Latin America

Indigenous woman statue to replace that of Columbus in Mexico City

12:41, 07 September 2021
Indigenous woman statue to replace that of Columbus in Mexico City Photo:

The vandalized statue of the discoverer of the Americas will not return to its spot on Paseo de la Reforma avenue.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced on Sunday that a Christopher Columbus sculpture on Paseo de la Reforma, one of the city’s main avenues, will be replaced by a statue of an indigenous woman.

Columbus’s statue could have been vandalized during last year’s protests for women’s rights and taken for a scheduled restoration. It faced damage in 1992 on the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the Americas.

By making this decision, the city’s officials seek to kill two birds with one stone. Firstly, it is a sign of revision of the European legacy and the Euro-Centric background of Mexico. Secondly, it is considered to be an act of paying tribute simultaneously to the civilization which existed before the arrival of the Italian sailor and to Mexican women overall.

"We owe it to them and we exist because of them. It is the history of our country and our homeland," the mayor said in a statement.

Social networks in Mexico have earlier seen calls not to let re-erect the statue of Columbus as an homage to millions of the indigenous people massacred after the discovery of the continent.

The new statue will be created and developed by sculptor Pedro Reyes who has revealed plans to make a statue of an Olmec woman. The Olmecs are regarded as one of the first major civilizations that lived on Mexican territory.

"It's very important to dedicate a monument to indigenous women and to the Earth, because if anyone can teach us how to take care of this planet, it's our native peoples, and that is precisely what we must learn again."

Paseo de la Reforma avenue has been considered to be the principal street since the 19th century.

The bronze statue of Columbus will be transferred to Parque América, a park in the neighborhood of Polanco; Sheinbaum called it a worthy place.

Columbus’s statues were widely removed in the US during the BLM movement protests in 2020 as a symbol of revising the colonial era.