5caudillism existedinembryo, theninincipient or partial form, beforeculminatinginthe major figures of caudillo history.The colony was not propitious for caudillism. The Spanish empire wasgoverned by an anonymous bureaucracy, andwhilepersonalism mayhave been important in patronage, it had little place in government orpolicy-making,both ofwhichwerehighly institutionalized.On themar-gin of colonial society, however, caudillo prototypes made their appear-ance.InVenezuela land concentrationinthe llanos resultedinthe for-mation of vast hatos ("ranches")owned by powerful proprietors who cameto assert private property rights. The hunting activity of the llaneros,hitherto regarded ascommonusage, was now defined as rustling andcondemnedas delinquency.In self-defensemanyllanerosgrouped
them-selves into bands underchieftains,tolivebyviolenceand plunder;thefrontiers ofrurallifecame underthe control ofbandits, and some areas
wereina permanent stateofrebellion.Whiletheywereanaffront to
colonial law and order, however, bandit leadersdid notoperate beyondtheirlocality,nor didthey pose a political threat.The caudillo was essentially a productof thewars of independence,when the colonial state was disrupted, institutions were destroyed, andsocial groups competedto fill the
Therewasnowa progressionfrom llanero, to vagrant, to bandit, to guerrilla fighter, as local proprietorsornew leaders soughttorecruit followers. While such bands might enlistunder one political cause or another, the underlying factorswerestillrural conditions and personal leadership. The countryside was soon im-poverished by destruction, and people were ruined by war taxes andplunder.As theeconomy reached breaking point,so men were forced
into bandsforsubsistence under a chieftainwhocould lead themtobooty. Thus, banditrywas aproductofrural distress and a causeofit,and,intheearly yearsofthewar, delinquency was strongerthanide-ology.It is not uncommon to observeinthese vast territoriesgroupsofbanditswho,withoutany politicalmotivationandwithdesireofpillagetheironly incentive,cometogetherand followthefirstcaudillo who offers thembootytaken fromanyonewithproperty.This ishowBoves and other bandits ofthesamekind have beenable torecruithordesofthesepeople,who liveby vagrancy,rob-bery,and assassination.
5. Robert L. Gilmore, Cauclillisrnand Militarism inVenezuela,1810-1910(Athens,Ohio, 1964),pp. 47, 69-70, 107.6."Reflexionessobre el estado actualde los Ilanos,"Dec. 6, 1813,cited in GermanCarrera Dainas,Boves,aspectos socio-econ6micosde su accionhistorica (Caracas,1968),p.158.