Argentina replaces Columbus statue with indigenous freedom fighter

Source:  Mercopress, TeleSUR
July 16 2015

The presidents of Argentina and Bolivia have unveiled a statue of Bolivian war of independence heroine Juana Azurduy. The 25-ton, 16-meter-high statue replaces a controversial statue of Christopher Columbus that was taken down in 2013 after ninety years.

juana azurdy

The fallen statue of Columbus

The fallen statue of Columbus

A gift from Bolivia

The present from Bolivia was unveiled Wednesday behind Argentina’s presidential palace during an official visit by Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Juana Azurduy was an outstanding South American guerrilla military leader and critical figure in the South American struggle for independence while, to many, the arrival of Columbus in Latin America and the Caribbean heralded the beginning of genocide in the “New World”.

Festivities throughout the week will celebrate the monument’s inauguration as a symbol of “Patria Grande,” a term that roughly translates as “Big Homeland,” used in Latin America to refer to the integration process in the region.

The statue, which will be Argetina’s largest once officially revealed, was made by sculptor Andres Zerneri, who began working on the statue three years ago with the help of a team of 45 assistants. Zerneri said Azurduy led battles that were fundamental for South American independence and her legacy is part of the longstanding regional defense of Patria Grande. “Juana Azurduy statue will be the largest in Argentina.”

The Argentine and Bolivian leaders also signed border security and trade agreements, and praised the work carried out in both countries to reduce inequality and promote social inclusion.


Inclusion saves the most vulnerable and strengthens the internal market

“The inclusion process does not only save those most vulnerable, although that is the key to that process,” the Argentine leader explained next to Morales.

“Millions of people have been included as consumers and that also benefits small businesses which have been able to expand their commerce because there is a solid internal market.”

Cristina Fernandez underlined that the two countries “should not just see each other as clients, but also partners, that is the key to our closer relationship and integration”.

The president also thanked Morales for visiting Argentina and for donating the monument to Azurduy, and asked him to consolidate trade relations between the nation and Bolivia “so that ”resources stay in the region and feed our countries”.


2 thoughts on “Argentina replaces Columbus statue with indigenous freedom fighter

  1. The very long process of decolonization requires not only the political, economic and psychological empowerment of those who have been marginalized and dispossessed by colonialism but it also must necessarily include the cultural and ideological liberation of the colonized.

    In this context, the recent symbolic act of the government of Argentina to replace the statute of Christopher Columbus, the Spanish pirate and mass murderer of millions of indigenous peoples in Argentina and other Latin American countries by the statute of the indigenous guerrilla fighter Juana Azurduy represents a distinct act of cultural liberation.

    Juana Azurduy represents someone who fought for the freedom of indigenous peoples across Latin America whereas Christopher Columbus represents someone who fought for genocide and colonialism. Azurduy represents the cultural liberation of her people under the assault of Spainish colonialism whereas Columbus represents the cultural death of her people and the implantation of Spanish cultural domination.

    The latter necessarily meant the extinction of the very way of life of Azurduy’s people and the forced establishment of the way of life of Columbus’ people or perhaps more specifically the Spanish colonizers over the lives of Azurduy’s people. That is precisely what is meant by cultural imperialism, the process of eradication of the cultural expressions of a people including their language for the colonizers’ language, their foods for the colonizers’ foods, their mode of dressing, religion, music and other cultural expressions for the colonizers’. That is exactly what Christopher Columbus represented and still represents in Argentina, the rest of Latin Anerica and the Caribbean and that is exactly what our great fighter, Juana Azurduy opposed and still opposes in Argentina, Latin America and the Caribbean.

    Simply put Christopher Columbus was and is a representative and spiritual enforcer of cultural imperialism and Juana Azurduy was and is an anti-imperialist fighter for cultural liberation of indigenous peoples across the region.

    Evidently Christopher Columbus’ statute represents the dispossession, genocide and the cultural extinction of indigenous peoples across the region and as such the removal of the former’s statute and its replacement by the latter’s was not only justified but also required in the long process of decolonization. That is what cultural decolonization looks like but what it also requires to emancipate the minds of colonized peoples from mental slavery.

    Finally, the action of President Christina Fernandez to replace the statute of a Christopher Columbus, a mass murderer with the statute of Juana Azurduy, a guerrilla fighter who fought to end the mass murder of her people should be replicated all across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and everywhere criminals like Christopher Columbus, Cecil Rhodes (of Rhodes Scholarship notoriety), Marco Polo and so many more have enslaved, dehumanized and murdered millions of human beings.

    In this regards, the ongoing debate in the US to remove all the symbols of the confederacy including the flag in the wake of the murder of nine black Christians in their church by a white terrorist is necessarily an integral element of the same broader global struggles to decolonize minds from mental slavery which is precisely what colonialism and its thugs like Columbus and Rhodes is all about.

    That Juana Azurduy’s statute as a freedom fighter is the largest in Argentina is a great political statement by the Argentine president, government and people that must be replicated and celebrated across the globe where not one colonial statute or monument should be left standing. These colonial symbols should all be replaced without exception by our leaders and heroes who fought for our freedom against colonialism.

    However, perhaps more important than removing the statutes and monuments of pirates, slaveowners, murderers and criminals must always and necessarily include the liberation of our minds from colonial slavery. If the former is not complemented by the latter it will be useless to the deepening and broadening of the global anti-colonial and anti-imperialist revolution.

    Peace if you are willing to fight for it!

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