The Conservative President of the City of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, criticized “historical revisionism” at the headquarters of the Hispanic Society of America (HSA) in Manhattan on Monday, September 27. The HSA Museum is currently closed to the public for “major renovations”. but nonetheless opened its doors to Díaz Ayuso, welcoming the right-wing politician to his Sorolla Vision of Spain gallery for an interview with the the Wall Street Journal Opinion writers.
Organized as part of a week-long trip to the United States with stops in New York and Washington, DC, the interview was followed by an impromptu speech to a dozen representatives of the Hispanic Society, according to the Spanish newspaper. El País.
Díaz Ayuso spoke favorably of US-Spanish relations before embarking on a diatribe against “revisionist, dangerous and pernicious” ideologies which she said lead to “cultural regression.” Calling for a “defense of real history,” she criticized anti-colonial and indigenous movements which question the heroic accounts of the Spanish conquest as a “dangerous current of communism through indigenism this constitutes an attack on Spain.
Asked by El País journalist María Antonia Sanchéz-Vallejo for her opinion on the decision of the New York City Department of Education to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day, Díaz Ayuso said the decision was “fatal” .
Díaz Ayuso made similar remarks on Wednesday at the headquarters of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, DC.
“Why are we revising the history of Spain in America and questioning Hispanicness 500 years later? daytime?”
Responding to Hyperallergic’s request for comment, HSA Director and CEO Guillaume Kientz said, “The Hispanic Society is not affiliated with Isabel Díaz Ayuso. The opinions expressed by Díaz Ayuso do not represent or endorse in any way the opinions shared by the museum and its mission. Kientz added that areas of the museum are currently “open by appointment only” and that the company regularly hosts representatives from the Spanish and Portuguese speaking communities.
The organization was founded in 1904 as a public library and museum dedicated to the art and culture of Spain, Portugal, Latin America and the Philippines. Housed in a 1908 Beaux-Arts building in the Upper Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, where 70% of the population identifies as Hispanic or Latino, the museum has been closed for renovation since 2017.
Díaz Ayuso’s visit comes in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month, observed from September 15 to October 15. Labeled as a “Trumpista” by supporters of the left-wing national government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Díaz Ayuso and his conservative Popular Party (PP) won the Madrid regional elections by a landslide this spring, in part by lobbying for more lax pandemic measures.
The politician has already aroused anger over her discriminatory comments, such as her suggestion that the COVID-19 cases in Spain were driven by the “way of life” of the country’s immigrant population. Just a day ago, Díaz Ayuso publicly denounced Pope Francis’ recent apology in Mexico for the church’s role in the Spanish conquest.
Shortly after her visit to the HSA on Monday, she tweeted a photo from the event. A Twitter user commented, “You will make few friends in Latin America by criticizing indigenous movements and imposing your own historical and ideological reality with the same fanaticism as the colonizers and inquisitors of the sixteenth century; you are not doing the people of Madrid a favor.
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