Paula M Naranjo/Parent Editor
By Joshua Fechter Updated 4:22 pm CDT, Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Photo: Bob Owen, San Antonio Express-News. Workers remove the defaced statue of Christopher Columbus, on Wednesday , July 1, 2020.
A statue of Christopher Columbus — heralded for more than 500 years as the explorer who “discovered” the Americas — is no longer standing in a downtown San Antonio park.
The Christopher Columbus statue located in the Piazza Di Columbo, also called Columbus Park was vandalized with red paint on June 25. The City Council in August will consider a proposal by Councilman Robert Trevino to give it back to the Christopher Columbus Society, which donated it in 1957, and to rename the park.
Crews hauled the statue from Columbus Park Wednesday morning on a flatbed truck rented from Home Depot in a calm ceremony.
Columbus was long credited with discovering the “New World.” But in the past two decades, he has been widely re-assessed as a violent colonizer who slaughtered indigenous people.
The removal of the statue, originally donated by the Christopher Columbus Italian Society, was accelerated in the wake of protests over the killing of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police as similar statues in other cities were scrutinized or destroyed.
Demonstrators watch as San Antonio police stand guard around the Christopher Columbus statue after a demonstration in the park Saturday afternoon.
In an attempt to prevent that outcome, District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño and the Italian society struck a deal — to be voted on by City Council in August — to remove the statue of the explorer from Columbus Park, return the statue to the society and rename the park “Piazza Italia Park.”
“We wanted to avoid something getting out of control,” said Paolo Cristadoro, who serves on the society’s board.
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