In social networks it is requested to tear down the sculptural group to which the local government will submit to an “in-depth restoration”
Just two days after the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the American coast is commemorated, his statue in a roundabout on Reforma Avenue in Mexico City has been removed this morning, according to local authorities for maintenance work. The coincidence of the dates does not seem by chance, nor does it seem that some users on social networks already spoke of their demolition in the previous hours. Along the same lines, a call is circulating to concentrate in that square on October 12, the day when Spanish-speaking countries commemorate a common past. In current times there are those who think that there is no reason to celebrate that encounter between two worlds that led to the arrival of invading and colonizing peoples to the American continent.
The tendency to tear down statues is by no means new, but it has been accused in recent months and Columbus is one of the most affected by it among those who find that his feat as a navigator did not bring anything good to the American continent. His statue in Baltimore was brought down this summer, following in the wake of similar actions with other honorees on the streets. In this sense, the Paseo de la Reforma in the Mexican capital is a sculptural museum that this year and the previous one has been shaken by all kinds of citizen actions, some painted the statues as a protest in the demonstrations and others raised monuments to remember recent causes. Now it is the Genoese admiral’s turn to go through the workshop. There is no date for his return to the pedestal.
The Government Secretariat of Mexico City has reported that the entire sculpture complex “will be deeply restored.” Colón is accompanied in this urban monument by the friars Pedro de Gante, Bartolomé de las Casas, Juan Pérez de Marchena, and Diego de Deza. All these figures, related to the conquest of America and its abuses against the original peoples of the continent, are very much in question these days. Mexico commemorates next year the 500 years of the conquest of Tenochtitlán, which is why President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has insistently asked that the Spanish monarchy and the Catholic Church apologize for those “reproaches” of the cross and the sword. The Mexican Government will also join this request for humility.
The local Government Secretariat considered in recent statements to this newspaper that the intervention of citizens on the statues is not something reprehensible, but a reflection of a living society that claims for its time new cultural and symbolic representations. As well as shows the dynamics of citizenship before the political events of yesterday and today. The federal government turns to these chapters of history on numerous occasions for redress, something that some criticize for strategic populism.
The statue of Columbus, now dismounted from its pedestal, arrived on the shores of Veracruz in 1875 from the workshop of French sculptor Charles Cordier, donated by the Mexican businessman and banker Antonio Escandón. During those years, the navigator received numerous honors of bronze and stone throughout the world. The one that was built in Barcelona is 128 years old, and today it is also the subject of controversy: the independentists call the same thing to demolish the column of the Genoese pointing to the New World, who claim its Catalan origin. In Madrid, it also crowns one of the most famous squares in the capital.
The celebration of the meeting between the European and American people was tarnished due to the many years in which the dictator Franco rejoiced with the conquests and the superiority of the Spanish race, something that school books exalted in a blushing way at the time and that today it continues to provoke the logical repudiation among the Latin American nations. Columbus, defenseless and humiliated by doves, continues to be the symbol of that conflict as historical as it is current.
Source: elpais.com, heraldodemexico.com.mx