Sunday, June 4

Demolished a statue of Ponce de León hours before the arrival of Felipe VI in Puerto Rico | Spain

Demolished statue of Juan Ponce de León, in San José square, one of the most central in San Juan (Puerto Rico), this Monday.
Demolished statue of Juan Ponce de León, in San José square, one of the most central in San Juan (Puerto Rico), this Monday.Thais Llorca (EFE)

The news of the “interruption of the marriage relationship” between Cristina de Borbón and Iñaki Urdangarin coincided this Monday with Felipe VI’s trip to Puerto Rico, at whose Luis Muñoz Marín international airport the monarch is scheduled to arrive at 11 o’clock in the morning. night (Spanish peninsular time). In the early hours of Monday, hours before his arrival, the statue of Juan Ponce de León, the first governor of Puerto Rico and discoverer of Florida, was demolished in the Plaza de San José, in the historic center of San Juan, the capital and most populous city of the Caribbean country. The act of vandalism has been claimed by some self-styled Libertarian Forces of Borikén, the name by which the island was called in the language of the Taino Indians before Spanish colonization.

The mayor of San Juan, Miguel Romero, has assured that the incident will not affect the King’s visit and that the security cameras in the area will be reviewed to identify those responsible. “Instead of using money to plug a hole [bache], now we have to use it to fix this,” he told a local radio station.

This is the second visit of Felipe VI to this Free Associated State of the United States since he assumed the head of state in 2014, since in 2016 he presided over the inauguration of the VII Congress of the Spanish Language with Queen Letizia. This time the King travels accompanied by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Global Affairs, Ángeles Moreno, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the founding of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. .

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The visit coincides with the announcement, this Monday, of the decision of the Infanta Cristina and Iñaki Urdangarin to interrupt “by common agreement” their marriage relationship, as both have assured in a statement sent to the Efe agency. The Royal House has not made any comment on the matter. Despite the relationship, the King’s sister no longer belongs to the institution of the Royal Family and Felipe VI withdrew the title of the Duchy of Palma from her in 2015.

In the United States, a wave of iconoclastic fury was unleashed after the death of the African-American George Floyd, in May 2020, which swept away numerous statues of Confederate soldiers, fathers of the Nation who were slavers and even missionaries such as Friar Junípero Serra or discoverers such as Cristóbal Colón, but until now it had not reached Puerto Rico.

The King’s trip has a clear cultural and economic aspect. In addition to meeting with the mayor of San Juan and with the governor, Pedro Pierlusi, Felipe VI will inaugurate a business forum with the presence of Spanish and Puerto Rican businessmen, hold a meeting with the Spanish community and visit two exhibitions on the legacy of Pau Casals and Juan Ramón Jiménez, two of the greatest figures of the Spanish cultural exile. Both the cellist and author of the United Nations anthem and the Nobel Prize for Literature died in San Juan.

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On Wednesday, after concluding his visit to Puerto Rico, Felipe VI will travel to Tegucigalpa (Honduras) to attend the inauguration of the new president, Xiomara Castro, the first woman to assume the presidency of the country. In Tegucigalpa, the King will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Manuel Albares, and will coincide, among other leaders, with the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris.

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