The great liberator Simon Bolivar once proposed the creation of the Republic of “Gran Colombia” (see map below), a south-of-the-border constitutional democracy or United States of South America consisting of the modern-day countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador (the same regions which Bolivar’s brave men had liberated from Spanish colonial rule). Alas, Bolivar’s bold project ended in failure. Imagine, however, how much different the world would be today if Bolivar’s beautiful and quixotic idea had succeeded. Would these states have become more prosperous and politically stable had their fleeting federation lasted? Would the other states of Spanish South America have eventually joined this federal republic ? Would Bolivar’s Republic of Gran Colombia, had it lasted, now rival and perhaps outshine the United States in influence and prestige?
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