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Dancing Jacobins$
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Rafael Sánchez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823263653

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823263653.001.0001

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“In My Image and Likeness”

“In My Image and Likeness”

(p.293) Chapter 10 “In My Image and Likeness”
Dancing Jacobins

Rafael Sánchez

Fordham University Press

Continuing with the Guzmancismo, this chapter on the one hand focuses on the regime’s dissemination of iconographic representations—portraits, busts, statues—of both Bolivar and Guzmán throughout Venezuela as means of crowd management, and on the other, on the self-monumentalization of Guzmán Blanco, as two complementary aspects of the regime’s Bolivarian system of rule. Alluding to the “prosthetic dictator,” special attention is given to the statues and portraits of Guzmán as preeminent governmental means whereby, in the absence of the ruler, the regime collected the masses around itself, centralized political and economic resources, and conducted a vast historiographical operation that positioned Guzmán as the sole inheritor of Bolívar and necessary endpoint of all previous Venezuelan history. The governmental role of Guzmán’s statues is demonstrated by how precisely their demolition by Guzmán’s opponents during a period of reaction against the dictator triggered the rebellion that brought Guzmán back to power from his exile in Paris. A series of contemporary cartoons showing the statues of Guzmán duelling with members of the opposition on the eve of the demolition sharply underscores how much, far from inert, these statues were imbued by the public with animacy as political actors in their own right.

Keywords:   economic centralization, historiography, materiality, objects, monuments, political centralization, prostheses

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