A statue of the famous European explorer Christopher Columbus that is prominently displayed in a 10-lane boulevard in Mexico City will be replaced with a figure of an Indigenous woman upon orders of the city's "woke" mayor.
For more than 100 years, the Columbus statue stood on the Paseo de la Reforma, but on Sunday, Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced that it was about time the capital city had a monument that represents "social justice."
"We are announcing that the Columbus roundabout will very soon, in October, become a great recognition of the 500 years of resistance of the Indigenous women of our country," Mayor Sheinbaum said, as reported by the Washington Post. "We owe it to them."
The announcement of Columbus' replacement was made on Sunday, coinciding with the International Day of the Indigenous Woman. Sheinbaum explained that while Mexico recognizes Columbus, "there are two visions," one being the European vision of the "discovery of America" which negates the existence of civilizations that existed in Mexico way before the explorer's arrival, and "another vision from here, that in reality a European arrived in America, who made an encounter between two places, and then came the (Spanish) conquest."
According to Al Jazeera, the 19th-century bronze statue was donated to Mexico City a very long time ago and became a significant reference point on the boulevard, whose surrounding traffic circle is also named after the famous explorer.
In 2020, it was removed for restoration just before October 12, which in America is Columbus Day, the same day Mexicans call "Dia de la Raza" or "Day of the Race," to describe the anniversary of the day Columbus set foot in the Americas in 1492.
Also last year, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, with whom the Mexico City mayor is allied, said that Columbus Day is "a date that is very controversial and lends itself to conflicting ideas and political conflicts." This year marks the 700th anniversary of the founding of Tenochtitlan, or what is now known as Mexico City.
It is also the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquistadores' capture of the city and the 200th anniversary of the country's final independence from Spain.
During the Spanish conquest, thousands of Indigenous Mexicans lost their lives defending their territory. Today, most Mexicans still have Indigenous ancestry. Sheinbaum is a staunch defender of the poor and Indigenous communities in Mexico City, which is why the move to replace Columbus' statue with that of an Indigenous woman comes as no surprise.
In the U.S., statues of the Italian navigator have also been desecrated and removed from cities since the Black Lives Matters protests that sparked last year.
Most recently, the Columbus statue on the Market Square on U.S. Boulevard in Chester was removed after standing there for 66 years, Ohio News Time reported. Chester Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland and the Christopher Columbus Memorial Association said that the monuments on the park must "reflect and accept changes in the city's demographics."