82.4 F
Mérida
Thursday, May 26, 2022
###

Mérida’s monument to the Montejo, an icon of history or bigotry?

Latest headlines

Scientists warn some types of sargassum could impact on human health

Large amounts of sargassum are now washing a shore in locations previously relatively untouched by the algae, such as the theme...

The sights, sounds, and flavors of vibrant Chinatown in CDMX

Mexico City’s Chinatown is crowded, frenzied, and chaotic — but in an oddly great sort of way.

Mérida, but not the Caribbean resorts, named in Airbnb survey

Mérida Yucatán is one of the oldest cities on the American continent and boasts the oldest cathedral on the continent’s mainland....

Yucatán goes from 0 to 78 daily COVID cases in 6 weeks

The Yucatán health ministry reported 78 new COVID infections, the highest number of daily new cases since March.
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
The Montejos are regarded as ruthless mercenaries and murderers by some, and virtuous explorers and evangelizers by others. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

A statue of Christopher Columbus that stood in México City’s bustling Paseo de Reforma since 1877 is there no more. 

For now, only a pedestal remains, but not for long. 

Columbus is both criticized for his alleged brutality and initiating the depopulation of the indigenous Americans, whether by disease or intentional genocide. Photo: Courtesy

“In place of the statue of Columbus, the city will be installing a monument to honor the indigenous women of the Americas,” said Mexico City’s head of government, Claudia Sheinbaum during a press conference observing the International Day of Indigenous women, celebrated on Sept. 5.

The removal of the statue of the Genovese explorer echoes similar moves by other city and state governments, including the removal of other effigies of Columbus himself, as well as controversial confederate civil war figures in the United States.

Just over a decade ago, a statue of Francisco de Montejo, known as El Adelantado (the one that came first) and his son, Francisco de Montejo, el Mozo were erected on Mérida’s Remate, the starting point of Avenida Paseo de Montejo.

In 1939, then Gov. of Yucatán Humberto Canto Echeverrìa atemmpted to rename Mérida’s Paseo de Montejo to Paseo de Nachi Cocom, in honor of Mayan rebel fighter  — but the name change never managed to stick. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

As soon as the statues of the two Conquistadors went up, demands for them to be toppled began. 

Those defending the statues argued that the Montejos are part of Yucatán’s history. But given that the statues only went up in 2010, it is difficult for many to parse through the logic of further honoring these Conquistadors when so many homages to their name already exist in the city and their legacy is increasingly scrutinized. This is especially true in the current context of a growing awareness of the evils of colonialism and racism. 

“It is not true that the Montejos are our founders. What they did do was show up cross in hand to destroy Ichcanzihó and butcher its men, women, and children in the name of civilization,” said activist Artemio Kaamal Hernández back in 2010.

At the time several groups threatened to remove the statues themselves if the city government did not do so before. Though the statue of the pair still remains, it has been vandalized on several occasions, most recently this year during a protest held on international women’s day. 

Among the messages spray-painted onto the monument was the phrase “Mérida no es blanca,” calling on the double meaning of Mérida’s nickname, the white city. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Given its location, the statue of the Montejo is Mérida’s most controversial monument, but many others depicting persons or events of dubious moral character are spread throughout the city.

Monument dedicated to the “Heros of the Caste War” erected in 1883 in Eulogio Rosado park, named after one of the most celebrated generals of said war.  Only time will tell if these monuments will remain, but it is certain that debates about the legacy of colonialism and the Conquista will outlive us all. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
- Advertisement -

Subscribe Now!

More articles

New augmented reality app tells the story of Mérida’s iconic corner plaques

Mérida´s municipal government is launching a new mobile phone application to tell the story of the city’s iconic Centro corner plaques.

Tortas in the Park: Family carries on the tradition for 63 years 

Taqueria Don Beto in Parque Las Américas. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht Strolling through charming Parque de...

Kankí, the Maya city where the stone eyes of ancient gods burn as hot as the sun

Kankí may be only 10 miles or so from the Mérida-Campeche highway, but feels a world away.

La Plancha park project moves forward with a huge budget

Government officials announced an agreement to make the La Plancha land 100% parkland. Photo: Contributed The park that...

Court sets limits for ‘racist’ immigration checkpoints in Mexico

Mexican soldiers review documents at a Zacatecas checkpoint in March. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP via Getty Images

You won’t miss the meat or dairy in these recipes from Yucatán

Vegan, vegetarian and plant-based lifestyles are easy to enjoy, despite living in meat-centric Yucatán.  Now that we’ve listed our...

Yucatán COVID patient 1st to die in 49 days

Coronavirus cases rose steadily in a week that ended with Yucatán's first COVID fatality since April 2. A...

Expats in Mexico face impossible deadline to comply with new tax law

Taxpayers in Mérida wait for their numbers to be called at the SAT office. Photo: File A tax...

What is the Loop Current and how does it affect hurricanes on the Yucatán Peninsula?

A current of warm tropical water is looping unusually far into the Gulf of Mexico for this time of year, with the power to turn tropical storms into monster hurricanes.

Izamal revamps its infrastructure while seeking investment

A walking tour of Izamal includes Mayor Warnel May Escobar and Yucatán Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal. Photo: Courtesy