Ricardo Devengoechea has filed a lawsuit against the government of Venezuela over the personal effects including letters, epaulets from a uniform, and locks of Simon Bolivar’s hair they borrowed from his personal collection. Devengoechea alleges that the government has ignored multiple requests for the items used in 2007 to identify Bolivar’s remains during an investigation run by President Hugo Chavez. Devengoechea is a descendant of one of the founding families of Columbia, and received the items in question passed down form a great-great grandfather. The Venezuelan Embassy did not provide a comment.
Simon Bolivar was a Venezuelan soldier, and personal hero of Chavez. When Chavez exhumed Bolivar’s bones, and began an investigation into his history, Chavez flew Devengoechea by private jet from Florida to Venezuela. Devengoechea spent almost a month as Chavez’s guest of state. However, when Devengoechea discovered the investigation was complete, and contacted the Venezuelan consulate to arrange for the item’s return or sale (rather than loan), he alleges has received no response.