“[…] 1797 was the last time anyone cared what the Spanish had to say here but who could ignore the sheer arrogance and entitlement of this idolatrous ambassador to ask us to remain backward while his own country is moving forward, confronting its past to free its future…”
The following letter to the editor on Spain Ambassador Javier Carbajosa’s disapproval of the campaign to remove the Christopher Columbus statue from Port of Spain was submitted by Cross Rhodes Freedom Project (CRFP) director Shabaka Kambon:
Spanish Ambassador to TT and ‘Christopher Columbus lover’ Javier Carbajosa is completely hypocritical and out of place to disrespect and threaten the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago in what will ultimately prove to be a futile attempt to influence our conversation about who we should revere and what values we celebrate.
If he feels so strongly about removing monuments to history’s criminals where was his voice over the years when the government of Spain was removing symbols of the Francisco Franco era from the country’s streets, buildings and squares?
Where was his enthusiasm even last year when the cabinet agreed to exhume the actual remains of the fascist dictator and mass murderer from a 260-metre-long underground basilica topped by a 150-metre-high cross, north of Madrid?
Why didn’t he inform his government that ‘history cannot be rewritten to the taste of the consumer’ or tell the deputy prime minister, Carmen Calvo to ‘accept it and learn from it’ when she pointed out that: ‘democracy is not compatible with a tomb that honours the memory of Franco’?
Why didn’t he denounce Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez when he said: ‘this decision marks an end to the moral insult that the public glorification of a dictator constitutes’?
Surely if removing monuments to history villains is ‘futile, hypocritical and dangerous’ in Trinidad and Tobago, it must be so in Spain as well. Or is it that white lives lost to fascist violence in Europe are worth more than black lives lost to Colonial violence in the Caribbean.
1797 was the last time anyone cared what the Spanish had to say here but who could ignore the sheer arrogance and entitlement of this idolatrous ambassador to ask us to remain backward while his own country is moving forward, confronting its past to free its future.
But I have a piece of advice for this devotee of craven images to genocide. Save your enthusiasm for Columbus monuments in Spain because even in your country, the primary beneficiary of Columbus’ plunder, people are beginning to view 12 October 1492 as a source of shame rather than one of pride.
The former mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, has publicly stated that the country should stop marking ‘a genocide’ with an €800,000 military parade while the former mayor of Cadiz, José María González declared emphatically: “We never discovered America; we massacred and suppressed a continent and its cultures in the name of God.”
Unprofessional, undiplomatic and unacceptable Mr Ambassador. In case you did not get the memo ‘massa day done’.
Editor’s Note: Spanish Governor Don José María Chacón surrendered Trinidad to a British fleet led by Sir Ralph Abercromby on 18 February 1797.