CARACAS, Oct 13 (NNN-TELESUR) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro called on the Spanish government to rectify and apologize for the massacre of millions of indigenous people from America during colonization.
On the Day of Indigenous Resistance, the Venezuelan president recalled the victims of murder and slavery due to the expansion of Spanish colonizers on the American continent.
‘More than 500 years ago, the Spanish empire killed, banished and enslaved millions of indigenous people. They came here to invade, colonize and massacre our grandfathers and grandmothers. Spain must rectify and apologize to all of America,’ the president said on Twitter.
Executive Secretary of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), Sacha Llorenti, also paid tribute to the millions of people exterminated during colonial times.
‘Our gratitude goes to those who fought for decades and won the war for our independence. Today, we ratify our anti-imperialist and anti-colonialist essence,’ the ALBA-TCP executive secretary said.
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia recalled that 529 years ago, the arrival of European colonists to the Americas changed the course of humankind, especially the history of the native peoples of the continent.
‘Today, we recall the warrior-like impetus of our ancestors, defenders of these lands,’ the foreign minister said.
Spain celebrates Oct 12 as its National or “Hispanic” day. On the other hand, in many Latin American countries, this day is no longer marked as “Columbus” or “Discovery” day, but as the “Indigenous Resistance Day.”
In Latin America, there are some 826 different Indigenous Peoples, who represent more than 45 million people, about 10 percent of the continent’s population. However, in certain countries, they account for a much higher percentage of the total population.
In this region, significant progress has been made regarding the constitutional and legal recognition of their rights. However, their formal rights are often frustrated in practice by the discrimination and exclusion that they continue to face due to the capitalist interpretation of “modern development.”
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Francisco Cali highlighted violations of Indigenous peoples” rights in the name of environmental conservation in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, and Mexico. Also, the construction of highways, electricity networks, and hydroelectric plants transforms their territories and models of economic and social development.
The Senior Counselor of the National Organization of Colombian Indigenous Peoples (ONIC), Orlando Rayo, said that this is not a day of celebration because “it is the day of the extermination of Indigenous Peoples. Our knowledge and wisdom are colonized by forms of life and government that do not belong to our culture; they increase our physical and cultural extinction” Today is a day of struggle for Latin American Indigenous peoples.
Also, in Mexico City, marches to denounce their systemic marginalization have occurred. In Buenos Aires, several Indigenous organizations are demonstrating in front of the Argentine Congress to demand an Indigenous community property law extension. In Asuncion, groups demand that the government set up a work table to discuss land restitution. The event “Memories of October and meeting of social organization” is held in Quito, led by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), among many others. — NNN-TELESUR