Mexico Apologizes to the Native Maya
On Monday, the Mexican government officially apologized to the indigenous Maya people for the “terrible crimes” committed against them in the centuries since the Spanish conquest.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s apology is part of a series of events this year commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest and the bicentennial of Mexican independence.
“We offer the most sincere apologies to the Maya people for the horrific crimes committed by individuals and national and foreign authorities during the conquest, during three centuries of colonial rule and two centuries of an independent Mexico,” said López Obrador.
He was joined at the ceremony in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo by the President of Guatemala, Alejandro Giammattei. In particular, López Obrador referred to the caste war of 1847-1901, an indigenous uprising that killed about 250,000 people. His government also recognized the racism and neglect that the ethnic minority continues to face.
“We apologize to the Mayan people of Mexico for the injustice done to them throughout history and for the discrimination they continue to suffer today,” said Interior Minister Olga Sánchez Cordero.
Giammattei, whose country has a sizeable Maya population, said slavery and war had been replaced by other problems, such as violence and migration. “We are still facing the loss of life – now as a result of organized crime, malnutrition and the search for opportunities that so many faraway people are looking for,” he said.
During the ceremony, protests could be heard from residents opposing Lopez Obrador’s ‘Maya Train’ project to connect Caribbean resorts with ancient archaeological sites. Critics of the railway say it will harm the environment and indigenous communities.
The great empire of the Maya stretched from several hundred years BC to circa 900 AD across Central America and Mexico.