Republic of Gran Colombia, 1819
In 1819, the Congress of Angostura proclaimed its intent to unify the Spanish-controlled territories of New Granada and Venezuela with Colombia to form a Republic of Gran Colombia. With the Spanish still hanging to power, one of the first tasks of the new republic is to wrest control of the occupied territories back.
But what happens once the Spanish are gone? What will a post-colonial Latin America look like? Who will emerge as the leader of the new republic? How will this republic address the plight of its poorer citizens? What will the republic’s relationship with its indigenous and enslaved peoples look like? How will the republic placate the landed elites and caudillos? Delegates will tackle these difficult and complex questions and more as they try to bring to fruition the dream of a strong and united Gran Colombia.
Shortly before his death in 1830, Simón Bolívar exclaimed that “America is ungovernable! Those who served the revolution have plowed the sea!” This committee will see if he was right or not.
I am so honored to welcome you to Harvard National Model United Nations 2020! My name is Angel Antonio Mata, and I will be serving as the director of the Republic of Gran Colombia, 1819. As one of the first experiments of state-building in Latin America, Gran Colombia holds an almost mythical position in the canon of many Andean countries, especially my native Venezuela. This committee will explore the dozens of reasons why Gran Colombia fell apart.
I am a sophomore at Harvard College studying Social Studies. Although Kirkland is my house, Kissimmee, Florida is my home, nearby Orlando, Florida, the home of Disney World!
At Harvard, I staffed both HNMUN and HMUN, our sister conference for high school students, last year. This year, I will be a Director for Administration at HMUN, as well as a Deputy Director for ICMUN, our competitive MUN team. Besides MUN, I’m involved in at least a million other things. I’m an editor for PALABRITAS, Harvard’s Latinx literary magazine. I’m on board for TEATRO!, Harvard’s Latinx theatre organization; we put on a modernized adaptation of West Side Story this semester. I am a debating member of the Harvard Political Union.
As an expatriate, this committee is a very personal endeavor, as Venezuela is always on my mind and in everything I do. Telling stories is important to me, and I hope that through this committee we’ll be able to draw parallels between various areas of South American history. In that vein, I will remind you of my and HNMUN’s deep commitment to providing a committee environment that is welcoming to all, regardless of background, experience, or identity. Please reach out if you have any questions!
Eagerly awaiting your arrival,
Angel Antonio Mata
Director, Republic of Gran Colombia, 1819
Crisis Director's Letter
It is my pleasure to welcome you to Harvard National Model United Nations 2020! I am very excited for the opportunity to be your Crisis Director for the Republic of Gran Colombia, 1819, a committee that will explore the unique challenges of nation-building in Latin America.
To give you a little bit of context, my name is Sofía Corzo, and I am currently a third-year student at Harvard. I was born and raised in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where I also developed my passion for politics and social justice in Latin America. At Harvard, I study Social Studies, an interdisciplinary program that allows me to take classes for credit in the Anthropology, Government, History, Economics, and Sociology departments. My specific focus field within my program of study is on transitional justice and political violence, and I am very interested in how and under what conditions societies cope and respond to threats imposed by authoritarianism, a relevant question for South America today.
I’ve been doing Model UN for six years, and I’ve loved the personal and professional opportunities it has offered me. At Harvard, I am Chief of Staff for our competitive MUN team, ICMUN, where I have been fortunate enough to travel all around the US, something especially valuable to me as an international student. I have staffed and run committees as varied as discussing the creation of the first modern state in Africa, the Central American Peace Processes in the 1980s, the international community’s response to growing terrorist drug cartels in 2024, and the economic independence of the media. Model UN has taken me around the world both figuratively and literally, and I have run committees in Boston, Perú, and the Dominican Republic as well, immersing myself in new topics, new people, and new sights.
Last year, I directed HNMUN’s first Spanish-speaking committee on Jacobo Árbenz’s government in Guatemala in 1952, and I currently serve as the Under-Secretary General for Administration for HNMUN’s sister conference in Latin America, HNMUN-LA. Clearly, both Model UN and Latin America are extremely important to my identity on campus, and I am glad to have the privilege to be able to share both with you this upcoming February.
Above all, I love and value the crisis format as a unique way to focus on the delegate’s experience and their ability to form committee in their own vision. As you write directives, plan out crisis arcs, and engage in the art and theatre of politics, keep in mind that this committee will ask you to face conflicts that will test your creativity, and your capacity to act in delicate situations.
Finally, I am very excited to welcome you all from wherever you may come from, and with whatever experience you may bring. I will also remind you of our our personal commitment to providing a committee experience that is open and accessible to all, regardless of background or identity. Both Angel and I are committed to making sure that you will have an educational, fun, and positive experience, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
I look forward to meeting you all!
Crisis Director, Republic of Gran Colombia, 1819