March 26 (UPI) — The Spanish government has “rejected with all firmness” a request for an apology from Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for an invasion 500 years ago.
Lopez Obrador appealed Monday for an apology from Spain’s King Felipe VI and Pope Francis for the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1521. The Mexican president said many misdeeds were committed during the crusade, and that an apology was needed to reconcile.
Spain declined late Monday.
“The arrival, 500 years ago, of the Spanish to the current Mexican lands cannot be judged in light of contemporary considerations,” the government said in a statement.
Spain said it “deeply regretted” that Lopez Obrador’s March 1 letter was published, and said it’s willing to work with Mexico.
Spanish President Pedro Sanchez visited Lopez Obrador two months ago, their first after his election in July. At the time, the two acknowledged similar political ideologies.
Hernan Cortes arrived in Mexico in 1519 and conquered the Aztec empire in 1521, claiming Mexico for Spain. Spanish rule ended 600 years later. In the 1860s, Spain fought Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador in a failed attempt to regain dominance in the region.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has also been critical of the Spanish conquest, following a similar position held by predecessor Hugo Chavez. At the 2007 IberoAmerican summit, Chavez and King Juan Carlos I, father of Felipe VI, were involved in a confrontation when the latter uttered the phrase “why don’t you shut up?” after Chavez interrupted a speech by former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.