CARACAS, Venezuela

Venezuela on Thursday celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Carabobo, the most important battle of the Venezuelan War of Independence against the Spanish crown. 

Every year, the Venezuelan government and military mark the anniversary by holding a parade in the state where the historic battle took place, Carabobo.

Also called “Army Day” in Venezuela, the event includes statements from the country’s president and minister of defense.

President Nicolas Maduro addressed the nation from the Caracas. He stayed in the capital to lead a summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), which was organized to celebrate the occasion.

Several heads of state were present at the summit including Bolivian President Luis Arce, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, and his counterpart from Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.

Ecuador’s former President Rafael Correa and his counterpart from Bolivia, Evo Morales, were also at the summit.

In a televised address to the nation, Maduro declared that just like 200 years ago, Venezuelans “are standing, today more rebellious than ever, more revolutionary than ever, free, sovereign and independent.”

“The sacrifice and heroism of the patriot army that conquered the glory of Carabobo is still in force 200 years later, burning like a sacred flame and guiding the men and women of arms who defend the freedom and peace of the homeland,” he said.

In Carabobo, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez also made a statement on national television. He was accompanied by Venezuela’s Operational Strategic Commander, Remigio Ceballos.

“We will never bow our heads before any empire again. On this very battlefield, we ratify it. We see a political battle for freedom. That is the way: true freedom and not submission,” Padrino Lopez said.

On Wednesday, Padrino Lopez said this occasion made him realize that Venezuela is fighting another Battle of Carabobo, 200 years later.

He was referring to Venezuela’s tense relationship with the US.

“Yesterday, Major General Félix Osorio asked himself: Are we fighting a third Battle of Carabobo?…I would dare to say so,” he said.

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