Miami, Aug 26 – A new documentary that summarizes the life and humanistic contributions of the Venezuelan doctor and anthropologist Samuel Darío Maldonado (1870-1925), who fought against yellow fever, arrives in Miami (USA) to show that “the history of countries is not only made by the military, but also by civilians”

This was emphasized to Efe by Natalia Díaz Peña, executive producer of the documentary “Samuel Darío Maldonado, a river to explore,” and also in charge of the historical archive of the Maldonado family, whose fourth generation has promoted this film project that is on an international tour. .

According to the producer, Samuel Darío Maldonado, who was also a prominent writer, journalist and politician, bequeathed more than 5,000 records that have been digitized, including manuscripts, legal documents, plans and photographs, as well as a library with more than 700 volumes on topics as varied as livestock, as well as history and art.

One of his best-known books, “Tierra Nuestra” (1921), is considered a pioneer in jungle literature.

However, the conference “General Sanitation and Yellow Fever”, which Maldonado gave in the Hall of the Academy of Fine Arts in February 1912, in Caracas (Venezuela), is material “of great importance”, unpublished until now, and which is included in this documentary, whose script and direction are provided by Óscar Lucien and Andrés Crema.

“All this current panorama of the pandemic made us understand what happened at that conference, in which (Maldonado) implemented drastic measures. The conference is not published and is one of the many unpublished documents that we have in the archives,” explains Díaz. Grief.


Maldonado, who died on October 6, 1925 when he was then a senator for the state of Táchira in the National Congress of Venezuela, was the first director of health in the country and generated the first campaign against yellow fever.

But also “there is talk of a defender of human rights in a historical moment, in 1911, of a defender who fights for the rights of the indigenous people of Venezuela,” says the director of the historical archive of the Maldonado family.

“The exploitation of rubber in the territory of the Amazon, one of the largest human trafficking in America, had repercussions in Venezuela, where the trees were cut down at once, and Samuel Darío dictated measures against it,” explains Díaz Peña about the so-called “rubber fever”, which experienced its heyday between 1879 and 1912.

“Samuel Darío Maldonado, a river to explore” is the first audiovisual on the life of this important doctor and politician, according to the producer.

“We had been doing it since 2017 as an initiative of the fourth generation of the family. It is a civil figure of which there was a biography, but not an audiovisual one,” he comments.

The executive producer says that the 52-minute documentary, recently released in Venezuela, “has been one of the great challenges”, since “the audiovisual record” in the South American country “begins in 1920 and he was born in 1870 and died in 1925” .

“There weren’t any moving images, so the photos helped a lot. The documentary talks about what Venezuela was like before modernity. Through this character you can see what this country was like in its pre-modern phase,” she adds.

Díaz Peña, who will be presenting the documentary next Tuesday at the Silverspot room, in downtown Miami, South Florida, highlights the importance of the archive as a primary source.

“What is said is true. We are talking about more than 5,000 digitized documents, from photographs prior to 1910, letters from the beginning of the 20th century, his literary work and, among them, a linguistic dictionary with 2,200 indigenous words,” she explained.

“We are in an audiovisual campaign of civilian characters who have made history. The history of countries is not only made with soldiers, but also with civilians, and Samuel Darío’s family is aware of that,” she remarked.

Categorized in: