Bolívar’s sword returns to Liberator’s estate Casa Quinta in Bogotá

Members of the Presidential Guard return Simón Bolívar's sword to the Liberator's estate in central Bogotá. Photo: Presidencia
Members of the Presidential Guard return Simón Bolívar's sword to the Liberator's estate in central Bogotá. Photo: Presidencia

Fifty years after the M-19 (Movimiento 19 de Abril) guerrilla broke into the estate of Simón Bolívar in Bogotá’s La Candelaria neighborhood, and stole the sword of Liberator Simón Bolívar, Colombian President Gustavo Petro ordered the emblematic artifact to be housed temporarily in the Casa Quinta for visitors to admire and reflect on its pivotal role in the country’s history.

“We want people to look at this object with curiosity, ask themselves questions through it. Objects encapsulate stories. We have to revisit history and converse, not to agree but to have a greater diversity in the national narrative,” stated Juan David Correa, Minister of Culture.

The sword will be on display to the public until January 30. On Wednesdays after 3:00 p.m. and the last Sunday of the month, admission is free to the Casa Quinta de Bolívar. The return of the thin blade sword is was organized by the Ministry of Culture, National Museum, National Library and Quinta de Bolívar House, as part of the memory program.

“What this country needs is for people from all walks of life to come together so that we can build total peace,” remarked Otty Patiño, the government’s High Peace Commissioner.  Former M-19 guerrilla Vera Grabe, who participated in the storming of the Casa Quinta de Bolívar in 1974 attended the ceremony on Wednesday.

Grabe was appointed by President Petro as the chief peace negotiator with the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla. Left-wing Senator María José Pizarro, daughter of the slain M-19 commander Carlos Pizarro Leóngomez, reflected on the importance of the sword returning to Bolívar’s Bogotá residence, stating: María José Pizarro also intervened, stating that Colombia’s “new generations are not heirs of war, but heirs of peace.”

Bolívar’s sword was presented to Petro during his inauguration on August 7, 2022. For many Colombians, the sword while in possession of the M-19 has become a symbol of the guerrilla’s impunity and historical revisionism, given that in 1985, Pablo Escobar backed the M-19’s storming of the Palace of Justice, resulting in the killing of over 100 magistrates and other civilians, many burned alive after the M-19 set fire to the building in order to destroy extradition evidence against Escobar and the Medellín cartel.

The sword was delivered by the Presidential Guard after making its way from Presidential Palace – Casa de Nariño – in a glass enclosed case along the Carrera Séptima.