General Bartolomé Salom
BULWARK OF VENEZUELA'S INDEPENDENCE
This renowned son of Puerto Cabello was one of the most
relevant personalities of national history, due to his brilliant leadership
in the intricate westlands of military life that demanded wise decisions,
audacity and a profound sense of responsibility. These qualities present in
Salom earned him open respect and the highest prace, not only from the people
but from the Liberator, Simón Bolivar, who considered him an important
bulwark of the fight for independence.
Bartolomé Salom was born in San Esteban, Aug., 24,
1780, and died in his beloved birthplace on Oct.. 30, 1863, at the age of
83. a rather unusual occurrence amongst the Venezuelan elite. From an early
age he aligned himself with the republican cause, demonstrating discipline
and perseverance, which awarded him the rank of captain within a short time.
He participated in the taking of Valencia, together with Miranda, and after
the lost of the first republic, fled to a property in his beloved San Esteban,
where he was exposed later suffering the rigor of forced labor, without any
consideration for his investiture. He managed to embark in a ship of reprobates
headed for Cadiz and was freed in Veracruz by local officials.
Acquitted he made for France in view of the fact that Venezuela
was overwhelmed by royalists, whilst Simon Bolivar was planning rapid strategies
from Cartagena and was seeking assistance from Nueva Granada ( Colombia )
as happened in times of the Admirable Campaign, and it is the where Bolivar
and Salom coincided. The latter received the offer to participate in the recuperation
of the territory, but the grudges between the Grenadines obliged Bolivar to
desist, leaving for Jamaica. Cartagena was besieged by Morillo in 1815 and
Salom escaped once more from the Spanish oppression, thanks to his dexterity.
Bartolomé Salom is remembered as one of the voters
in favor of the leadership of Bolivar, above all in national territory, when
many rejected the Liberator. He parted from Bolivar to accompany Mac Gregor
in dangerous campaigns across the central valley and the plains of Guarico.
He fought in Chaguaramas and on that occasion his regiment attacked the royalist
Tomas García, without achieving his defeat. He continued eastward,
always together with MacGregor, distinguishing himself in military endeavors.
After his triumph in San Félix, Piar named him Chief of his Guard of
Honor and Bolivar promoted him to Colonel of Artillery for the four campaigns
and the three battles in which he had distinguished himself up to this moment.
Together with Bolivar he fought in the 1818 campaign without
great results for the patriots. Later, he was responsible for directing the
artillery from the Paramo de Pisba, which resulted in a sacrifice of man and
beast. Salom received the distinction of Lt.. Major General from the hands
of the Liberator for his tenacious work in Gameza, Pantano de Vargas and Boyará.
He took command of the Northern Army with designs on taking Maracaibo on the
orders of Bolivar. With the same contingent, Salom fought in Santa Marta and
in the Campo de Carabobo.
Later, adding the title of Brigade General, he participated
in the Battle of Bombona, together with the father of the nation ( April 7,
1822 ), sealing his success with victory over the Royalists and opening the
way to the liberation of Equador. He was soon to become administrator of the
Department of Guayaquil and fight and win the pastusos, collaborating with
General Juan José flores and to replace Sucre in the post of Superior
of the Departments of the South, taking into account that after Bolivar, the
directors of the war were Sucre and Salom.
But the best proof of proficiency, strategic ability and
ferocity in Salom is the siege and taking of El Callao during a bloody year
in which the constancy of the Spaniard Jose Ramón Rodil, surrounded
by artillery, was left in charge in the name of the crown. This glorious day
was Jan, 23, 1826, and the surrender for the deliverance of El Callao is a
document full of nobility where Salom gratefully receives the triumphal honors
and where, furthermore, it narrates the bravery and respect by the enemy.
When the war of the independence ended, Bartolomé
Salom returned to his birthplace and his name is postulated to occupy the
position of President of the Republic in the year 1834, but he ignored the
press notices and the rumors. In the decade of the 40's, in the last century,
the favor of the Venezuelan people for the figures and antecedents of Salom
could not be hidden, demanding him for the very important post, which was
opposed by General José Antonio Páez, who threatened him with
exile if the candidature of Salom is proposed. In his place, Páez preferred
José Tadeo Monagas.
Quiet years of civil life were in store for Salom, of whom
Bolívar was very proud, considering that "nobody had more discipline
not executed with more precision that which was entrusted to him".