Afro-Venezuelans were a vital part of the struggle for independence. One of Simon Bolívar’s most famous lieutenants, Pedro Camejo, is legendary in Venezuela’s history as “El Negro Primero,” who was always the first to ride into battle.
In the final battle of Carabobo, Camejo was mortally wounded but survived long enough to utter one infamous phrase: “General, vengo decirle, adiós, porque estoy muerto” (General, I have come to say goodbye, because I am dead).
A statue of El Negro Primero proudly stands in the Plaza Carabobo in Caracas—the only such statue commemorating a Black man in all of Venezuela. Curiously, he is always depicted wearing a turban, the same iconography used for the mythical Negro Felipe.
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