To: Congressman David Bonilla
Re: Statue of Christopher Columbus
Date: August 19, 2011
From: The Undersigned
It has come to our attention that you are seeking to have a gigantic statue of Christopher Columbus erected on the island of Desecheo off the coast of Puerto Rico. We, the undersigned, believe this to be a gross error in judgment based on the history of the region.
Many people are unaware of the true legacy of Christopher Columbus. We are taught that he was a courageous sailor who set out to find a new route to India as well as gold and spices. Some people even think his dispelled the myth that the world was flat, although that had been disproved long before Columbus was born.
Columbus is given credit for ˜discovering America” although his exploration was mostly limited to the Caribbean islands.
Times were different then; Columbus was Catholic and the Catholic Church allowed for the enslavement of ˜heathens” and the taking of their land. Everyone knows that upon Columbus’ arrival in the New World, he was greeted by locals who brought him gifts and food. Who were these people? When Columbus got off his ship and was greeted by them, and then planted his flag, did they understand the significance of that act? Did Columbus ever stop to consider those lands weren’t vacant and available for the taking?
Did those people (the Taino) just lay down and allow Columbus and his crews to take/have their land, or when they realized Columbus’ intentions, did they fight to keep their ancestral homeland?
Columbus had written in his journal that the Taino were strong, well-built people and that with his weapons and 50 men he could enslave the entire population. His intention was always to take the land by force. In the journal that Columbus meticulously kept, he mentions gold repeatedly always asking the locals where it can be found and bragging when he traded worthless little items such as beads and bells for gold.
If you knew the history of Columbus in the islands you would know that his ship, the famous Santa Maria, crashed on Christmas Day in 1492. The Taino helped him retrieve his goods and all the wood used in the construction of the ship, which was later used to build a fort, La Navidad, on the island now known as Hispaniola. Columbus went back to Spain, told of his great discovery and returned with 17 ships, armed men, cannons and livestock with the intention of colonizing the island and looking for gold.
The Taino resisted and the two groups fought, one to keep their ancestral homeland and culture, the other to conquer and profit.
The methods used to conquer the Taino were atrocious. A few examples of Columbus' legacy follows - The Taino were tortured, starved and worked to death. They were killed in the most horrific ways; cut in half with swords, hung in groups of 13 representing the Savior and the Apostles, roasted alive over fires, while others were chased down by starved attack dogs that were trained to brutally kill. Babies were ripped from the arms of their mothers and their heads bashed on rocks and many of our women and young children were viciously raped and murdered. Columbus forced the Taino to mine for gold for him. Those who refused were killed; those who did not meet their quotas had their hands cut off and were left to bleed to death. When Columbus failed to meet his financial goals, he took shiploads of Taino back to Seville, Spain to be sold at the slave market for profit. Many Taino died on those voyages and their bodies were thrown overboard. The scribes of the time said it was possible to find your way to the New World by following the trail of bodies in the ocean. Columbus was the very first slave trader in the Americas.
Millions died as greed and brutality brought slavery, death and destruction to the Taino people.
Columbus was eventually arrested on his 3rd voyage and returned to Spain in chains for being a ˜poor governor” of the island.
Sadly, many people don’t know the truth about Columbus although it is there if you look, and the myth continues that he was some kind of hero. Worldwide there is only one person with more statues than Columbus and that is Jesus Christ. But, times are changing and seventeen US states no longer celebrate Columbus Day. It is the only disputed federal holiday. There will be a day when it is no longer a holiday.
A study done at the University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez showed that 61% of all Puerto Rican people have indigenous mtdna. What kind of ”Indio” blood do you think that is? Taino, of course. Now that you know the truth about the history of Columbus and the effect it had on the original inhabitants of the island whose DNA still runs in the bloodlines of 61% of the population, can you still justify putting up a statue to honor a man who was a greedy, land-stealing, murderer?
“This is the voice of the Indigenous people of the Caribbean islands appealing to you that this man is not worthy of the honor of having a statue placed in our homeland. Would the Nation of Israel erect a statue to Hitler in Jerusalem? Please do not dishonor our beautiful Caribbean homeland with this symbol of our Indigenous Holocaust.” - Anonymous
Please, we beg you Congressman Bonilla, to be on the right side of history. Bomatum, Thank you for taking the time to hear our voice.