Bolivar with other exiles fled to Curaao. He was given command of a small army. Defying orders, he led an attack on a Royalist position to gain control of a key river. He then joined forces with another Republican general. Together they attacked a Royalist army and prevented them from marching on into New Grenada. With these victories, Bolivar felt comfortable releasing a decree that any Spaniard in the Americas who did not help Bolivar eradicate Spanish rule will be put to death. In six months, his troops took towns all the way to Caracas. and freed Venezuela from all Spanish occupying soldiers. The citizens called him liberator and then dictator of the republic. However, the problems that had plagued the region still had not been solved. A rival Venezuelan general
failed to recognize Bolivar, dark skinned citizens still had little opportunities, and the nation was in economic ruin.