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Diary of a Disenfranchised Person in Colombia July 21, 1810 Dear Diary,

My name is Felipe Diego Rivera, but most people just call me FDR. I am a 22-year-old slave at a little sugarcane plantation just outside of Bogota, and I am apparently experiencing the greatest thing that has ever happened to this place known as New Granada. However, it is odd, although there was a large uprising in Bogota yesterday[1], an event to be proclaimed as Independence Day[2], it seems as though nothing has changed. I’m not free, I am not "independent," so what is the difference? Anyway, I decided to write this diary because maybe someday someone will read it and feel the same things I am going through, maybe someone will acknowledge that I was even alive, that I was a person. I am a person. My owner is a pretty powerful man, and I guess this "independence" thing means a lot to him. The reason I know all this stuff is because I am the personal caretaker of my owner’s house and he is always talking about the bad Spanish government and some guy named Ferdinand. Anyway I have to go I only have limited time and paper so if my entries are short and spread apart it is not really my fault. However, expect to hear from me again, for as boss says, this is only the beginning!
PS. The reason I can write with such good grammar is because boss makes me write all his letters for him, which also allows me to keep up to date with all the news.

December 14, 1811 Dear Diary,

It seems as though this place is in complete turmoil, and boss is getting more and more involved in the politics of this revolution and I think he might be losing his mind. He is always talking about some perfect federation that would solve all of are problems. really? I ask him (not out loud of course) will it solve MY problems? Nope. Didn't think so. I find myself talking to myself a lot for my brother is very ill and weak and has trouble talking. Who knows, maybe boss is not the only one losing his mind. Recently boss has been getting and sending a lot of mail. Along with normal mail he is getting some hateful mail from other people calling him things such as a "brain dead idealist." he seems unfazed by these letters and explains that his great idea of a federation[3] is not liked by all. Outside of the plantation it seems as though there are many battles being fought, described in boss' mail as civil war[4]. Some of the hired field workers have left to fight in this civil war and production has gone way down, causing boss to get angry and take it out on us. I don't see why it he gets so mad, it is not our fault that many people die in the civil war, and if people die fighting, why would they need sugar? Dead people don't eat sugar. Boss' wife just gave birth to their 3rd kid, but since this place is so chaotic, they couldn't find a medic to aid them, so it was quite messy and stressful for all of us, I guess this revolution is slightly effecting my everyday life, but I am still struggling to see any possible change for me, for better or for worse. The battle is getting closer and closer to "home" so don't be surprised if my next entry is not for a while.

February 17, 1816 Dear Diary,

I am sorry for the large gap between entries, life has been hectic. Since I last wrote more then three years ago, the civil wars have weakened this place tremendously.[5] As boss says, this lack of organization gave the Spanish a perfect opportunity for reconquest[6]. As of now they have conquered most of New Granada, but have not taken Bogota yet. However, boss fears that if they come, when they come, Bogotá will be taken quickly and the conquest will be complete. Over the last couple years boss has become a very strong minded republican, exactly what the Spanish are looking to crush he says. In the letters I intercept I see many of his friends are begging him to flee, for the Spanish are executing many republicans[7]. I fear that boss will take this advice and sell all of us. I kinda liked it here. As far as being a slave, I was treated pretty well, and the prospect of being sold to a much crueler owner is not appealing to me at all. It seems as though a few of the older slaves fear this too, for two of them ran away last night, and since the plantation was already understaffed boss only sent a few people after them. I hope they get away, I really do. Hey, maybe this revolution thing did help some slaves like me gain independence, but that’s stretching it. I'll right again as soon as I know if I am staying or going.
Keeping my fingers crossed.

November 3, 1816 Dear Diary,

I know I promised to let you know if boss was moving as soon as I knew, but it happened so quickly I had no time to write. Three days after my last entry boss told me that he was fleeing to Casanare[8], and that I was to come with him to carry some of his personal belongings and what not. At first I was elated that I was not to be sold like all the other slaves, but then I realized I would never see my friends and family again. After a very quick good-bye we headed off to Casanare, and the whole trip boss could not stop talking about these two men, Francisco de Paula Santander and Simon Bolivar. If I didn't know about boss' wife I would have sworn he had a crush on them. Anyway, when we got there we met a pretty deflated army, well, at least what was left of an army. We settled in to a little hut, a big downgrade from the old house, but yet boss was happier then ever, feeling more important then ever. I myself cannot complain, instead of living in a tiny, gross smelling room with 12 other slaves, I now am sleeping in the barn by myself, with a lot of privacy-life is good!

February 1, 1817 Dear Diary,

This man that everyone one keeps talking about, calling him Simon the great, the freedom maker, the liberator[9], master Bolivar, is arriving shortly. Over the last few weeks I have been learning how to use a gun, for boss says if we do go into battle, when we go into battle, I may be allowed to fight. This is a great honor and for once I feel as though I am not equal, but at least acknowledged by most people.

april 9, 1818 Dear Diary,

First off, Simon Bolivar was nothing like I imagined, he almost looked like an average guy[10]. However, he had this swagger about him that made everyone love him but fear him at the same time. I did not fight. Simon took the army to go into battle while boss and I went back to the old plantation because boss thought he was safe now that the war had started. We got back to the plantation and settled back into the old house. Bolivar's campaign was doing very well[11] and boss said he was positive that he would prevail. Life goes on as normal, and after 8 years I am still not feeling this "independence."

April 8, 1819 Dear Diary,

Yesterday was the actual most important day of our lives according to boss. Bolivar's rebel army of around 3,000 crushed the Spanish at Boyacá[12], and I had never seen boss happier in my entire 31 years of living. Even though I am in decent shape I am starting to weaken from the everyday labor, and I find myself wondering what have I accomplished during my life? A good goal in life is to try to make yourself better and happier every year. I thought this revolution thing would help, but yet I am at the same happiness level I was before it started. At least I had a little hope.

December 18, 1819 Dear Diary,

Yesterday this place was proclaimed the Republic or Colombia[13], or Gran Colombia[14] Big goes on

June 13, 1823 Dear Diary,

This is most likely my last entry, for I am very weak and I am surely on my deathbed. Bolivar has become the first president with Francisco de Paula Santander as his vice[15]. For the most part things are pretty quiet and are back to what they were before the revolution. Boss has more power and the plantation is thriving. As I look back at this journal I see a whole lot of nothing. All of the excitement and hype of this revolution which was going to make us "free" is a load of bull crap. I look at this revolution as a waste of lives and time. I mean seriously what came out of this? Leaving with this thought in my head I am going to sign this diary one last time, and hopefully someone will read this one day and think of me.
-Felipe Diego Rivera



(1)"Bolívar, Simón." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica,2009. Web. 1 Dec.

2009 <>.>.

(2)"Colombia." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 01 Dec. 2009


(3)"Colombia: History." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. © 1994, 2000-2006, on Infoplease. © 2000–2007 Pearson Education, publishing as

Infoplease. 01 Dec. 2009 <>.

Primary source Document-

(4)Overfield, Andrea, and James Overfield. The Human Record Sources of Global Record Volume II Fifth Edition. New York City: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005. N. pag. Print.

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