The former president of the Government José María Aznar has followed in the wake of the president of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, in his criticism of the Pope for his words about Mexico. Aznar considers, like Ayuso, that Spain does not have to apologize for the excesses of the conquest, and also maintains that “indigenism is the new communism.” From that premise, the former president of the PP, the party that governs the Community of Madrid thanks to the vote of the extreme right of Vox, has mocked the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who has asked forgiveness from different indigenous communities on the occasion of the bicentennial of Mexican independence. “With all due respect”, Aznar started at the PP national convention held in Seville, “the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s independence has been fulfilled, congratulations. But you, what is your name? ”, Has rhetorically questioned the Latin American president. “Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Andrés on the part of the Aztecs, Manuel on the part of the Mayans, López is a mixture of Aztecs and Mayans … And Obrador, from Santander ”, Aznar ironized, to the applause of the attendees.
Aznar has continued to confront López Obrador with his words. “Man, it is that if some things had not happened, you would not be there, nor could you be called what it is called, nor could you have been baptized, nor could the evangelization of America have occurred.” The former president has questioned that the Spanish government of Pedro Sánchez has not responded to López Obrador and has stressed that “indigenism can only go against Spain, not against the United States.”
Aznar’s words follow the path opened by Isabel Díaz Ayuso, who charged this Tuesday from Washington against the words that Pope Francis addressed the day before the Episcopal Conference of Mexico on the occasion of the bicentennial of independence. The Madrid president said on her first day of visiting the US capital that she is “surprised” that the Pontiff, “a Catholic who speaks Spanish”, reflected by letter on the “sins” committed by the Catholic Church during the Spanish conquest. The former Spanish president has avoided citing the Pope, but has stressed that he was not going to “apologize” for anything.
Aznar’s statements come as Mexico celebrates the bicentennial anniversary of its independence this year and commemorates 500 years since the fall of Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Mexica empire. López Obrador, who came to power in December 2018, has insisted that Spain must apologize for the excesses committed during the conquest, a request that has caused controversy and diplomatic friction that so far have not escalated. A spokesman for the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations has told EL PAÍS that a diplomatic response to the former Spanish president was ruled out for the time being, because he is not a “government actor.”
In March 2019, López Obrador sent a letter to Felipe VI to “definitively overcome the disagreements, resentments, guilt and reproaches that history has placed between the peoples of Spain and Mexico, without ignoring or omitting the illegalities and the crimes that caused them ”. The Spanish Crown responded that it regretted “deeply” and rejected “firmly” the arguments of the Mexican president.
“We do not rule out that there is on the part of the Spanish Government, the Monarchy, a change of attitude and that with humility an apology is offered, a pardon, thinking of leaving that confrontation behind and joining forces and looking forward,” López Obrador said in September last year, a year and a half after the letter was sent. The issue has resurfaced intermittently in the media of both countries, with the commemorations in the Latin American country as a backdrop.
More recently, in July, the Mexican president regretted that the Spanish State did not have “the delicacy” or “the humility” to answer his request for an apology, despite the fact that the Royal House made its response public at the time through a release. López Obrador has dedicated several public events throughout this year with representatives of indigenous communities to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the Mexican State. “We offer forgiveness to the victims of the catastrophe caused by the Spanish military occupation of Mesoamerica and the rest of the territory of the current Mexican Republic,” he said last August.
In the same act, the Spanish-Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa also referred to Latin America. “Latin Americans will come out of the crisis when they discover that they have voted badly. The important thing about an election is not that there is freedom in those elections, but to vote well. Countries that vote badly pay dearly ”, he pointed out.