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Mexico has officially apologised to its indigenous Mayan populations for atrocities committed against them over the last five centuries.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador apologised to the Mayans for the abuses they faced in the aftermath of the Spanish conquest. Obrador was speaking at an event which was also attended by Guatemalan leader Alejandro Giammattei in the state of Quintana Roo.
“We offer the most sincere apologies to the Mayan people for the terrible abuses committed by individuals and national and foreign authorities in the conquest, during three centuries of colonial domination and two centuries of an independent Mexico,” BBC quoted Obrador as saying.
The president made references to the Caste War revolt which took place between 1847-1901. It is estimated that 250,000 people died in this revolt. The timing though doesn’t sit right with many critics, for Mexico is set to hold legislative and municipal elections very soon.
Giammattei pitched in to suggest that Mayans continue to face abuses even now. “We have managed as a region to overcome aspects such as slavery, internal wars, and open confrontations between peoples,” Giammattei said.
He further said that Mayans are now losing lives to organised crime, malnutrition and in the pursuit of their dreams and opportunities.
Mayan leaders have pleaded for recognition from the national government for years, who claim that the Spanish and Mexican governments obliterated their culture and also massacred their people.
Even then, Obrador has been vocal about rights of indigenous population in his home state of Tabasco.