Whitey, go home! (Kicking oneself in the shins)In case you missed this (from WEEKLY NEWS UPDATE ON THE AMERICAS, ISSUE #768, OCTOBER 17, 2004, NICARAGUA SOLIDARITY NETWORK OF GREATER NEW YORK, 339 LAFAYETTE ST., NEW YORK, NY 10012, (212) 674-9499
VENEZUELA: COLUMBUS STATUE TRASHEDIt's really too late for Guaicaipuro. Venezuela is partly Amerindian, and to a larger part African, but most of all it is Spanish. It has developed the only history it has as a nation, since the first explorers nicknamed it's lake-dwellings "Venezuela" ("Little Venice"), in Spanish. Trashing the statue can't hurt Columbus, but it can hurt Venezuelans if it means attacking part of who they are.
In Caracas, Venezuela, demonstrators pulled down a 100-year old bronze statue of Christopher Columbus and dragged it through the streets to protest the Oct. 12 commemoration of Columbus' 1492 arrival in the Americas, which they described as the start of the biggest genocide in history against the continent's indigenous peoples. Caracas police recovered the pieces of the statue and arrested five people in connection with the incident. Earlier, President Hugo Chavez Frias had presided over an official event paying homage to indigenous chief Guaicapuro for his resistance to the Spanish invaders. The leftist Venezuelan government marks Oct. 12 as a day of indigenous resistance. [La Jornada (Mexico) 10/13/04 from Reuters, AFP, DPA; El Diario-La Prensa 10/13/04 from AP] In an Oct. 14 statement read by Chavez's minister of communication and information, Andres Izarra, the government condemned the trashing of the statue. The Chavez government "decidedly and totally rejects anarchy and any action of vandalism which attacks national heritage," according to the statement. [Communication and Information Ministry (MINCI) Press Release 10/14/04 via Colombia Indymedia]