Mexico City to replace Columbus statue with one of indigenous woman

by Reuters
Monday, 6 September 2021 05:17 GMT

An empty pedestal where a statue of Italian explorer Cristobal Colon, also known as Christopher Columbus, used to stand before it was taken off by the municipality, is seen during Columbus Day, or Day of the Race (Dia de la Raza) in remembrance of when Colon came to the Americas, in Mexico City, Mexico October 12, 2020, REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

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It is to make way for a monument that delivers "social justice" regarding the historic role of women in Mexico, particularly those of indigenous origin

MEXICO CITY, Sept 5 (Reuters) - A prominent statue of explorer Christopher Columbus on one of Mexico City's principal avenues is to be replaced with that of an indigenous Mexican woman, the capital's mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, said on Sunday.

The 19th-century bronze statue was taken down from the Paseo de la Reforma boulevard last year for restoration work ahead of an annual protest. 

It is to make way for a monument that delivers "social justice" regarding the historic role of women in Mexico, particularly those of indigenous origin, Sheinbaum said at an event in the Mexican capital.

"Of course we recognize Columbus. But there are two visions," Sheinbaum said, adding that one of these was the European vision of the "discovery of America," even though civilizations had existed for centuries in Mexico.

"And there's another vision from here, that in reality a European arrived in America, who made an encounter between two places, and then came the (Spanish) conquest," she added.

The Columbus statue will be relocated to a "worthy" place in the city, the mayor said.

Several statues of the Italian navigator, whose Spanish-funded expeditions from the 1490s onward opened the way for the European conquest of the Americas, have been removed from U.S. cities since the Black Lives Matter protests and the worldwide re-examination of the colonial era and the legacy of slavery.

Sheinbaum is a close ally of leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has sought to cast his government first and foremost as a defender of the poor and indigenous communities, many of whom are among the country's least well-off.

(Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Michael Perry and Clarence Fernandez)