Tucker Carlson is a great guy. You can often judge the quality of your friends by the enemies they keep. Courageous, eloquent, patriotic, free, good-humored — undeniably, Carlson meets the requirements of all the things I aspire to be. A few days ago, however, he was wrong about something that to many may seem like a trivial matter, but not to me.
I am convinced that being suddenly cheered on, for once, by the radical left and promoters of revolutionary indigenism, anti-Americanism and anti-Spanishism will lead him to suspect that his claims about Spain’s debt with Latin America were a slip-up, a surrender to this smear campaign to the detriment of the truth. For a wise man is not afraid to admit when he is wrong. And I have no doubt that he will.
While legitimately trying to defend his country from those who blame the United States for the migration situation in Latin America, Carlson pointed out that its problems “were substantially caused … by other colonial powers centuries ago,” in particular by Spain, whom he accused of having plundered the southern part of the continent.
The United States is not to blame for what is happening in Latin America. And neither is Spain.
The fact that for years North America has built an empire of freedom while Latin America dabbled in Marxist revolutions is undoubtedly the main reason why so many people want to move to the land of opportunity and flee from poverty and tyranny; but that’s another story for another time and is in any case a story of merits, not of guilty parties.
It is, however, a good time to drop the anti-Spanish smear campaign, promoted for centuries by the English and Dutch, and currently enthusiastically promoted by the Spanish and Latin-American extreme left. You know — that Spain carried out a genocide in America, and that it plundered and enslaved the Indians.
It may have very well turned out that way. But the Catholic monarchs prevented it — not out of hospitality, but simply because they had a duty to follow their conscience.
The conquest was first of all governed by the idea of evangelizing the New World. Queen Isabella’s own testament is as follows: “When the Holy Apostolic See granted to Us the Islands and Continent of the ocean Sea … Our principal intention … was to try to persuade and attract the inhabitants and convert them to Our Holy Catholic Faith.”
Of course, this did not prevent all the abuse — even more unacceptable to the eyes of a 21st-century observer — but in essence, the royal mandate was clear:
“[T]his shall be their principal objective, and that they shall not allow, nor give occasion, for the townspeople or inhabitants of those Islands and Continent … to receive any harm to their persons and properties. They shall, moreover, command that the inhabitants be well and justly treated, and if the inhabitants have received any harm, they shall provide remedy.”
The kings ordered mestizo marriages (something, by the way, that only Spain did), they built universities, exported the best architecture and art, established checks and balances of the conquerors themselves to stop possible abuse, and instructed the Indians.
In short, the Spanish did not see that place as a foreign territory to plunder because they considered it their own territory. This was even more evident from the Valladolid Controversy, when in 1550 Carlos I brought together scholars, jurists and theologians to decide whether Spain’s actions in America were just and fair, lighting the milestone of the first recognition of human rights by conquerors.
I imagine Spain has made numerous mistakes in history, but this was not one of them.
If it is true that the search for El Dorado led to the expansion of Christian civilization in America, it is also fair to recognize that the city of gold was only a legend. The numbers that we know today about the extraction of gold by the Spanish in America are ridiculous in comparison with the amount of gold produced in the contemporary era.
We did, in fact, take tons of seeds and spices. I don’t even want to think about what our gastronomy would be today without potatoes, tomatoes and peppers; my life would probably be meaningless.
On the other hand, since the treaty of Bernardo de Gálvez, a crucial player in American independence, there has been no possibility of confrontation between Spain and the United States, since today they represent the same Western values that, just as we knew the difference between rights and wrongs, the Spaniards had the honor of looking after through the centuries, defending them from the most insidious enemies, including our own and others, among whom Carlson is not found.
This article first appeared on The Western Journal en Español.
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