Spain has a new diplomatic crisis on its hands. This evening it was reported that Mexico's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, sent a letter to Spanish king Felipe VI and pope Francis on 1st March asking for them to apologise for the abuses committed by Spaniards during the conquest of Mexico. The president has confirmed the reports via social media; he has not yet received a response from Madrid.
Estamos en Comalcalco, vamos a Centla a conmemorar 500 años de la batalla de los españoles contra la resistencia de los mayas-chontales. pic.twitter.com/glYO0eAMtX— Andrés Manuel (@lopezobrador_) 25 de març de 2019
In a video commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Centla, López Obrador said he had asked them to "apologise to the original peoples for the violations to what today are known as human rights". He also denounced "killings, impositions" all carried out "with the sword and the cross".
The Spanish government reacted within minutes of the letter becoming public, "profoundly" regretting it and saying it "rejects with all firmness" the letter's contents. "The arrival, 500 years ago, of the Spanish in the current Mexican lands cannot be judged in the light of contemporary considerations," the government says.
The statements goes on to say that "our brother peoples have always known how to look at our shared past without anger and with a constructive perspective, as free people with a common inheritance and an extraordinary projection". They repeat their "willingness to work together" with Mexican authorities and to "continue building the appropriate framework to strengthen the existing relations of friendship and cooperation".