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CUP wants Columbus statue in Barcelona to be removed

The representatives of pro-independence radical left CUP in Barcelona’s City Hall, CUP-Capgirem Barcelona, will ask for the removal of the iconic statue of Christopher Columbus, located at the end of the Rambla street, close to Barcelona’s port. They feel that the 60-metre-high monument, which was installed in the Catalan capital in 1888 to coincide with the Universal Exposition, “praises the conquest of America”. The three representatives from CUP-Capgirem Barcelona will suggest changing the Columbus monument for a memorial to the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the slaves brought to that continent, and their resistance in the face of “imperialism, oppression and segregation”. Liberal ‘Convergència’ have already opposed the removal of the monument and left wing pro-independence ERC said they will study CUP-Capgirem’s proposal, which will be discussed during a plenary session this Friday.

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27 September 2016 07:33 PM

by

ACN

Barcelona (CNA).- The statue of Columbus, one of Barcelona's most iconic monuments, has provoked controversy amongst the parties represented in the Catalan capital. CUP-Capgirem Barcelona, the branch of pro-independence radical left CUP in Barcelona’s City Hall, feels that the monument “praises the conquest of America” and will therefore call for its removal. The three representatives from this party suggest replacing the monument with a memorial to the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the slaves brought to that continent, and their resistance in the face of “imperialism, oppression and segregation”. Liberal ‘Convergència’ have already opposed the removal of the monument and left wing pro-independence ERC said they will study CUP-Capgirem’s proposal, which will be discussed on Friday. The 60-metre-high monumental structure also includes a statue of slave trader Antonio López, Marquis of Comillas, was installed in the Catalan capital in 1888 to coincide with the Universal Exposition and was awarded the gold medal during the event.

 


CUP-Capgirem Barcelona’s representatives, Maria José Lecha, Maria Rovira and Josep Garganté, aim to put the proposal to vote before the 12th of October, Spain's National Day. Indeed, they also want this day to be made a working day rather than a holiday in Catalonia. CUP-Capgirem Barcelona’s proposal also includes demanding that the Spanish Ministry of Home Affairs remove all Spanish flags and monarchic symbols from local buildings, as well as the prohibition of fascist demonstrations in the Catalan capital.

Regarding the Columbus statue and the other elements of the monument, the representatives propose to move them into a museum to help “an understanding of the history”.

A proposal with little support

The branch of liberal ‘Convergència’ in Barcelona’s City Hall has already opposed the proposal. According to Councillor Joaquim Forn, “the city has other problems to face at the moment” such as “the raising of rents and unemployment” and described the proposal as “frivolous”.

In a similar sense, Spanish unionist ‘Ciutadans’ refused to support the proposal and accused CUP of “mixing up changes with nonsense”.

On the other hand, left wing ERC backed the proposal to take down the Marquis of Comillas statue but suggested that CUP hand in “a serious and rigorous proposal, with historic and patrimonial criteria” regarding that of Columbus. In this vein, ERC’s Jordi Coronas emphasised that the Columbus statue belongs to a monumental ensemble which includes Barcelona’s Triumphal Arch and Ciutadella Park, which were all built within the framework of the Universal Exposition in 1888. “Removing the monument and installing another one instead is simply not correct” said Coronas and added that “there is no social pressure” nor any “study which endorses it from a historical or patrimonial perspective”.

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  • Silhouette of Columbus statue, in Barcelona (by ACN)

  • Silhouette of Columbus statue, in Barcelona (by ACN)