Caracas – The human remains that rest in the National Pantheon of Venezuela are those of Simon Bolivar, but the cause of his death remains to be determined, Vice President Elias Jaua announced Monday upon reading the results of a multidisciplinary report.
"Finally, we can say with full certainty: Bolivar is here," said President Hugo Chavez in a telephone call to the event where the results were being made public of the studies sponsored by the Presidential Commission to determine the authenticity of Bolivar's remains, to guarantee the preservation of those remains and to determine the cause of death of the South American leader.
Chavez, who recalled circumstances from the history of the great Liberator, emphasized the importance of having the certainty that the Caracas pantheon contains "the immortal remains of our father," and he expressed his satisfaction as a "Venezuelan and as a son of Bolivar" at the results of the studies.
Jaua said that it was in January 2008 that the work was begun to create the conditions for opening the sarcophagus and leaden urn in which Bolivar's remains have rested, and that was accomplished in July 2010.
From that point forward, experts carried out a number of studies - anthropological, anatomical and pathological, radiological, dental, forensic and genetic - "with the most advanced techniques and procedures of our time," Jaua said.
However, although the tests revealed with certainty that the remains are those of Bolivar, the cause or causes of his death - which has traditionally been attributed to tuberculosis, although there are those who claim that he was assassinated, among them Chavez - did not emerge from the studies.
"We will continue working with the samples we have to identify the causes of death because personally, and speaking for myself, ... doubts remain about the causes of The Liberator's death," Jaua said.
Bolivar was born in Caracas on July 24, 1783, and died on Dec. 17, 1830, in Santa Marta, Colombia.
"I believe they killed Simon Bolivar. I say it on my own humble responsibility," said Chavez in his telephone call, adding that in a letter written by him three months before his death Bolivar expressed his readiness to continue contributing to the process of emancipating the rest of Latin America from Spanish rule.