Native Americans cut down statue of Spanish conquistador Belalcazar

The conquistador “was one of the main people responsible for the servitude and extermination of indigenous peoples and African slaves in the region,” they said.

An equestrian statue representing the Spanish conquistador Sebastian de Belalcazar was shot down with ropes on Wednesday September 16 in Popayan (Colombia) by a group of Colombian Amerindians. According to them, the conquistador “was one of the main culprits for the servitude and extermination of indigenous peoples and African slaves in the region”.

“By the force of the people we succeeded in overthrowing it, to symbolically record the rejection of the extermination of peoples”, said a representative of the Native American people of Misak. Indigenous peoples have long waged a struggle to reclaim land in the southwest of the country.

The mayor of Popayan, a city founded by Belalcazar, denounced a “violent act against a symbol of a city which is multicultural”. The statue of Sebastian de Belalcazar, who also laid the foundations for the cities of Quito and Guayaquil in neighboring Ecuador, was built in 1937.

The demonstration was reminiscent of recent images of statues of personalities slavers or colonizers brought to the ground in particular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Belgium or Martinique, in the wake of the protests provoked by the death of a African-American, George Floyd, under the knee of a white policeman in Minneapolis (United States) at the end of May.

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