Mexican President Calls on Spanish King and Pope to Apologize

Safa Hameed

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador called for the Pope and Spanish King Felipe VI to apologize for the wrongdoings committed on indigenous people during the Spanish Conquest 500 years ago.

Lopez Obrador penned letters to both the King and the Pope. Although the letters have not been released to the public, the President stated that the reason these letters were written was “…so that they [the King and the Pope] ask forgiveness of indigenous peoples for violations of what are now known as human rights.”

Lopez Obrador also released a video of him and the First Lady of Mexico at the Mayan ruins, near the state of Tabasco, that circulated on Facebook and Twitter. He explained more, saying “massacres” took place during the Spanish Conquest and that “The churches were built above the temples, our patriotic heroes were excommunicated.” He continued, declaring, “The so-called conquest was carried out with the sword and the cross.”

Lopez Obrador called for a “historic reconciliation” on the 500 year anniversary of the sacking of the capital of the Aztec Empire, near modern day Mexico City, called Tenochtitlan. Lopez Obrador noted that before reconciliation can be reached, an apology is at hand and that he too will apologize for the “…repression of the original peoples after colonization.”

Pope Francis has not commented yet, but previously, in 2015, he apologized for crimes committed by the Roman Catholic Church during the conquest of the Americas. Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell responded by saying, “Spain will not respond to this extemporaneous request. It is odd to now receive this request for an apology for events that occurred 500 years ago.” The Spanish government later released other statements that made clear they will put effort to work with the Mexican government in order to strengthen friendly relations.

The video that Lopez Obrador shared can be found below.