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Sender: owner-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 97 09:04:00 CST
From: "Workers World" <ww@wwpublish.com>
Organization: WW Publishers
Subject: Workers around the world: 10/30/97
Article: 20853

Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the October 30, 1997 issue of Workers World newspaper

'Columbus Day' Protests

From Workers World, 30 October 1997

Columbus Day originated as a celebration of European chauvinism marking the opening of the conquest of the Americas in 1492. But across Latin America, Indigenous workers and farmers now mark the day with protests against continued oppression.

In Honduras on Oct. 13, hundreds of activists smashed a statue of the Italian explorer in Columbus Plaza in Tegucigalpa. Organizer Salvador Zu=A4iga Columbus said Columbus is responsible for "the deaths of 70 million Indigenous people and the most disgraceful plundering of Indigenous communities."

Thousands of people turned out across Mexico on Oct. 13. Demonstrators in Mexico City and several towns in Chiapas demanded the government respect agreements negotiated with Zapatista rebels. They also called for the army to withdraw from the area.

In Ecuador, some 30,000 Indigenous peasants converged on the capital city of Quito on Oct. 13 to demand constitutional reforms. Millions blockaded the interior of the country earlier this year to force out President Abdala Bucaram; peasants are now fighting to win a People's Constituent Assembly to enact social reforms.

Peasants from the Loja region near the Peru border wore black saraguros, a traditional sign of mourning dating from the murder of King Atahualpa by the Spanish conquistadores. Unions also supported the mass demonstration.