In this article, Venezuelan poet and essayist Luis Beltrán Guerrero (1914–97) summarizes the criticism that Peruvian Luis Alberto Sánchez made against the arielist ideology proposed in the famous book by José Enrique Rodó, and within the text of this article one may understand the position of the author of that book: a rejection of North American influence, because it is seen as alien to the Latin tradition (of spiritual origin). This would also entail a rejection of the achievements and advances of liberal democracy, the inclusion of the masses within the cultural sphere, and the negation of the legitimate material benefits of civilization; all this to preserve a “traditional” society governed by an elite. This defense of the democratic character of North American society and culture on the author’s part is consubstantial with liberal and social-democratic thought, which arose in Venezuela in response to the military historical predominance in the nation’s politics, and which was characterized by blatant restrictions on freedom.
Two early examples of the fruitful relationship with highly developed nations are Venezuelan painter Héctor Poleo—who produced some of his work in the United States—and Los Disidentes—who operated from Europe and whose work was supported and promoted by the democratic system. With the exception of the first two social democratic governments (Rómulo Betancourt, 1959–64; and Raúl Leoni, 1964–69), when the leftist opposition evolved into guerrilla warfare and was influenced both by the paradigm introduced by the Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the movements that were strongly critical of “North American imperialism,” the Venezuelan arts have developed through a mutually enriching relationship with the European and North American cultures.
This document represents a current of humanist thought that surpasses the Manichean model proposed by José Enrique Rodó in Ariel (Montevideo, 1900), which was supported by his concept of “nordomania” [see 1055578].