Representatives of 44 indigenous peoples traveled to Caracas to take part in the celebrations, which included the unveiling of a statue in honor of the indigenous leader Tiuna, who fought Spanish colonialism alongside the legendary Caribe chief Guiacaipuro. The monument stands alongside a statue to Guiacaipuro, which itself sits atop the very pedestal where once stood the former Christopher Colombus statue until it was demolished by popular movements in 2004.
Addressing throngs of supporters amassed in Plaza Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro quoted Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, declaring, "The visible colonialism mutilates you openly: it prohibts you from saying, doing, being. The invisible colonialism, in contrast, convinces you that servitude is your destiny and impotence is your nature: it convinces you that you can't speak, you can't do, you can't be."
The Venezuelan leader announced the creation of a special presidential commission to "decolonize culture, education, the economy, the arts, and every day life". The commission will reportedly include the renowned Argentine-Mexican philosopher Enrique Dussel as well as the Bolivian philosopher Juan Jose Bautista Segales, winner of the 2015 Critical Thought Award.
"If we want to be truly free and independent, we must decolonize our minds, our language, what we say, what we feel," Maduro concluded.
Text by Lucas Koerner/Venezuelanalysis.