A few months ago President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced she was going to have a historic Christopher Columbus statue removed from the Casa Rosada gardens (aka Parque Colón) and replace it with a statue of Juana Azurduy, someone you had never heard of before ( and no, that street in Nuñez doesn’t count).
At the time everyone applauded because poor Columbus (in Spanish, Cristobal Colón) has been getting a bad rap in the last few years in Latin America due to the whole “indiscriminate mass killings and systematic extermination of the indigenous populations all over the continent” thing. So while in the 80’s kids in school engaged in long debates about whether he had been born in Spain or Italy, in the 10’s (“the tens,” ugh) teenagers like to discuss about whether he was the face of Latin American ethnic cleansing or not.
Cristina, as many others in the country, has already made up her mind. And while she certainly cannot erase him from history, she’s decided to send him far, far away (Mar del Plata) where he cannot inconvenience us. Like in family reunions, when you seat as far away as possible from that distant uncle of yours whose eyes seem to be gleaming with lust every time you make eye contact.
Yesterday, according to the local media, the National Government decided it was time to remove that statue, and as bulldozers, tanks and two cranes showed up to finish the work, the PRO party activists came to save the day.
As expected, City officials and PRO party militants began struggling with Casa Rosada security agents who told them they were not allowed in the premises, as members of the Metropolitan and the Federal police just stood there, as they usually do.
City government officials told Infobae that the Columbus monument and the Parque Colón, located behind the Casa Rosada “belong to the City, which means that the National Government cannot make any changes.”
Diego Santilli, the City’s Minister of Environment and Public Space said that the National Government’s attempt to move the monument “without authorization is like robbing a part of the city’s heritage.” The City Legislature coincidentally passed a new bill two days ago saying that placing or removing a monument in the City’s public space will require the Legislature’s approval first.
PRO party lawmaker Lía Rueda headed to the Casa Rosada with other government officials to sort out this mess, but according to Infabe, no one knew what they were talking about:
In the Casa Rosada, Rueda was met by Alicia Alonso, who identified herself as the person responsible for restoration works, and assured her that the cranes were there just to ‘fix’ the statue. Rueda also said Alonso assured ‘she had no knowledge of any plans to have the statue removed’.
Oh. Well, that’s awkward. So the statue stays?
How do we write history? Better yet, how do we rewrite history? Is history written by those who come out victorious after an armed conflict? A cultural transfiguration? It would appear such deeply philosophical questions are not important anymore. Because it seems that not only we live in a time in which we need to choose between two extremely polarized realities, now we need to choose between two antagonizing versions of history as well.
Wow, that was deep! I’m so smart.
(Story via Infobae, Photo/Wikipedia)