Waves of Irish immigrants washed to all shores of the world when our homeland was in turmoil. But the shores we are most known for are in North America, England and Australia. Over the years as we assimilated in our new homes, we have courageously fought for rights and risked our lives in the armies of our adopted countries. Disproportionately for our numbers, Irish names fill the pages of history books when it comes mention of heroism.

But less known, is the influence Irish have had in Latin America over the past 200 + years. The Irish fought alongside our brothers and sisters in our new homeland. Irish shed blood with them in many wars to help free them of the tyranny of colonialism.

The commander of the Argentine Navy and armed forces was Admiral William Brown, who emigrated from County Wexford over 200 years ago. He played a pivotal role in Argentinas fight from the rule of Spain, which eventually lead to the freedom of colonial rule. Chile, Modern Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia all were helped by his efforts. He is considered a national hero to the people of Argentina

Many notable Irish names were associated with revolutions, throughout Latin America. Bernardo O'Higgins, is considered one of the founding Fathers of Chile. William Lamport's statue stands in the crypt of heroes in Mexico City and of course statues stand in honor of the many Irish who fought and died with their Mexican brethren in wars of independence.

The Irish had a huge impact on Simon Bolivar, the Father of freedom in South America. Irish with the names of William Ferguson, Daniel O'Leary, Morgan O'Connell and countless others fought with bravery under Bolivar to end the tyranny of colonial rule. The Irish Legions gave much to South American freedom.

But todays South America is coming under another tyranny and it is spreading it's tentacles into countries that Irish lost their lives for.

Venezuela has been transformed into a semi communist dictatorship under Hugo Chavez, who took his one term presidency as a mandate to be ruler for life. His close ties with Iran, who is a major exporter of oil and terrorism, does not bode well for Venezuelans and other freedom loving people in that part of the world.

But more disturbing to the memory of the Irish who respect the name of Simon Bolivar, is what is happening to the country named after him, Bolivia.

The landlocked, but resource rich country in natural gas, Bolivia came under the boot of a leader who is getting to be known to some as the Robert Mugabe of the Andes of South America, President Evo Morales.

Close friends with Venezuelas Hugo Chavez, Irans Achmadenajad, Cubas Fidel Castro and the recently departed Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadaffy, Morales came to power in a coup, by overthrowing democratically elected President Sanchez de Lozada in 2003. The coup was financed by Hugo Chavez, according former Bolivian officials. Since that time he has followed the Chavez model of consolidating power by changing the constitution, which has allowed him to remain in power. He is systematically removing political opponents from power, including governors, mayors, head of the central bank and others who are in political opposition, through a rigged judiciary system.

Following the narco economic model, Bolivia is now one of the worlds top producers of cocaine and is the worlds 2nd largest producer of coca, the raw material used to manufacture cocaine.

Bolivia also has huge resources of natural gas which it will import to the U.S., mainly to California. Perhaps the State Department under Hillary Clinton, can demand some changes to the Bolivian government since the US is a major consumer?

Slowly being transformed from a democratically elected government into a communist, racial dictatorship, Bolivia runs counter to what the spirit and memory of all that the Irish fought and died for many years ago in helping to liberate this part of the world.

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