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Truculent Basque

COLOMBIA | Thursday, 5 January 2006 | Views [1142]

To be fair to the Spaniards they did rebuild the place and put it under the command of a certain truculent Basque called Blas de Lezo.(See statue.) This was a horse of a different colour for poor old Vernon. This prickly bastard was 39 years at sea and had managed to lose an eye, an arm and a leg in his various battles,not what you might call a shrinking violet. (And NO to my knowledge they did NOT call him 'lucky' de Lezo). Vernon wrote de Lezo a letter challenging him, thinking that de Lezo might bottle it. Big mistake. De Lezo answered Vernon's letter in Cartagena: "If I had been in Portobello, you would not have assaulted the fortress of my master, the King, with impunity because I could have supplied the valor the defenders of Portobello lacked and checked their cowardice..." He challenged Vernon to have another go. Vernon never made it and not for the want of trying. He tried once by land and, this failing, tried and failed once again, this time by sea from Panama. The unfortunate Admiral took his frustration with him to a hero's grave in Westminster abbey. Blas de Lezo joined his lost limbs and eyeball in the ocean and sleeps with the fishes somewhere off the coast of Cartagena. Such is the way of the world and the sorry conclusion of all human endeavor.
End of History Lesson.

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