Wayuu the Muslims of Guajira Peninsula and Lake Maracaibo / Zulia in Colombia and Venezuela
Wayuu (also Wayu, Wayúu, Guajiro, Wahiro) is a Native American ethnic group of the Guajira Peninsula in northern Colombia and northwestVenezuela. The Wayuu language is part of the Maipuran (Arawak) language family.
Map of La Guajira in 1769
Even though the Wayuu were never subjugated by the Spanish, the two groups were in a more or less permanent state of war. There had been rebellions in 1701 (when they destroyed a Capuchin mission), 1727 (when more than 2,000 natives attacked the Spanish), 1741, 1757, 1761 and 1768. In 1718 Governor Soto de Herrera called them “barbarians, horse thieves, worthy of death, without God, without law and without a king.” Of all the Indigenous peoples in the territory of Colombia, they were unique in having learned the use of firearms and horses.
In 1769 the Spanish took 22 Wayuus captive in order to put them to work building the fortifications of Cartagena. The reaction of the Indians was unexpected. On May 2, 1769, at El Rincón, near Río de la Hacha, they set their village afire, burning the church and two Spaniards who had taken refuge in it. They also captured the priest. The Spanish immediately dispatched an expedition from El Rincón to capture the Indians. At the head of this force was José Antonio de Sierra, a mestizo who had also headed the party that had taken the 22 Guajiro captives. The Guajiros recognized him and forced his party to take refuge in the house of the curate, which they then set afire. Sierra and eight of his men were killed.
This success was soon known in other Guajiro areas, and more men joined the revolt. According to Messía, at the peak there were 20,000 Indians under arms. Many had firearms acquired from English and Dutch smugglers, sometimes even from the Spanish. These enabled the rebels to take nearly all the settlements of the region, which they burned. According to the authorities, more than 100 Spaniards were killed and many others taken prisoner. Many cattle were also taken by the rebels. The Spaniards who could took refuge in Río de la Hacha and sent urgent messages to Maracaibo, Valle de Upar, Santa Marta and Cartagena. Cartagena sent 100 troops. The rebels themselves were not unified. Sierra’s relatives among the Indians took up arms against the rebels to avenge his death. A battle between the two groups of Indians was fought at La Soledad. That and the arrival of the Spanish reinforcements caused the rebellion to fade away, but not before the Guajiro had regained much territory.
Chavez has invited Shiite “missionaries” from Iran to convert the peasants and the indigenous people in the Amazon. All of the Wayuu tribe has become Muslim, with the women wearing burkas and the men taking target practice with Kalishnikov rifles. Some have had themselves photographed with suicide bomb packs, and the Venezuelan government is using these photos to publicize its solidarity with Ahmadinejad and terrorist groups in the Middle East.