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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Heretic

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Bolivar II - 'A Dream of Union'

The grey sky before dawn was filled with looming storm clouds. The chink of bridle and bit, the stamp of a hoof and a muffled squeak of wagons echoed around. A tall figure stepped from the campaign tent.

A glow from a cigar almost lit the face beneath the broad brimmed hat. The cigar was flicked to the floor, and flattened beneath a heavy cavalry boot.

Aides stepped forward to hear the order…

“In the name of God we shall carry this day, and bring the rebellious factions together – sound the order to advance in all sectors!”
 
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Heretic

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Thanks guys..
Nerfix; yes, it will be the successor to Simon Bolivar, but I can't promise the same first name

Memnon; well, San Martin did die in 1850 in Boulogne, and resigned his post thanks to differences with Bolivar, so it may be possible he will show up.


A word or two of explanation:

Vanilla Victoria, 1.03b, Normal/Normal

Country; Venezuela (although name changes may be proclaimed if things go well)

Aims; Reunite at least the lands freed by Bolivar from the Spanish, being Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru.

Restrictions; It would be nice to play a clean game, avoid reloads, and not cheat. Really I do want to do that, but if ‘historical imperative’ just seems too strong, or I make a really colossal mistake, things may go otherwise. It’s about having fun, and having a good story.

Plot, characterisation, etc; The concept is that Bolivar did have an heir worthy of his name. Who was able to motivate the people to greatness. I suspect that normal presidents, etc. will crop up, and anybody who has a lot to say about South American history, feel free to correct me.

oh yeah, i finally worked out i should really advertise my AAR to get readers..

Heretic
 
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Looks promising
 

Heretic

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Only a scant six years ago, with the death of the great ‘Liberator’, dreams of “Gran Colombia” seemed to fall apart. José Antonio Páez ruled as president over the nation of Venezula, proud to embody the democratic principles that oversaw their release from the Spanish oppressors.

Movements were afoot in the hill countries and estates to relight the dream of unity. A mysterious Signor del Toro was said to be behind the drive. Through conniving with the aristocratic families, a private army had been raised. The public were not aware that this was secretly funded by the nation, with new loans arranged in London and Amsterdam to provide the necessary support.

In the height of summer, all preparations were complete, and the ‘Liberating’ forces marched over the border to Columbia. A swift moving army of cavalry with some heavier dragoon divisions, they covered the ground quickly.

The ill prepared and hastily reinforced Columbian army was met at Poro, defeated and driven back to Bogota.

Across the countryside, haciendas and ranches played host to the invading armies. Here and there an officer of the cavalry was able to visit relations they had not seen for years, although all agreed that the circumstances could have been more favourable.
 
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Heretic

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By late 1937, all of Columbia was under Venezuelan control. The Venezuelan government was please to have an ally in the United States of Central America. They required assistance in the small matter of a rebellious province. The rebels had claimed they formed the country of ‘Honduras’, but this was not recognised as such by the USCA. Venezuela knew the pain of breakaway states all too well.

Whilst the ‘Liberadores’ regiments made short work of the standing Colombian army, there were problems with local militia defending small areas. Most of the country was nominally under our control, although as the militias became more organised, this control fragmented somewhat.

An offer was received at the Venezuelan embassy in Bogota, that control over the large swathes of Colombia be transferred to Venezuelan control. Since the military action had originated independently, the embassy staff were, frankly surprised. They were, however, not going to ignore the offer of a few thousand square miles of land.

Economically, the country was in very poor shape. It had taken considerable effort to fit the cavalry regiments out, and keeping them active in the field was even more of a drain. Most of these costs were not official government costs, but did add to the general poor state of the balance of payements.
 
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Heretic

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Deep rumbling echoes rolled down the corridor of the mansion, bouncing off crumbling walls of ochre stucco. The servant in tarnished livery rapped the heavy iron door knocker again against the thick, worn old door. He listened, and heard a tinkling bell deep within the house. Quickly a noise of pattering feet was added.

The servant nodded back to the horseman on the carriage, who despatched the footman to speak to the passenger within.

Gently the door swung open, revealing a maid in thickly starched apron. Her jet-black hair, and knowing native eyes sparkled in the strong sun.

“Please hasten to inform your lady that the Madame del Palacios has arrived, and wishes to enter the house” the servant curtly asked.

A nod, a tiny grin, and the maid swung the door open.

“Sir” she replied “The Madame del Toro has been expecting her guest”
 

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An interesting start indeed...wonder what del Toro has up his sleeve.... :D


Curiously enough, while Páez himself probably didn't have any intention to invade New Granada (after all, he did arrange for the separation of Venezuela in 1830), it's a nice little "what-if" to wonder how things could have been different if he even tried to...he probably would have failed, more for political and economical causes than for military reasons.

It's far too easy to do it in Victoria....but the increasing debt is rather historical though, and could tend to stop many early South American conquers dead in their tracks if they get too carried away...

I must say, however, the "u" in Columbia does make me cringe a little bit, admittedly, but that's just an aesthetical detail, so I can live with it, sorry if my mentioning it bothers you... ;)
 

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The morning room was almost suitably cool, and dim, with slatted shutters filtering the fierce sun to an acceptable level. Fine drapes looped gracefully to the floor, faint glint of light could be seen from the elaborate vases on the heavy side table.

With a faint rustle of crinolines, Madame del Palacios reclined into the armchair.

“Maria Luz, your chocolat is most refreshing”
“It is the finest imported direct from Oaxaca, but I think you did not come here today simply to compliment me on my chocolat.”
“No indeed, serious matters are afoot”
“Indeed”
“The child surely was made in the stamp of the father”
“Indeed”
“Perhaps the time has come that it should be told the truth?”

Madame del Toro sighed, and reached for a pastry.

“Ah, how we run about, covering the mistakes of the young…. This whole affair was caused in a similar manner… Perhaps it would be better if our parents had let them have their own way…”
“But at eighteen, even the Liberator was perhaps too young to marry?”
“Oh perhaps, but if only they had known what was in the man, surely it would have been better if he had enjoyed a year of happiness when young?”
“So, it is time, I will speak with the child”
 

Heretic

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José Antonio Páez was not having a good day. Despite wielding considerable power, in a democratic system with limited suffrage, and considerable leeway for ‘personal initiative’, somehow, he simply was not in control of events. Somehow, the aristocrats were sneaking power away from him.

This risible ‘fools army’ of pumped up horsemen had actually carried the field against the Colombian forces.What was more, the Colombian parliament was now sending him treaties and maps, and trying to formalise the new border. Simply incredible! Not a single Venezualean regular division had participated in the folly, and now, the state was supporting large swathes of additional land. The governor of Mompos was delighted that his state had grown, but surely these people were not looking to the future?

Files and reports from the provinces were scattered over his desk, little piles of cigar ash sitting here and there like lost chess pieces. Páez sighed, and picked out the proposal for reforms to the state. Ah well, with all the convulsions that were going on, now was surely as good a time as any.

He remembered the excitement of the 1820’s, as the new nations emerged. He remembered the bold ideas of freedom and liberty. How low had man’s estate fallen since then. Surely it was time to do something for the people? Surely the nation would be more productive if the poor were clothed? And fed?

But these gung-ho young blades were clearly keen to recreate the old days. He had even heard talk on the streets again of ‘Gran Colombia’ being reborn. We shall see..
 
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A thin plume of smoke from the camp fire rose through the clearing to drift above the trees. A mess of horses, tents, men and guns filled the available space, as the makeshift camp was being stuck. Two young lieutenants next to the fire sat buffing their boots and chatting.

“So, Quito will be in our sights soon.”
“Aye, only days away”
”And barely a soldier to stand against us across the whole country”
“Peh, these Ecuadorians barely deserve to join Gran Colombia.”
“Hey what’s with your dreamy look?”
”Nada”
“No, I know that look”
“Leave it”
“You have found a little senorita perhaps?”
“Hey, leave it. I haven’t time for that, anyway, Annabel waits for me in Caracas”
“Heh, she’ll be out on the town while you’re away”
“You dog.”

Gaspar set down his boot brush and stomped off into the wood. He couldn’t reveal that the only image in his mind was that of Del Toro valiantly leading the charge in the last battle. He was so strong, so noble, and yet so delicate.
Gaspar prayed a moment for the confusion in his soul.
 

Heretic

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Ok, a little game update..

The various armies of Venezuala have moved through Ecuador like a mexican dinner.
All of the countryside if now joined to ‘Gran Colombia’, although Quito still holds out. I guess there is still a government there for the moment.

I also managed to get a bit of security by allying with Brazil. Which is a big relief, since I can’t keep the army up much longer.

As indicated in one of the previous bits of story, Paez has put through reforms for Healthcare, Pensions & Unemployment. Which aren’t actually that expensive thanks to my teeny tiny population.

Here’s a little map to show where ‘Gran Colombia’ has grown:



I was wondering about editing in a general, but I guess del Toro is mostly talk, so I haven’t bothered yet.

As for the money situation, I think I might go for a bit of reader choice.. Next post will explain all..

Heretic
 
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Heretic

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Jacob James Mayer Rothschild sat at ease in his mansion in Paris.
The valet steeped quietly across the carpet, bringing the latest reports from around the world, neatly tied with ribbon. The files were deposited, and the valet took a half step backwards, and paused.
“Yes, Walter”
“M’Sieur, it pains me to mention it, but your office has been commenting on the outstanding South American issue.”

Jacob stared over his half moon glasses before answering.
“Yes, the Venezuelan debt”
“Well, they note that it has passed a number of our standard payment thresholds.”
“This is true, but let them know that I will give the matter my special consideration, and for the moment, they are to take no action.”
“At once, M’Sieur”

The valet paced off.
Jacob sighed, and reached into his waistcoat pocket. The troublesome letter was still there. He unfolded it, and read it once more:

Mr Rothschild,

You will surely recall the delightful summer you spent at our estate. No doubt you cannot forget the hospitality that I understand my third daughter showed to you. These things may happen in our liberal age. Perhaps one day she will be able to make a suitable marriage.

It is not possible for me to make an issue of that time. What may be of more concern to you was Veronica’s discovery of your other predilection. There are many of the photographic plates that have not yet been developed, but the first ones were quite sufficient.

Should you wish the rest of society to remain innocent of your activities, I would suggest that you extend a special consideration to your commercial dealings with our country.
Yours, etc..


Damn that woman! Damn her to hell and back!
It was some years ago, but still, business cannot prosper without relations and respectability.
Damn her!
 
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Heretic

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Nerfix,
thanks for the comment.
(I am a concerned author right now, so all comments very welcome)

Yup, quite a bit of extra land.
Also lots of revolt risk.
Annoyingly it is much the same as the land I started off with, i.e. sparsely populated, and not producing much money.

It's not so much that I have a problem with the economy, it;s more the case that you need a magnifying glass to find the economy of Venezuela. I was intending to play a slightly 'fun' AAR, so I threw caution to the winds in terms of debt.

I think the best resouce I have for now is coffee, and the best for the future is the timber. I see lumber mills in the future. A long time in the future given that I can't buy any iron, let alone machine parts. Also, I have to research 'Freedom of Trade'. Do people realise how far you have to take these American countries just to get them up to the European level?

Heretic
 
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Well written, Heretic. I normally don’t go in for the literary type of AAR but you style is crisp and lacks the usual flourishes one comes across all too often. Plus you seem to have a lot of knowledge of the era. I look forward to following along.

Seems you have the Baron by the short ones.

The alliance with Brazil must have been a great relief, no? What’s your badboy.
 

Heretic

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heh, thanks november;
my 'knowledge of the period' is mainly internet research, but eh, if it sounds convincing?

Yup, Brazil a big relief, badboy none too healthy..
I think that the next few years may be a little quieter, I don'w want a huge pile-on from the UK..

as for the writing..
well, I keep thinking up stories as I am playing, or reasons WHY my country just enacted a load of reforms, or whatever...

Heretic
 

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Paez cleared his throat, and paused for calm.

“Gentlemen, we stand at a proud moment in our history.
This land of ours, born of bloodshed, now moves forward to a brave new day.
For too long, our democracy has been in the grip of the few, the rich and the privileged. If we are to truly deliver liberty and equality for all, this must change.
Therefore I urge you to vote in favour of the reform for wider representation of the people!”

He took his seat, mind racing, had he done enough to carry the day? Had enough of the representatives been bribed? Would this now get those meddling aristocrats out of his hair?