This is a response to an “Open Letter to the Editor” by Alex Quintana requesting renaming the Nutley-Belleville Columbus Day Parade “as well as removing the Christopher Columbus statue.” Quintana wrote, “My intention has never been to dismiss or erase anyone’s culture or experiences,” and I doubt the intentions of Quintana are sincere. However, how do you think the African-American community would feel if someone asked to rename MLK Jr day, or a parade named after him, or remove one of his statues while claiming they are not trying to erase their culture? That would be an insult to their intelligence and It would be taken as racial discrimination, especially if they are trying to discredit MLK Jr’s legacy at the expense of misinformation. Likewise, revisionists are getting away, in many places in America, renaming Columbus Day or removing his statues, at the expense of anti-Columbus propaganda.

In addition, blaming Columbus, or Spain, on how things are politically run today in Latin America is disingenuous, since they, like the USA, became independent (long ago) from European colonialism and imperialism. If Christopher Columbus “glorifies” “enslavement, genocide, and oppression” then by the same logic Indigenous Peoples’ Day represents the same, since Indigenous peoples were doing the very same things they accuse Columbus of, with the addition of cannibalism and human sacrifices.

The problem is not that society has progressed and we became “more aware of the realities of Columbus’ negative impact.” On the contrary, some people are reacting to falsehoods without ever taking the time to read a FULL Columbus’ primary historical source! You don’t have to believe me though. All you have to do is to read what revisionists are claiming today and compare it to a FULL primary historical source, in their proper context, and you will see what revisionists claim against Columbus is not true. In other words, Columbus was not a “racist,” a “genocidal maniac,” nor did he mutilate anyone, nor he was a “pedophile.”

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If you think I’m saying all this because I’m biased or because I’m “Italian” or Catholic, you are mistaken, since I’m neither. I’m actually a Puerto Rican of Taino/ Indigenous descent. Yes, the very same ones Columbus supposedly exterminated. Except that is not true either. If it was, I would be protesting Columbus Day instead. But since it is not true, I have been helping my Italian-American friends to defend the honor of the most important person in history after Jesus Christ. I would argue that is partly why Columbus is hated, since he was the person who introduced Christianity to the New World, and those who usually hated him today are anti-religious people. It is no wonder that if Christ was hated and slandered, the person who brought Christianity to the Americas would be also hated and slandered.

The fact is that if Columbus was alive today he could sue all these people and groups for defamation, and he would win. Notice that these same activists are the same people who want to rename Thanksgiving Day as “UnThanksgiving Day”! This is evidence that this is not about Columbus, but about discrediting America and their Judeo-Christian values.

My hope is that my Italian-American friends stay strong and won’t give in to this ridiculous cancel culture, especially when we have the best weapon: facts. And facts still matter.

Rafael Ortiz
(Author of “Christopher Columbus the Hero- Defending Columbus from Modern Day Revisionism”)