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".