Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has asked King Philip VI to “apologize to America for the 300-year genocide against the native peoples.”
“We join the voices in America that have risen to demand the King of Spain to rectify his position, to reflect and ask for forgiveness from America for the 300-year genocide against the native peoples,” said the president from the Miraflores Palace during a ceremony broadcast by the state-run Venezuelan Television channel (VTV) on the occasion of October 12, Columbus Day in Spain and the day of the “529 years of Indigenous Resistance” in Venezuela.
For that reason, the Venezuelan president announced his intention to send a letter to Philip VI in which he will convey his “reflections, with respect”, on “the historical pain” that “the peoples of America “had to endure”. “Spain also has a good, glorious, heroic history of struggle against colonialism, against vassalage,” so he should understand his request, he added.
Likewise, he continued during his speech, Maduro is going to send another letter to the Presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) for the establishment of a “truth commission made up of honorable investigators, people of honor, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, that from CELAC communicates with the former European empires and, once and for all, establishes the truth of what happened in these American lands during the 300 years of colonialism”.
Maduro thus joins the repeated requests of the President of Mexico, Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), for Spain to apologize for the conquest. The last calls in this regard occurred at the end of August and on October 1 of this year, but the tension was triggered in 2019, when the Mexican leader sent a letter King Philip VI in which he asked that “the Kingdom of Spain publicly and officially express the recognition of the grievances caused”. Likewise, in October 2020, AMLO stated, in a letter addressed to Pope Francis on the occasion of Columbus Day, that “the Catholic Church, the Spanish Monarchy and the Mexican State” should “offer a public apology to the native peoples who suffered the most opprobrious atrocities to plunder their goods and lands and subjugate them, since the Conquest in 1521 until the recent past”.
In its repeated responses, the Spanish government has insisted that the events of 500 years ago “cannot be judged in the light of contemporary considerations”. The Pope has publicly recognized “the errors of the past” and has asked for “forgiveness for the personal and social sins” committed by the Church during the conquest and evangelization of Mexico.