Chavez compares Columbus to Hitler
Venezuela's populist leader has urged Latin Americans to boycott celebrations for the anniversary of the "discovery" of the Americas by Christopher Columbus.
President Hugo Chavez accused the much-lauded adventurer of spearheading a "genocide".
The 1492 arrival of the Italian explorer, employed by Spain, triggered a 150-year "invasion" of native Indians by foreign conquerors, who behaved "worse than Hitler", he said.
Columbus Day falls on 12 October and is celebrated with a public holiday on Monday in the United States and several Latin American nations.
But at a meeting in Caracas - attended by representatives of the indigenous population in South America, President Chavez said: "Christopher Columbus was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity."
We Venezuelans, we Latin Americans, have no reason to honour Columbus
Columbus Day should be remembered as the "Day of Indian Resistance", he said.
Spanish, Portuguese and other foreign conquerors had massacred South America's Indian inhabitants at an average rate of roughly "one every 10 minutes", he said.
He described Spanish conquistadors like Hernan Cortes and Francisco Pizarro, as "worse than Hitler".
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