Mexico City to replace Christopher Columbus statue with one of indigenous woman

A statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus situated in a prominent position in Mexico City is to be replaced with one of an indigenous woman.

The capital’s mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, said the 19th-century bronze structure would be placed in a new location.

It was taken down from the Paseo de la Reforma boulevard last year for restoration work ahead of an annual protest.

The statue’s former position will be dedicated to a monument that delivers “social justice” regarding the historic role of women in Mexico, particularly those of indigenous origin, Ms Sheinbaum said.

“Of course we recognize Columbus. But there are two visions,” Ms Sheinbaum said, adding that one of these was the European vision of the “discovery of America,” even though civilisations had existed for centuries in Mexico.

“And there’s 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,” she said.

The Columbus statue will be relocated to a “worthy” place in the city, the mayor said.

The Mexican government removed the statue last year ahead of an annual protest which marks the explorer’s arrival in the Americas in 1492.

Columbus, along with statues of four Catholic friars, had towered over one of the main traffic circles in Mexico City for decades.

At the time, authorities said the statue was removed for restoration work and to allow reflection about Columbus’s legacy.

Mexico does not recognise 12 October as Columbus Day and instead uses it to celebrate the nation’s indigenous cultures.

Several statues of Columbus, whose Spanish-funded expeditions from the 1490s onward opened the way for the European conquest of the Americas, were also removed from US cities.

It followed the Black Lives Matter protests and the worldwide re-examination of the colonial era and the legacy of slavery.

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