Felipe VI’s clashes with Latin American rulers have accelerated in the last four years

Felipe VI has been the representative of the Spanish Royal House in the inaugurations of new presidents of Latin America and the Caribbean since 1996, when he was still Prince of Asturias. As head of state he continues to go to them, although in recent years they have increased and accelerated clashes with the rulers leftist in various countries.

Between the indignant “Why don’t you shut up?” of his father, Juan Carlos I, to Hugo Chavez at the Summit of Heads of State and Government of Ibero-America held in Santiago de Chile in 2007, and the controversy over remaining seated before the passage and exposure of Simón Bolívar’s sword at the inauguration of Colombian Gustavo Petro last Sunday in Bogota, fifteen years have passed. But many leaders of those states continue to accuse the Spanish king of maintaining a irreverent and sometimes hurtful attitudee with its symbols, more typical of a conqueror than of a respectful partner with the popular will of its international partners.

The sword of Bolívar, who led the independence of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Venezuela, is a santi-colonial brotherhood symbol in Latin America. Spanish right-wing newspapers like The world Y The reason support the thesis that the king did not have to get up because it was not plannedor in the booklet protocolalthough without providing evidence or official sources to support that argument.

Public has gone to the Royal House to meet if the monarch was informed that they were going to pay homage to the sword at Petro’s inauguration, and to find out if Zarzuela had received any complaint or indication regarding the Spanish Government or any other State. At the close of this edition, the communication services of the Palacio de la Zarzuela had not responded.

To waiting for the Royal House to clarify Yes Philip VI remained seated because he was unaware of the protocol or if, knowing it, he decided not to rise to the sword – of the heads of state who attended Petro’s inauguration he was the only one who did not – it is worth recalling the controversies in recent years.

2019. Silence in response to López Obrador’s letter

The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on July 21. Luis Barron / eyepix via ZUMA Press / DPA / Europe Press

On March 25, 2019, the president of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, sent a letter to Felipe VI on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the conquest of Mexico. In the letter, based on historical texts and in which he respectfully addresses the king as “Your Majesty”, reminding him that the conquest “was achieved through countless crimes and outrages” and that during the colonial period “individual and collective rights were violated, which with a contemporary perspective should be assumed as attacks on the principles that govern both nations.” For this reason, he asked “that the Spanish State admit its historical responsibility for those offenses and offer the appropriate apologies or political compensation.” López Obrador also sent a similar letter to Pope Francis, who did ask for forgiveness for the crimes and abuses of the Catholic Church -“sins”, in his version-. The response of Felipe VI, on the other hand, was the silence.

2021. “Spain brought human rights to Latin America”

8/9/22 Statue of Ponce de León, conqueror of Puerto Rico, demolished the day Felipe VI arrived in the city in January 2021.
Statue of Ponce de León, conqueror of Puerto Rico, demolished the day Felipe VI arrived in the city in January 2021. EFE

Felipe VI never answered a la carte than the president of Mexico. But almost two years later, on an official visit to Puerto Rico to celebrate the 500th anniversary of its capital, San José, in January 2021, he delivered a controversial speech in which he went so far as to ensure that Spain brought to Latin America “the foundations of the international law and the concept of human rights. Bartolomé de las Casas estimated in 1552 in his Brief account of the destruction of the Indies that only in the first hundred years after the arrival of Columbus had exterminated between 20 and 25 million indigenous over a population of one hundred million people. The day Felipe VI arrived in San José, the statue that honors Juan Ponce de León in that city was demolishedconqueror of Puerto Rico and Florida.

2021. Pedro Castillo and the “felipillos”

Peter Castle.
Peter Castle. EPA/Presidency of Peru / EFE

The president of Peru, Pedro Castillo, referred expressly during his investiture speech to the colonial past of Spain and the crimes committed against the indigenous populationto Latin American. “For four and a half millennia, our ancestors found ways to solve their problems and live in harmony with the rich nature that providence offered them.” And this “was so until the men of Castile arrivedwho with the help of multiple felipillos and taking advantage of a moment of chaos and disunity, managed to conquer the state that until then dominated a large part of the central Andes”. Felipillo was the interpreter who accompanied Francisco Pizarro and Diego de Almagro in the conquest of the territories that today correspond to Chile and Peru, but the reference was taken as a direct offense to Felipe VI, who attended the inauguration of Castillo.

2021. Daniel Ortega: kings of Spain, “thieves and murderers”

A man walks past an electoral poster of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in Managua.
A man walks past an electoral poster of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in Managua. REUTERS

In November of last year, the Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, attacked “Spanish colonialism” and described “the Spanish kings” as “thieves and murderers”. “They don’t understand that these peoples have a conscience and conviction. They stopped being a colony of Europe a long time ago. We are waging battles because they continue to act and behaving like colonizers“, he stated in the run-up to the 2022 elections, which the Sandinista Front won but which were not recognized as clean and democratic by a large part of the international community.

2022. Boric, outraged with the delay of Felipe VI

8/9/22 Chilean President Gabriel Boric at his inauguration last April.
The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, at his inauguration last April. Joge Villegas / Xinhua news / Contactphoto / Europe Press

Last July, the president of Chile, Gabril Boric, was outraged in an interview on the country’s television in which he described as “unacceptable” that his inauguration, held last March, had had to be delayed because Felipe VI, Apparently he hadn’t arrived on time. “I seemed quite unacceptable that the ceremony be delayed because the King of Spain had been late. But well, they are things that happen. One has to respect, by the way, the established protocols, “he said. The Royal House denied that the responsibility corresponded to Spain and attributed it to the security device set up by Chile.


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