According to the Mexican Ministry of Culture, the monument has been removed for investigation and a possible restoration. But several groups of activists had previously called for a demonstration under the slogan “we’ll take it down,” referring to the image of the explorer from Genoa.
Christopher Columbus was long suggested as “the discoverer of the Americas,” but is now associated by some with the atrocities committed by Europeans against the native 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, hinted at a press conference that after restoration, the monument might not be reassembled on the avenue where it was placed in 1877. “It may be worthwhile to think together about what Columbus represents, especially for next year,” she said.
In 2021, Mexico will commemorate the 200th anniversary 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 October 2, demanded that the Vatican, as well as the Spanish crown and government, apologize to the indigenous peoples for the “most disgraceful atrocities” during the Spanish conquest in 1521.
In the US, images of Columbus have been destroyed in several places in recent months during demonstrations against racism and police violence. Images have also been removed by the authorities. Activists hold him responsible for the oppression of the continent’s indigenous inhabitants.
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