The right of Spain has come out to defend Hispanidad, celebrated this October 12, like few times before.
Faced with calls from America for Spain to apologize for the dark chapters of its colonial past, and the proclamation of the Day of Indigenous Peoples by US President Joe Biden, right-wing Spanish politicians have expressed their disagreement.
One is the leader of the Popular Party (PP), Pablo Casado, who described Hispanidad What “The most important event in History after Romanization”, As he said on the eve of the Spanish holiday of October 12, which marks the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the New World in 1492.
“Does the kingdom of Spain have to apologize because five centuries ago it discovered a New World, respected those who were there, created universities, created prosperity, built entire cities? Well, I think not, “Casado said in a video posted on Twitter.
His comments came after the president Biden, in a message to commemorate Columbus Day in the United States, said that the arrival of Columbus caused “A wave of devastation” for Native Americans and urge Americans not to “bury these shameful episodes of our past.”
The president issued a proclamation for October 11 to be the Indigenous Peoples Day in the United States, on the eve of the current Columbus Day.
Before Casado, other Spanish right-wing politicians also made their position on the issue clear.
“Proud of what they did”
The arrival of Europeans in America brought the culture of the Spanish and Portuguese first, then that of the English, to the territories where millions of natives lived.
However, it also created problems.
Smallpox and other non-endemic diseases wiped out large numbers of indigenous people, facilitating the Spanish conquest. Their weaponry allowed them to inflict massacres, despite being a relatively small number of colonizers.
In North America, the technological superiority of the colonists was equally key to driving the natives out of their homes and taking over their lands.
However, for a part of the political spectrum of Spain, any problem arising from the conquest does not exceed the benefits that accompanied the colonization.
Santiago Abascal, the leader of the Vox party, a far-right party, referred to Biden as “the unfortunate president of the United States.”
“He has just attacked the great work of Hispanidad: Evangelization”, said.
“What pride can we feel in what our ancestors did,” he stressed, describing the Spanish colonies as “the empire of human rights.”
Vox was consolidated in the last elections as the third party with the most representation in the Spanish parliament.
The attempt of the separatists in Catalonia to create their own independent state in recent years seems to have fueled a nationalist sentiment in much of Spain, explains Guy Hedgecoe, a BBC journalist in Madrid.
Events have encouraged some to take an open and unapologetic view of the country’s history.
Although Spain maintains close economic and cultural relations with the countries that were former colonies, in Latin America many claim that the human rights abuses committed by the conquerors and the colonial governments that followed have never been recognized from the Iberian Peninsula.
Among other things, it indicates the massacre of the native peoples during the conquest and the subsequent subjugation that, for some, is manifested to this day in many Latin American countries in the form of racism.
“The latest reaction from Spanish politicians fuels a debate about how Spain should view its colonial past,” says Hedgecoe.
“You wouldn’t be there”
The controversy between Mexico and Spain over colonialism has increased since Andrés Manuel López Obrador came to the Mexican government in 2018.
In a letter sent to the King of Spain, Felipe VI, López Obrador stated that Spain should apologize for the grievances against the indigenous people in the conquest. Another similar letter was sent to the Vatican.
On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence from Spain, in September Pope Francis recognized the “personal and social sins” committed by the Catholic Church on Mexican soil after the conquest.
López Obrador welcomed the Pope’s message. From Spain He did not receive an official response, but he did receive that of some PP politicians.
The president of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso (PP), criticized Pope Francis.
“It surprises me that a Catholic who speaks Spanish speaks in this way of a legacy like ours, which was to bring Spanish precisely, and through the missions, Catholicism and, therefore, civilization and freedom to the continent. American, ”he said.
The Episcopal Conference of Spain expressed its “perplexity” by the words of Díaz Ayuso against the Pope.
More recently, the former president José María Aznar, of the PP, made an irony about the request for forgiveness when speaking of the origin of the name of the Mexican president.
“Andrés on the part of the Aztecs. Manuel on the part of the Mayans. López is a mix of Aztecs and Incas. And Obrador de Santander. Man is that if some things hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be there“He said a few days ago in a PP forum.
López Obrador’s maternal grandfather is originally from Cantabria, whose capital is Santander, in northern Spain.
In an editorial on the occasion of Spain’s national holiday, the Spanish newspaper El País acknowledged the widespread reassessment of colonial history.
He said that many citizens of former imperial powers “feel uncomfortable with an idealized representation of a past that always had more blood and fire than peace and harmony.”
“Spain is no exception and this new mood has also reached the majority of society, even though the debate about its history and the way to interpret it is still open, “he added.
It may interest you:
* Remembering the importance of preparation in Hispanic Heritage Month
* Biden reiterates his efforts to improve the lives of Latinos in the United States.
* The 6 women who helped and accompanied Christopher Columbus throughout his life
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.