The 19th-century bronze statue on Paseo de la Reforma was dismantled last year for restoration work ahead of an annual protest.
The new monument aims to ensure “social justice” for the historic role of women in Mexico, especially indigenous women, said Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum at an event in the Mexican capital on Sunday marking International Indigenous Women’s Day .
“It is to them that we owe… the history of our country, of our homeland,” she declared.
The move comes as part of a global campaign to tear down statues and monuments of historical figures involved in colonialism and other abuses, including slavery. In recent years, such monuments have been knocked down by protesters or removed by local authorities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, among others.
Several statues of Columbus, the Italian navigator whose Spanish-funded expeditions from the 1490s paved the way for European conquest of the Americas, have been withdrawn from American cities.
The statue of Columbus of Mexico, donated to the city many years ago, was an important point of reference on the 10-lane boulevard along which it stands, and the surrounding roundabout carries – until now – His name.
This has made them a favorite target of paintbrush-wielding protesters denouncing the European suppression of indigenous civilizations in Mexico.
It was removed last year for restoration shortly before October 12, which Americans know as Columbus Day, but Mexicans call “Dia de la Raza” – “Day of the Race” – the anniversary. of Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in 1492.
At the time, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador noted that “it is a very controversial date and one which lends itself to contradictory ideas and political conflicts”.
This year is the 700th anniversary of the founding of Tenochtitlan – what is now Mexico City – as well as the 500th anniversary of its fall to the Spanish conquistadors and the 200th anniversary of Mexico’s final independence from Mexico. from Spain.
Most Mexicans have indigenous ancestors. Millions of indigenous people died of violence and disease during and after the conquest.
Sheinbaum said the new statue, dubbed “Tlali,” could be ready near this year’s Dia de la Raza.
“Of course we recognize Columbus,” said the mayor, who called Columbus a “great international figure,” during Sunday’s event announcing the change.
“But there are two visions,” she said, adding that one of them was the European vision of “discovering America,” even though civilizations had existed for centuries in Mexico.
“And there is another vision from here, that in reality a European arrived in America, who made a meeting between two places, then came the [Spanish] conquest, ”she said.
The statue of Christopher Columbus will be moved to a smaller location in a small park in the city’s Polanco district.
Sheinbaum is a close ally of Lopez Obrador, who has sought to make his government an advocate for the poor as well as indigenous communities, many of which are among the least wealthy in the country.