The letter to King Felipe VI of Spain, demanding that the monarch apologise for the 16th century conquest of Mexico, is to be published. The Mexican President, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said he would soon share the entire contents of the document which he sent to King Felipe in March.
The President of Mexico, who also wrote to Pope Francis at the same time, said he was sharing his whole message after sections were leaked in the press. He said that had been shared were drafts and he wanted the full text out in the open.
The letters originally came to light after Mr Lopez Obrador referred to them in a speech at events marking the 500th anniversary of the Battle of Centla. He said then he had been in touch with King Felipe asking for an apology for ”what would now be called human rights abuses”. In the speech he also said ”there were massacres….the so-called conquest was carried out with the sword and the cross”.
Officials in Madrid immediately rejected the call. In a statement, the government said that the arrival of Spanish troops in what is now Mexico five centuries ago ”cannot be judged in the light of contemporary considerations”. It added ”our two brother nations have always known how to read our shared past without anger and with a constructive perspective”.
King Felipe has enjoyed good relations with Mexico since his succession in June 2014. His first State Visit as king to a South American country was to Mexico – he and Queen Letizia travelled there in 2015. Mr Lopez Obrador took up office at the end of 2018.
Spanish conquistadores landed in Mexico five hundred years ago under the leadership of Hernando Cortes. They quickly took over much of the country which became an integral part of the Spanish Empire.