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Venezuela establishes 'truth commission' to uncover colonial-era crimes

A handout picture released by the Venezuelan presidency shows Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro speaking during a meeting with deputies of the National Assembly, in Caracas, on January 4, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Venezuela has established a “commission to clarify the historical truth, justice and reparation regarding colonial rule and its consequences” in the country.

President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday that the commission would “investigate the truth of European colonialism.”

“Justice will be demanded from Spain, Portugal, and Europe for its crimes, genocide, looting of Latin America,” Maduro was quoted as saying at a press conference held at the Miraflores Palace.

Maduro said that he had sent a letter to the king of Spain on October 12, 2021 demanding compensation and an apology for the crimes and genocide committed by the Europeans against the Native Americans. 

In his letter to the Spanish monarch, Maduro said Spain should apologize for the 500-year-old genocide it initiated against indigenous peoples during the colonial era.

“Ask the peoples of the Americas for forgiveness for the crimes and genocide committed and carry out a process of reparation,” the Venezuelan president insisted in his letter.

Maduro said that in order to achieve this demand, it was necessary to carry out “historical research” and “a great educational effort.”

He said the historical truth commission, which is chaired by Venezuela’s Minister of Culture, Ernesto Villegas, and made up of politicians, historians, writers, researchers, anthropologists, philosophers and leaders of Venezuelan cultural movements, has developed a line of documentary work on colonialism and that it is going to collect an “existing index of investigations” in this regard, both inside and outside Venezuela.

Maduro assured that it was “an effort to search for the truth with a view to justice and reparation.”

Mexican President Manuel Lopez Obrador on March 26, 2019 sent a letter to Spain and the Vatican asking them to apologize officially for Spain’s occupation of the Americas at the beginning of the 16th century and its crimes against the native population of the region.

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