Mexico city removed Columbus monument

Un-discovering America, the Mexican way

The authorities removed a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus from a Main Street in Mexico City on Saturday. The decision comes after activists announced that they would take down the statue at a demonstration scheduled for Monday at the commemoration of Columbus ‘ arrival in America on October 12, 1492.

According to the Mexican Ministry of Culture, the monument has been removed for research and a possible restoration. But several groups of activists had previously called for a demonstration under the slogan “We will bring it down”, referring to the image of the explorer from Genoa.

Christopher Columbus was long presented as’ the discoverer of America’, but is now associated by some with the atrocities committed by Europeans against the indigenous population. Four statues of Franciscans, including the Spaniard Bartolomé de las Casas, have also been moved for restoration.

The mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, mentioned at a press conference that after restoration the monument might not be put back together again on the avenue where it was placed in 1877. “It might be worth thinking together about what Columbus stands for, especially for next year,” she said.

In 2021, Mexico commemorates the bicentenary of Mexican Independence and the 500th anniversary of the European invasion with the fall of Tenochtitlan, the former name of Mexico City under Aztec rule.

Mexican president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, in a letter dated 2 October, demanded that the Vatican, as well as the Spanish crown and government, apologize to the indigenous peoples for the “most outrageous atrocities” during the Spanish conquest in 1521.

In the US over the past few months, images of Columbus have been destroyed in various places during demonstrations against racism and police violence. Images have also been deleted by the authorities. Activists hold him responsible for the repression of native inhabitants of the continent.

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