On Columbus Day, president Mauricio Funes apologized to indigenous peoples for the injuries done to them by the conquest by European nations:
“The government that I lead wishes to be the first government that in the name of the Salvadoran state...makes an act of contrition and begs pardon of the indigenous communities for the persecution, for the extermination of which they were victims for so many years,” Funes said on the 518th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the Americas..
“From this day forward we officially terminate our historical denial of the diversity of our peoples and acknowledges El Salvador to be a multiethnic and multicultural society,” he said in inaugurating the First National Indigenous Congress.
Funes recalled episodes of national history such as the first uprising of native peoples in the country, which took place in 1832, as a result, he said, of the “reigning model of oppression.”
He recalled that it was “suffocated by repression and force” and that 100 years later, in 1932, “history repeated itself” and the government at the time “gave the same brutal, violent response to the requests of the native communities,” killing more than 32,000 people.
Funes installed a congress that will seek “the necessary consensus among representatives of indigenous peoples to constitute a National Committee to formulate public policies for that segment of the population,” his office said in a communique