Rodó and Bolívar

Although they lived nearly 100 years apart from each other, José Enrique Rodó and Simón Bolívar had similar ideas about the threat that the United States posed to Latin America. The two men agree on the idea that “the United States… [is] destined by province to plague America with miseries in the name of Freedom,” and that the slightest provocation will unleash the United States’ power (Bolívar 2).  Both writers seem very thouroughly convicned that the United States is almost like a ticking time bomb, just waiting to explode on the peoples and countries of Latin America.

However, the differences in the two men’s ideas comes from their difference in positions. Bolívar is a government official in Venezuela; Rodó is a poet from Uruguay. Because of this Bolívar makes an argument about how to protect his country from a “general conspiracy [of] envy”(Bolívar 2). The idea of envy implies that Bolívar ruled a rich land, one that was incredibly desireable to other countries, one that others would want to take over for selfish reasons. Rodó, on the other hand, talks about how the threat of the United States against Latin America is fueled by fear of “an America de-Latinized of it’s own will, without threat of conquest, and reconstituted in the image and likeness of the North”(Rodó 32). In this, they show the differences of their times; Bolívar existed when the threat of the United States was only that – a threat. In contrast, Rodó grew up during the era of United States Imperialism, and had to deal with all it’s consequences.