This week, as in Latin America and in Spain, we celebrate the arrival of Columbus in the novo orbo. Well, sort of.
For one, not everyone calls it the same thing. In most countries it´s something like Día de la raza, ´la raza´ in this case refers to Latinos. However, not all countries agree with the nomenclature. In Uruguay, it´s Dia de las Americas, and in some Central American countries it´s Dia de la Panamericana. Argentina just changed it to the ambigious, Cultural Diversity Day.
Venezuela, sizzling with chavismo in 2002 changed the holiday to Indigenous Resistance Day. In 2004, a group of protesting chavistas actually knocked down a statue of Columbus in Caracas. In 2008 they renamed Paseo Colón or Columbus Drive, Paseo de la resistencia indígena.
In Spain, 12-O has another strange story. For one, it was first called Día de la raza, but was changed to Día de la Hispanicidad, thanks to Ramiro de Maetzu. It wasn´t legally a holiday however until 1958 when Franco´s government approved it as a federal holiday. Since then it´s been changed to the extremely generic, Fiesta Nacional de España.
Whoever, or whatever it is or is called, I´m enjoying my day off. I´m celebrating by reading What If Latin America Ruled the World? by Oscar Guardiola-Rivera. That should clear things up.