Dear readers and fellow bloggers:
Good morning. Today is a special day for all the Americans (meaning all those persons born in the American continent and not just the USA) and especially for us Italian-Americans. On October 12, 1492, Cristoforo Colombo, a Genovese navigator at the service of the Spanish Crown, landed somewhere in the Abacos Islands of the Bahamas and claimed the land. For generations we have celebrated this day in schools of Uruguay and Argentina under the guise of the mendacious “Discovery of America” or the disgusting “Day of the Race.”
Precisely in Uruguay the genocide of the indigenous population by the European settlers was systematic with the last few members of the Charrúa tribe transported to Paris in the Nineteenth Century where they were paraded in the ultimate humiliation. Uruguayans pride themselves in the moniker of “charrúa” in the football competitions of the national team, a tragi-comic endurance of the name of an extinguished community. We must pause and ponder our collective guilt in their persecution and extermination.
However, the date is still the valid reminder that some hardy Spanish sailors did arrive in these coasts and started a colonization that with its illuminated and dark aspects has marked the inhabitants of this great continent for many past, present and future years. The European conquerors, with cruelty and determination, did bring a modicum of innovation to our countries when the Industrial Revolution changed the production of marketable goods for a more massive consumption and the rising of living standards.
We salute the valiant and gallant Cristoforo Colombo for his feat of exploring the fringes of the known world at the time; moreover we applaud his decision to renounce your Royal commission when he could not impede the pillage and assassination of natives. Moreover the dark complicity of many members of the Catholic Church hierarchy and priesthood must be emphasized by all the honest active Catholics in the continent. Would the economic and sociological development of the Americas have taken a more benign course without the European invasion and sacking of its natural resources?
Eduardo Galeano wrote in Las venas abiertas de America Latina that the present day power dynamics in Latin america has been enabled by the tragic Spanish conquest. He wrote his seminal book five decades ago, when the oligarchies and military dictatorships had all the levers of power in our countries, sidelining the rest to slow death by misery. In the past few decades there has been a slow democratization and empowerment of the middle classes that has pulled millions of Americans out of ignorance and squalor. Will this democratic process continue in favor of the more deprived segments of society?
We don’t have the answer to that question as these societies are still in constant flux .
What do you think? Please tell us.
Don’t leave me alone.