The request was made in a two-page letter asking the Vatican to temporarily return several ancient indigenous manuscripts held in its library, which preceded the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Mexico next year.
The letter, dated 2 October, but posted to President Andrew Manuel López Obredor’s Twitter page on Saturday, was the same day Mexico City officials decided to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus, which was threatened by the protesters.
The letter was delivered to the pope by López Obredor’s wife, Beatriz Gutierrez Müller, who met with him at the Vatican, on Friday with the Italian president, Sergio Mathew.
López Obredor said that the crown of Spain, Spain’s government and the Vatican should apologize to the Native people for the “most reprehensible atrocities” committed after the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1521.
“They deserve not only that generous attitude on our part, but also a sincere commitment that will never act outrageously against their acts and cultures.”
The Catholic Church played an important role as Spain colonized America and spread its empire, establishing missions to convert indigenous people to Christianity.
Lopez Obredor made a similar request last year in a letter to Spain’s King Felipe and the Pope, but the Spanish government rejected the petition outright.
The pope apologized in 2015 to Bolivia over the church’s role in persecution in Latin America during the Spanish colonial era.
In this month’s letter to the Vatican, López Obredor requested the return of three codes, including the Codex Borgia, a particularly colorful screen-folded book spread across dozens of pages that depict the gods and rituals of ancient Central Mexico.
It is one of the best-preserved examples of pre-conquest Aztec-style writings that exist after Catholic authorities in the colonial era, such codexes were dismissed as the work of the devil and hundreds of them over the decades Or ordered to burn thousands. 1521 Victory.
López Obredor requests to return the Vatican Codex Borgia, two other ancient codes, as well as a map of the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan for a one-year loan in 2021.
The nationalist president is planning several events to celebrate next year’s anniversary.
The Vatican has not yet responded to the request, but its museums and archives have excluded various manuscripts and artifacts of art following similar requests from other countries.
In Mexico City on Saturday, authorities removed a statue of Christopher Columbus two days earlier, as protesters planned to knock it out during events organized to commemorate American marines arriving in the US.
The Ministry of Culture said the statue was removed from Reforma Avenue at the request of city officials, stating that it had been taken for restoration.
Activist groups called “We Are It Knock Down” on Monday, October 12, 1492, to date Columbus’ arrival in America.
In Mexico, the date is celebrated as Dia de la Raza (Day of Race) in recognition of the country’s mixed indigenous and European heritage.
Mayor Claudia Shinbaum said the work could be completed after the statue was restored. “Perhaps it would be worth … representing a collective reflection on (Columbus), especially next year,” she said at a press conference.