(CNN)–Mexico’s president wants an apology for violations committed by Spanish conquistadors in the region, 500 years ago.
“I have sent a letter to the King of Spain and another letter to the Pope so that the violations committed can be acknowledged we could build a record of the grievances and an apology can be made to the people who originally occupied this land (the indigenous Mayans),” President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said in a video message posted to his Twitter account on Monday, from the Mayan archeological site Comalcalco.
“There were mass killings,” he said, noting that the “so-called conquest was made with the sword and the cross.”
The Spanish government said it had received a letter with the same demand from Lopez Obrador weeks earlier, on March 1st. It has declined to apologize.
“Spain will not respond to this extemporaneous request,” Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell said. “It is odd to now receive this request for an apology for events that occurred 500 years ago.”
“I think we need to maintain the best relationship between our people, the people of Spain and Mexico,” Borrell added.
The Vatican has not directly responded to Lopez Obrador’s request.
During his daily press briefing on Tuesday, Lopez Obrador said he was not looking for a confrontation with any government.
“We simply want people to remember to reignite our historical memory,” Lopez Obrador said. “We need the apology in order to begin a new era of reconciliation and brotherhood.”
By Flora Charner, CNN
Photo: Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during his daily morning press conference on March 26, 2019.