In recent years, the rejection by the Latin American population, especially indigenous people, of what “Hispanic Day” represents has grown steadily. This has manifested itself in many ways: demolition of statues, removal of street names, transformations of the October 12 celebration, etc.
All this is motivated by the awareness of the horrors committed by such sinister characters as Christopher Columbus, Pizarro or Hernán Cortés, who committed crimes that today would be judged as against humanity1, as well as by indigenous social movements that reject neocolonialism and seek to defend the rights of indigenous peoples that have been denied for five centuries2.
The turning point for the indigenous struggle happened at the end of the 20th century in 1994, when the Zapatistas of Chiapas rose up against the Mexican Government to end, as they said, the “long night of 500 years” in which they were submitted. Since then, different processes throughout the Americas have taken place: the arrival of Evo Morales to the government in Bolivia3, the creation of the National Indigenous Congress in Mexico4, environmental struggles led by indigenous people5, or the recent burning of churches and demolition of statues such as reaction to the indigenous genocide in Canada6 are some of the most recent struggles that focus on the dignity of indigenous peoples.
The current rhetoric of the right-wing and ultra-right forces in Spain and America is a speech that must have a firm response7. We must put pressure on all the governments of the world that still celebrate Columbus’ arrival in America as a discovery, to recognize the invasion, looting and genocide that that event entailed. In the same way, the struggles to defend the rights of indigenous peoples must be strengthened in this new century full of challenges to leave behind injustices that date back 500 years. Truth, Justice and Reparation for the peoples of Abya Yala. It was not a discovery, it was an invasion!
1 https://es.wikisource.org/wiki/Brev%C3%ADsima_relaci%C3%B3n_de_la_destrucci%C3%B3n_de_las_Indias 2 https://webs.ucm.es/info/eurotheo/diccionario/I/indigenismo.htm 3 https://journals.iai.spk-berlin.de/index.php/iberoamericana/article/view/943 4 https://www.congresonacionalindigena.org/2017/09/17/historia-del-cni/ 5 https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/es/case/case-history-berta-c%C3%A1ceres 6 https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-internacional-57702227 7 https://www.elsaltodiario.com/america-latina/12-octubre-espana-america-derechas