La Jornada: Borrell: romanticizing the genocide

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in his speech before the European-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly (Eurolat), the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, affirmed It is not that Latin America needs Europe or vice versa; is that we need each other and, like a good couple, the relationship of mutual dependence is beneficial to both.

This declaration of good intentions was marred because the head of European diplomacy chose an analogy between unfortunate and frankly offensive to illustrate the delicate moment the world is going through, and the need to strengthen ties between both sides of the Atlantic. After describing the scenario created by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine as a Perfect stormthe Catalan affirmed that to navigate it The routes and maps of the past no longer serve us: like the discoverers and conquerors, we have to invent a new world.

Beyond the irony of rejecting the routes and maps of the past to then postulate individuals who lived five centuries ago as an example to follow, the choice of words by the vice-president of the European Union was unheard of clumsiness, given the Audience to which he was addressing: the representatives of the countries whose territories were subjugated and plundered by those conquerors. In a deeper sense, it reflects the disturbing phenomenon that to this day a large part of the Spanish political class and society continue to claim as glorious past the systematic aggression of the Spanish empire against the peoples that before 1492 inhabited from the Californias to Patagonia.

It is necessary to emphasize it: discoverers and conquerors do not they invented a new world: they perpetrated one of the bloodiest genocides in human history, in the course of which they exterminated around 90 percent of the original inhabitants of what is now Latin America and the Caribbean. In cases like the Bahamas, the greed and sadism of the conquerors did not leave a single indigenous person alive to receive the supposed benefits of civilization. The conquistadors and their successors did not hesitate to use the most extreme forms of violence in their attempt to erase all vestiges of American cultures; something that fortunately they did not achieve, since the will of the indigenous peoples to preserve their knowledge and traditions was and continues to be of admirable tenacity.

Unfortunately, the racist and supremacist vision that justifies these horrors in the name of what the Hispanic right-wing considers a greater good (the implantation of European culture), not only finds spokespersons in Spain, but also in our nations. This was demonstrated by the embarrassing reception given in September 2021 by National Action senators to the fascist leader Santiago Abascal, leader of Vox, who likes to make public appearances wearing a morion, a helmet used by Hispanic soldiers during the 16th and 17th centuries.

Eliminating these neocolonial logics has an importance that goes beyond the rhetorical field or what could be considered simple political correctness and diplomatic tact. In his address, Borrell presumed that European companies have invested more in Latin American economies than in China, India, Japan and Russia togetherbut omitted that not infrequently these corporate incursions take the form of a systematic looting of natural resources and an undermining of national sovereignties, scourges that can only be overcome when politicians, businessmen and citizens of the old world stop seeing the new as territory of conquest, and desist from romanticizing a period of extreme violence against the peoples of America.


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