Barcelona mayor Ada Colau has rejected proposals to remove the Christopher Columbus statue in the Spanish city. Calls were made by local activists to remove the monument to the Spanish explorer in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests worldwide.
"We are not going to rewrite history, but we have to explain history in its entirety because history was usually told by the winners and has avoided telling about the bloodshed, the exploitation and the slavery also associated with that age," Colau said, according to the Associated Press.
She continued: "Was Columbus a slave trader? No, but he does represent the colonial era. There is an open debate and we think that is positive and necessary."
"We are consulting experts and listening to voices from citizen organizations to see how we can explain this monument."
Colau's words come after there have been international calls for the removal of statues that represent figures who were part of the colonial period, the US Confederacy, and many others.
Christopher Columbus statues were already the targets of protesters in Massachusetts and Virginia in early June, with the one in Virginia being beheaded and thrown into Foundation Lake.
Colau opened up the possibility that the statue could have renovations made to it, as there are native people shown in a way that may be perceived as offensive. She has also suggested that she wants to put up plaques that discuss the history of Columbus and colonialism.
“That was an age when there were positive things, but there was also exploitation of people who were living happily, and there were authentic massacres of indigenous peoples, and if you believe in human rights and democracy that is not defensible,” the mayor said.