If one was captive to violence, cannibalism, and human sacrifice, one would think that one would be thankful if one was rescued from it. However, it may not always be the case as according to recent statements from the Mexican government, the President has asked Spain to apologize for “human rights abuses” as part of the conquest of the Central American Nation:
Mexico’s president has sent a letter to Spain’s King Felipe VI and Pope Francis urging them to apologise for human rights abuses committed during the conquest of the region 500 years ago.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the indigenous peoples of Mexico had been the victims of massacres.
Speaking in the ruins of an ancient city, he called for a full account of the abuses.
Spain rejected his call and called for a “constructive perspective” instead.
The territory which now makes up Mexico was under Spanish rule for some 300 years before gaining independence in the early 19th Century.
At the time of the conquest, Spain was a fiercely Roman Catholic country and saw as its mission the spread of Christianity to regions such as the Americas.
Why does Mexico want an apology now?
The man who became Mexico’s first leftist president in seven decades has been pursuing a radical agenda since being sworn in in December, promising to tackle corruption, reduce inequality and lift millions of Mexicans out of poverty.
On Monday, he tweeted a video address from an archaeological site in Comacalco, Tabasco, where he is shown speaking alongside the First Lady, Beatriz Gutierrez.
“I have sent a letter to the Spanish king [Felipe VI] and another letter to the Pope so that the abuses can be acknowledged and an apology can be made to the indigenous peoples for the violations of what we now call human rights,” Mr López Obrador says.
“There were massacres… The so-called conquest was done with the sword and the cross. They raised churches on top of temples.”
“The time has come to reconcile but first they should ask forgiveness,” the president says.
Mexico has the world’s second biggest Roman Catholic population, after Brazil.
Just over a fifth of Mexicans consider themselves to be indigenous but studies suggest many more have some pre-Hispanic ancestry.
When Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez visited Mexico in January he presented President López Obrador with his grandfather José Obrador’s Spanish birth certificate, from 1893, AFP news agency reports.
What was the response?
The Mexican leader’s relations with Spain’s centre-left ruling party have been friendly but the government in Madrid promptly rejected his request for an apology.
“The arrival, 500 years ago, of Spaniards to present Mexican territory cannot be judged in the light of contemporary considerations,” the government said in a statement.
“Our two brother nations have always known how to read our shared past without anger and with a constructive perspective.”
There was no immediate comment from the Vatican but three years ago, on a visit to Mexico, Pope Francis asked indigenous people for forgiveness over the way they had been excluded from society.
“Some have considered your values, culture and traditions to be inferior. Others, intoxicated by power, money and market trends, have stolen your lands or contaminated them. How sad this is,” he said.
Now it is important to note that all peoples before Christianity were savages regardless of place. Certainly the Roman coliseums were not civilized places, and human sacrifice was common to much of Germanic and Slavic Europe before the missionaries came. The same can be said about the Americas, Mexico, and also Africa as the presence of Christianity and Christian missionaries is pushing against what have been ancient strongholds of paganism in those regions.
However, a man can also return to the same savagery if he rejects the Faith. This is being seen in Mexico today as while the nation has a rich history with the Church, has turned to various schisms, heresies, and increasingly paganism itself as a final end. The result has been the return of many of the same barbarisms which we have written about including human sacrifice and cannibalism.
Spain was right not to apologize at all, for saving a man from self-harm is nothing to apologize for. However, the very fact that Mexico, a nation which exists due to the Spanish arrival, would ask for such an “apology” is a denial of her history and a rejection of it and the faith which brought her into existence. It is the same attitude as that in Europe which has destroyed the nations and continues to do so.