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President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador
World News

Mexican President calls for Catholic apology for conquest-era abuses

by Press Association

Mexico's president has called on the Roman Catholic Church to apologise for abuses of Indigenous peoples during the conquest of the country in the 1500s.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has also asked Pope Francis to lend Mexico ancient pre-Hispanic Mexican or colonial-era documents.

In an open letter, he wrote: "The Catholic Church, the Spanish monarchy and the Mexican government should make a public apology for the offensive atrocities that Indigenous people suffered."

Mr Lopez Obrador asked the Pope to make a statement in favour of Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico's 19th-century independence leader who was once believed to have been excommunicated by the church for his involvement in the uprising.

However, researchers later said it appeared Mr Hidalgo had confessed his sins before he was executed and thus was not excommunicated.

Mr Lopez Obrador said: "I think it would be an act of humility and at the same time greatness."

The letter comes as Mexico struggles with how to mark the 500th anniversary of the 1519-1521 conquest, which resulted in the death of a large part of the country's pre-Hispanic population.

In 2019, Mr Lopez Obrador asked Spain for an apology for the conquest, in which millions of Indigenous people died from violence and disease.

Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said at the time that Spain "will not issue these apologies that have been requested".

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