June 15, 2021

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Protesters ask to remove the statues of Christopher Columbus and Ponce de León in San Juan

A group of protesters asked this Saturday to remove the statues of the conquistadors Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de León in San Juan, for extolling characters who, they said, represent colonial slavery.

Several dozen people, some dressed in indigenous clothing, carried out a protest march that ended in the old town of Old San Juan, where before the two statues they demanded the removal of the monuments.

The Boriken Council for the Defense of Indigenous Rights led the call for a march that took place between the Capitol and the historic center of the Puerto Rican capital, where the two statues are located.

Dozens of people performed Taíno dances and chants – the indigenous people who populated Puerto Rico before the arrival of the Spanish-, before hearing the arguments of some of the leaders of the group, who asked for the removal of the statues. [19659002] The protesters made it clear that they will not act with violence and that legal channels will be used to ensure that these statues disappear from San Juan, although the objective is for the nearly twenty of Columbus that are scattered throughout Puerto Rico to withdraw.

One of the protesters explained that Columbus, according to his version, was a pedophile, genocide and a “nebulous” person, in addition to assuring that he was a false discoverer and that in Puerto Rico, upon the arrival of the Spanish, there was a native language and culture.

Pluma Bárbara Moreno, representative of the Council in Defense of Indigenous Rights of Boriken, pointed out that statues such as that of Columbus represent the “greatest crime of humanity.”

“They are invaders, not conquerors,” said Moreno, for whom history has until now been used as “a colonial tool.”

Protesters carried banners with phrases like “No to the statues of Colombus and Ponce de León, enough of colonial slavery.”

The statue of Colombus is located in the plaza of the same name and that of Ponce de León in Plaza San José.

The petition of the protesters is directed to the monuments to be removed or demolished because they constitute symbols of colonial oppression.

The list of convening organizations included the Jíbaro Boricua Movement, the National Sovereign State of Borikén, Jornada of Resistance for Dignity Boricua, and Taino Brotherhood, among many others.

The movement “Black Lives Matter”, promoted in the United States after the death of a black citizen in Minneapolis at the hands of a white police officer, has led to the destruction of symbols considered racist as statues of Confederate personalities or of American historical figures who defended slavery.

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