Mexico President wrote to Pope Francis To request an apology for the Catholic Church’s role in suppressing the indigenous population in the Spanish invasion 500 years ago.
The request was presented in a two-page letter that also asked for Vatican To temporarily return several ancient original manuscripts preserved in its library, ahead of the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico.
The letter, dated October 2, but posted on President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s Twitter page on Saturday, the same day Mexico City authorities decided to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus that protesters had threatened to demolish.
Beatrice Gutierrez Muller, wife of Lopez Obrador, delivered the message, which she met in the Vatican after a meeting she had held on Friday with Italian President Sergio Mattarella.
Lopez Obrador said that the Spanish crown, the Spanish government and the Vatican should apologize to the natives for the “most disgraceful atrocities” committed after the arrival of the Spanish invaders. Mexico In the year 1521.
“They not only deserve this generous position on our part, but they also deserve the sincere commitment that disrespectful acts will never again be committed against their beliefs and cultures.”
The Catholic Church played a major role when Spain was colonized The Americas And spread its empire, and establish missions to convert the indigenous people to Christianity.
The Pope apologized to Bolivia in 2015 for the church’s role in repression in Latin America during the Spanish colonial era.
In this month’s letter to the Vatican, Lopez Obrador requested that three manuscripts be returned, including the Codex Borgia, a specially colored book folded on screen spread across dozens of pages depicting deities and rituals from ancient central Mexico.
It is one of the best preserved examples of the pre-conquest Aztec style in existence, after the Catholic authorities in colonial Mexico rejected such manuscripts as the work of the Devil and ordered hundreds or even thousands of them to be burned in the decades following the conquest in 1521.
Lopez Obrador asked the Vatican to return the Borgia manuscript, the two other ancient manuscripts, in addition to her maps of The Aztec capital is Tenochtitlan For a one-year loan in 2021.
The national president is planning a series of events to celebrate the anniversary next year.
The Vatican has not yet responded to this request, but its museums and archives have in the past submitted many manuscripts and artworks after similar requests from other countries.
In Mexico City, authorities removed the statue of Christopher Columbus on Saturday two days before protesters intended to drop it during events commemorating the arrival of the Italian navigator in the Americas.
The Culture Ministry said the statue was removed from Reforma Street at the request of city officials, adding that it was removed for restoration.
Activist groups organized a protest, titled “We Will Bring It Down,” on Monday, October 12, the date of Columbus’ arrival in America in 1492.
In Mexico, this date is celebrated as Dia de la Raza (Race Day), in appreciation of the country’s mixed local and European heritage.
Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said the statue could return after restoration work is completed. “It might be useful … to collectively think about what (Columbus) represents, especially toward the coming year,” she told a news conference.