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Historic medical conference finds Bolivar may have been poisoned
Date:4/28/2010

Could one of South America's greatest military figures have died from a deadly poison, rather than the tuberculosis assumed at the time of his death in 1830? The mysterious illness and death of Simon Bolivar known as "El Libertador" or "The Liberator" is the medical mystery in question at this year's Historical Clinicopathological Conference (CPC), sponsored by the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Maryland Health Care System in Baltimore. This conference is devoted to the modern medical diagnosis of disorders that affected prominent historical figures. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has taken a personal interest in Bolivar's death, and the Venezuelan embassy in Washington will send representation to Friday's conference.

Simon Bolivar, born in 1783 in Caracas, Venezuela, is one of the most influential generals in the history of South America. Bolivar, who died of a mysterious illness at age 47, led the long struggle that freed South America from three centuries of Spanish rule. Bolivar established the nation of Bolivia previously part of Peru in 1825, and the new country was named in his honor. Now, French Guyana is the only South American nation that remains a colony.

The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the United States will send two representatives to the conference: Counselor Regzeida Gonzalez and Raquel del Rocio Gasperi, director of the Technical and Scientific Unit at the Office of the Public Prosecutor of Venezuela, who was part of the country's Presidential Commission to investigate the death Bolivar.

During the conference, John Dove, MBBS, a Bolivar scholar and orthopedic surgeon from Scotland, will describe Bolivar's accomplishments and the somewhat controversial role he has played in South American history.

"Bolivar ended 300 years of colonization in South America," says Dr. Dove. "He was a liberator and a brilliant hands-on commander. The figures sp
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Contact: Karen Buckelew
kbuckelew@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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