In the video, FARC leader Ivan Marquez claims that the sword in his hands is indeed the legendary sword that accompanied Bolivar in his last days before his death, while “everything smelled of treason,” reported Anncol.
Marquez goes on to explain that the sword was “rescued from the depths of a colonial catacomb, on the seafront near Santa Marta, where it remained burried, hidden for decades behind thick adobe walls, so as to never be found again.”
After describing the composition and design of the sword, Marquez goes on to say that “On behalf of the Secretariat (leadership) of the FARC-EP…[we] deliver this holy sword as a symbol of triumph, unity, and freedom, to the people of our America, the Continental Bolivarian Movement, to the volcanic-like energy of youth, to the men and women of this hemisphere, all fighting for independence and humanity against the empire. Let’s rise up, everyone, now that the great hero has returned…his sword will shine in the frontline of the fire, fighting, opening up the path of hope, of the definite independence, of the victory of the political project of the liberator, which was foiled by the U.S. government and the oligarchies of the continent… Let’s ride back to the dream of our people of a great nation of republics… Socialism calls on us in this era of Bolivar, in the bicentenary of the call for independence.”
The video culminates with a group of FARC guerillas passing along and examining the sword, then breaking out into song.
The guerrilla organization announced they were in possession of the sword at the beginning of February.
The sword of Bolivar has had a long and tumultuous history in Colombia, in which myth and rumour are often indistinguishable from fact. In 1974, leftist guerrilla group M-19 stole the sword from Bolivar’s country house, a museum outside of Bogota.
The sword then supposedly passed to the hands of infamous drug trafficker Pablo Escobar, in return for favors granted to the M-19. Escobar’s son, Juan Pablo, says the sword hung on the wall of his childhood bedroom “like a toy.”
After the M-19 demobilized in 1991, they returned the sword in a ceremony in Bogota. Afterwards, the weapon’s exact location was not known. According to popular rumor, it was passed on to Fidel Castro for some time.
The FARC said they took the sword from an area near Santa Marta. Police in the area say they have received no reports of the theft.
Simon Bolivar played a key role in liberating Latin America from Spain in the 19th century. He is frequently used as a populist symbol by political leaders, including Hugo Chavez.
To watch the full video of Marquez and the sword (in Spanish), click here.