"We have a duty to Indigenous women, who heroically resisted colonization. Paying tribute to them is an act of social justice," Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum stated.
On Sunday, Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced that a sculpture of an Olmec Indigenous woman would replace the one of Cristopher Colombus in the Reform Promenade to honor Indigenous women.
"We have a duty to Indigenous women, who heroically resisted colonization. Paying tribute to them is an act of social justice," Sheinbaum stated, recalling that the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and woman lawmakers supported the construction of the sculpture, which will be inaugurated on Oct. 12.
Columbus, an Italian-born explorer who was financed by the Spanish crown to set sail on voyages of exploration in the late 15th Century, is seen by many by many Latin Americans as a symbol of oppression since his arrival in the continent opened the door to the Spanish conquest.
The plinth on which the Columbus statue stood in the Reform Promenade has been empty since October 10, 2020, when authorities removed it for restoration purposes two days before planned protests for the 528th anniversary of Columbus' arrival.
We have the pleasure to publish the first official photo of the plenary of the negotiation process in Mexico between the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of #Venezuela and the Unitary Platform of Venezuela, facilitated by Norway and accompanied by the Netherlands and Russia. pic.twitter.com/JdrGKReJ4W— Norway MFA (@NorwayMFA) September 4, 2021
Some activists issued calls on social media for his statue to be toppled. However, Sheinbaum stressed that INAH would relocate the sculpture to the Americas Park after finishing the restoration. "We do not seek to erase history but to deliver social justice," she stated.
On Oct. 10, 2020, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) requested Pope Francis to apologize for the "shameful atrocities" committed by the Catholic Church against Indigenous peoples, who were looted of their properties and culturally subjugated.
Citizen movements against the public display of statues of colonialists, slavers, and racists have been more active around the world since the Black Lives Matter protests started in the U.S. in 2020.