Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Mexican President Asks Pope Francis to Apologize for Spanish Conquest of Mexico

ROME — Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has written to Pope Francis asking him to offer an apology to the Mexican people for the atrocities committed during the Spanish Conquest in 1521.

López Obrador sent a letter to the pontiff that was delivered in the Vatican this weekend personally by his wife Beatriz Gutierrez Müller.

“I would like to insist,” says López Obrador in his letter, “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 including the sacking of their property and lands, subjugating them since the 1521 conquest until the recent past.”

“They deserve not only that generous attitude on our part but also the sincere commitment that never, ever, acts disrespectful to their beliefs and cultures will be committed, and much less that they be judged or marginalized for economic motives or racism,” he adds.

In March 2019, Mr. López Obrador sent a similar letter to King Felipe VI of Spain and Pope Francis with the same request, but the Spanish government rejected the request “with all firmness.”

At that time, López Obrador posted a video on Facebook noting he had sent a letter to the king of Spain and another to the pope “calling for a full account of the abuses and urging them to apologize to the indigenous peoples for the violations of what we now call their human rights.”

In its reply to the appeal, the Spanish government underscored the danger of trying to anachronistically apply today’s standards to historic events.

“The arrival, 500 years ago, of the Spanish to the current Mexican lands cannot be judged in light of contemporary considerations,” the government said in a statement.

The Mexican president launched this call in the framework of the commemoration in 2021 of the 500th anniversary of the 1521 European conquest and the 200th anniversary of Mexican independence in 1821.

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Thomas D. Williams Ph.D.

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