Exiled Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has told the Mexican newspaper La Jornada that Spain's refusal to contemplate making any apology to the indigenous peoples of the Americas for colonial-era abuses is "atrocious and shocking." The request for an apology was made last month by the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in a letter sent to Spain's king Felipe VI that proposed a shared historical reconciliation process.
"There is a direct responsibility," said Puigdemont, referring to the legacy of Spanish colonialism. "There is a historical heritage, material and immaterial, which was trampled on. To give back dignity to many peoples who have been persecuted or annihilated, I believe that this obligation is inescapable. I don't like the arrogance of Spain's reaction to this, because I think it was a very sincere, very mutual proposal. It wasn't simply saying 'you have to apologise and that's all, and it must be you'. It's about shared responsibility," he told the Mexican daily.
"It's also an ethical lesson for the future. What should we use as the basis for our future relationships with different communities? Acts of violence? Acts of genocide? Acts of annihilation, domination or colonization? Or do we want to rebuild the basis of our relationships? I think it has to be this. And to do so, we have to improve in some subjects that we've failed in. And not just Spain, we all have responsibilities in this," he added.
The Catalan president was harshly critical of the Spanish attitude. "It pains me that Spain finds it so very difficult to leave behind this imperialist arrogance, and that there are voices in Spanish politics that remind me of when I was a child studying in a Franco-era school and they talked about this mythology of conquest, redemption and evangelization as a magical thing, when it was actually a shocking thing. There is no doubt about what Spain should be doing here, "he said.
#VideosLaJornada Sobre la petición "sincera y honesta" de @lopezobrador_ a la corona de España, de pedir perdón a los pueblos indpígenas, Puigdemont @KRLS señala que fue "horrible, espantosa" la respuesta del Estado español.— La Jornada (@lajornadaonline) 13 d’abril de 2019
Más información → https://t.co/UgtcaNNrvB pic.twitter.com/JX7adFoznP
"#VideosLaJornada: With regard to President Lopez Obrador's "sincere and honest" request to the Spanish crown, for it to make an apology to the indigenous peoples, Puigdemont says that the response of the Spanish state was 'atrocious, shocking'."— La Jornada
Bosch talks about genocide in the Americas
Meanwhile, Catalan foreign minister Alfred Bosch has also written an opinion piece in the same newspaper, in which he suggests that Spanish minister Borrell should read the account by 16th-century friar Bartolomé de las Casas on the colonial slaughter of the Templo Mayor. "And they begin with their naked swords to open those naked and delicate bodies and to shed that generous blood," quotes Bosch. And he adds "The conquerors, after authorizing a Mexican religious holiday in Tenochtitlan, closed all the exits of the temple, causing the death of innumerable people."
"The genocide against the indigenous populations of the Americas was probably the greatest atrocity of history in demographic terms," says Alfred Bosch. In the article, entitled "Democracy is being able to look back at the past", Bosch recalls that the minister Borrell recently asserted that "the image of Spain's colonialism in the Americas is based on a black legend and fake news, and he went as far as to describe the Spanish conquest as a civil war between indigenous peoples."
The Catalan foreign minister concludes: "The ability to accept our own mistakes, as distant as they may seem, allows us to focus on the future in a different way. Let's do it."