On what was once Columbus Day, Venezuela and several other Latin American nations now celebrate a new holiday called “Indigenous Resistance Day”. This change took place in 2004, under the rule of Hugo Chavez, and Venezuela was the first country to make the switch.
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Where once stood a statue of Christopher Columbus in Caracas, there now stands a statue to an indigenous chief. And several other statues of famous Indigenous heroes who resisted colonisation by Spain are also erected in the same area.
In the past, and still currently in some other Latin American countries, Columbus Day is called “Day of the Race”. It was a kind of Hispanic cultural holiday, but in Venezuela, that name is now denounced as racist by many. And instead of celebrating the discovery of America by Columbus, it is the resistance to everything Columbus brought in his wake that is now the basis of the holiday.
On Indigenous Resistance Day, dozens of tribal leaders often come to attend the celebrations in Caracas and to honour the memory of those who resisted colonisation. A speech is made by the president to crowds gathered in Plaza Venezuela, and there are later parades and other celebratory events.
Some of Venezuela’s leaders, in connection with Indigenous Resistance Day, have promoted that the culture, arts, economy, educational system, and all of life in Venezuela be “decolonised”.
While many in Venezuela want to forget Columbus Day, others still believe in it, despite the new holiday taking its place. Thus, Indigenous Resistance Day is certainly a controversial holiday.