Mexico City will swap Columbus statue with one of the indigenous women
The Mexican government will replace the statue of Christopher Columbus, an Italian explorer, that was located on one of Mexico City’s main avenues with one of a woman of indigenous origin.
Columbus Statue Replaces Indigenous Woman
Claudia Sheinbaum, Mayor of New York, announced that the Columbus statue at Paseo de la Reforma would be replaced with a statue honoring Indigenous women. This statue is often the focal point for Indigenous rights protests.
Claudia Sheinbaum, Mexico City Mayor, stated that the bronze representation of Columbus would move to a park where a statue of an Olmec woman will take its place.
She said, “To them, we owe…the history of our country and our fatherland.”
The announcement was made on Sunday, International Day of the Indigenous Woman.
Protests forced the removal of the Columbus statue from its plinth in 2011.
In Latin America and the USA, protesters toppled Columbus statues.
Christopher Columbus, an Italian-born explorer, was funded by the Spanish crown to sail on exploration voyages in the late 15th century. Many see him as a symbol of oppression, colonialism, and his arrival in America, opening the doors to the Spanish conquest.
Mayor Sheinbaum announced the news at a ceremony commemorating the international day for indigenous women on Sunday.
The Columbus statue was donated to the city over a decade ago. It was a key reference point along the 10-lane boulevard. The surrounding traffic circle is named after it.
This made it a popular target for spray-paint-wielding protesters decrying the European suppression of Mexican Indigenous cultures.
It was taken down last year, supposedly to restore the area. This is the day before Columbus Day in the USA. Mexicans refer to it as “Dia de la Raza” or “Day of the Race,” which marks the anniversary of Columbus’ arrival into the Americas in 1492.
She stated that the purpose of relocating this statue was not to erase history but to bring about “social justice.”
Ms. Sheinbaum stated that the Columbus statue would not be hidden but that it was essential to recognize the Mexican civilizations that existed before the Spanish conquest.
Pedro Reyes, the mayor, said that he was creating a woman statue representing the Olmec civilization. This civilization flourished in the Gulf of Mexico between 1200 BC and 400 BC. It will replace the Columbus statue on Reforma Avenue.
Since 10 October 2020, the plinth where the Columbus statue was located has been empty. It was taken “for restoration purposes” two days before planned protests marking Columbus’ arrival in 1492.
Some activists called for the removal of the statue via social media.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador stated that the statue had been removed because it was controversial and could lead to political and ideas conflicts.
This year marks the 700th anniversary of the founding of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. It also marks the 500th anniversary of its fall to Spanish conquistadores and the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Many Mexicans are descendants of indigenous people and know that many Indigenous people were killed in violence and disease after and during the conquest.
Sheinbaum suggested that the new statue, “Tlali,” could be completed by the Dia de la Raza date this year.
The Columbus statue will not be thrown away, but it will be moved to a smaller park in the Polanco neighborhood. Sheinbaum called Columbus “a great international personality.”