Mexican President Andrés Manuel López has written to Pope Francis apologizing for the role of the Church in the Spanish conquest 500 years ago.
The Church, the Spanish royals and the Spanish government must openly apologize for the atrocities committed against indigenous peoples after the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico in 1521, a letter said.
In 2021, it will be 500 years since present-day Mexico was conquered by the Spanish conquistadors led by Hernán Cortés and with the support of the Catholic Church.
In the letter to the Pope, the Mexican president also asks to lend out some documents on the occasion of that commemorative year. These include the Codex Borgia, a colorful Aztec manuscript, maps of the former Aztec capital Tenochtitlan and documents from the Nahua and the Toltecs.
The president’s wife, Beatriz Gutiérrez Müller, delivered the letter to the Pope during her visit to the Vatican Friday. On Saturday, the president shared the letter on Twitter, the same day the Mexico City administration had a statue of Christopher Columbus removed after protests.
The left-nationalist president López Obrador has established himself as a champion of the indigenous people. About 15 million of the 126 million Mexicans belong to indigenous peoples. Most of them live in poverty and have little access to education and health care.