, por nombramiento del gobernador y capitán general de Venezuela, don Pedro Carbonell. La presencia en La Guaira de los rebeldes republicanos Juan Bautista Picornell, Manuel Cortés Campomanes, Sebastián Andrés y José Lax alentó a los futuros revolucionarios en su idea de crear una República independiente y libertaria en lo que entonces era la América española. Juan Bautista Picornell era un mallorquín nacido en 1759, que antes de su quiebra moral parecía emparentado con Simón Rodríguez en cuanto a ideas originales en materia de educación y pedagogía y con Francisco de Miranda por su espíritu aventurero, masón y revolucionario. Al frente de un grupo de intelectuales a españoles trató de hacer una revolución, al estilo de la francesa, en su país (la conspiración de San Blas) en 1796. El intento fracasó por una delación, y Picornell y sus compañeros fueron juzgados y condenados. El 3 de diciembre de 1796 el reo Juan Bautista Picornell fue encerrado en las bóvedas de La Guaira, en el mismo sitio que diez y seis años más tarde ocuparía, después de la derrota, Francisco de Miranda. Durante los primeros días de 1797 llegaron al puerto venezolano Cortés Campomanes, Lax y Andrés, también conjurados de San Blas, que de inmediato transmitieron al grupo de Gual y España sus ideas y sus ansias revolucionarias. El grupo de La Guaira, gracias a la posición del Teniente Justicia Mayor España, consiguió que Picornell se fugara con sus amigos y al poco tiempo estaban en Curazao difundiendo las ideas de la revolución. El excéntrico mallorquín fue el responsable de varias ediciones en castellano del libro “Derechos del hombre y del ciudadano”, con falso pie de imprenta que ubicaba su edición en Madrid. A raíz del 19 de abril y luego de deambular, como Miranda, perseguido por las autoridades españolas, se instaló en Caracas, en donde llegó a ser Jefe de la Policía. A la caída de la Primera República pudo huir a duras penas hacia los Estados Unidos y establecerse en Luisiana, en donde se dedicó al curanderismo. Afeó el final de su vida abjurando de sus ideas liberales en forma pública mediante un acto de sumisión a Fernando VII, que le permitió radicarse en Cuba, nuevamente dedicado al curanderismo y las ciencias ocultas. Murió oscuramente a los sesenta y seis años (1825), cuando varios de sus seguidores venezolanos lograban triunfar en la guerra de Independencia.

(Continuará)

POR ESPAÑA, CONTRA ESPAÑA… (I)

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