Noel Márquez, president of Venezuela’s famed Grupo Madera Foundation, has played a central role in the creation of a new image for Caracas, the capital and largest city in Venezuela.
This past April 18, the city held the official unveiling of a new flag, new coat of arms, and a new anthem for Caracas. Caracas has long been symbolized by Spanish colonial images: the city was officially founded in 1567 and known as Santiago de León de Caracas, its coat of arms was granted in 1591 by Felipe II to herald the subjugation of Venezuela (in the name of the patron saint of Spain, Santiago). The new anthem, “Caracas Vencerá (Caracas will win!)” was composed by Rafael Quintero and Noel Márquez, with music composed by Manuel Barrios.
The changing of the images for how Caracas wants to be seen is in line with a growing trend in the Americas where governments are rejecting the dictates of former European colonial symbols and values and instead reaffirming the wide spectrum of ethnic heritages that citizens in the Americas come from.
The lyrics for “Caracas Vencerá,” boast that “Caracas, capital of Venezuela/Example of struggle and freedom/Birthplace of Simon Bolívar/Caracas, is the one that will always win.”
“Our history, its present and tomorrow/It is the strength of this victorious people/Breaking the colonial chains/This is the example that Caracas gave……
“In Caracas, February 27th/Our people took to the streets/To the past we will never return/We will march to the beat of the drum/Maroon people in resistance.”
“‘Caracas Vencerá’ is meant to decolonize and retell our history,” Márquez explained in an exclusive interview with the AmNews: “This song is meant to overcome the legacies of colonialism and to vindicate the indigenous and Afro Venezuelan peoples in our struggles against structural racism.
“We cannot continue to teach our children the symbolicisms of colonialism. We are the Cimarrón people—the maroon people (people who freed themselves from enslavement)––who remain in resistance and who struggle for the values of freedom and for the recognition of the hard life that our ancestors had.
“‘Caracas Vencerá,’” Márquez added “is a positive effort to re-educate our society and to promote symbols of equality that are against exclusion, to end racism and the other strategies of colonialist and supremacist domination. In short, it is a contribution to the long struggle against the legacy and after-effects of enslavement and colonialism.”