A letter from an Indian chief to all European governments to repay the gold and silver they borrowed between 1503 and 1660.
By Guaicaipuro Cuautemoc
Here am I, Guaicaipuro Cuautemoc, who have come to discover those who are celebrating the discovery. Here am I, a descendant of those who colonised America 40,000 years ago, who have come to discover those who discovered it 500 years ago.
My European brother at his border asks me for a written document with a visa in order to discover those who discovered me. The European moneylender asks me to pay a debt contracted by Judas which I never authourised to be sold to me. The European pettifogger explains to me that all debts must be paid with interest, even if it means selling human beings and whole countries without their consent. I am gradually discovering them.
I also have payments to claim. I can also claim interest. The evidence is in the Archivo de Indias. Paper after paper, receipt after receipt, signature after signature show that between 1503 and 1660 alone, 185,000 kilos of gold and 16 million kilos of silver were shipped into San Lucar de Barrameda from America.
Plunder? I wouldn’t say so. Because that would mean that our Christian brothers are violating their seventh commandment.
Pillage? May Tanatzin have mercy on me for thinking that the Europeans, like Cain, kill and then deny their brother’s blood!
Genocide? That would mean giving credit to slanderers like Bartolome de las Casa who equated the discovery of the Indies with its destruction, or to extremists such as Dr Arturo Pietri, who states that the outburst of capitalism and of the current European civilisation was due to the flood of precious metals! No way!
Those 185,000 kilos of gold and 16 million kilos of silver must be considered as the first of several friendly loans granted by America for Europe’s development. The contrary would presuppose war crimes, which would mean not only demanding immediate return, but also compensation for damages.
I prefer to believe in the least offensive hypothesis. Such fabulous capital exports were nothing short of the beginning of a Marshalltezuma Plan to guarantee the reconstruction of a barbarian Europe, ruined by deplorable wars against the Muslim foe. For this reason, as we approach the Fifth Centennial of the Loan, we must ask ourselves:
What have our European brothers done in a rational, responsible or at least productive way with the resources so generously advanced by the International Indoamerican Fund?
The answer is: unfortunately nothing. Strategically, they squandered it on battles such as Lepanto, invincible armies, Third Reichs and other forms of mutual extermination, only to end up being occupied by the Yankee troops of NATO, like Panama (but without a canal).
Financially, they were incapable – even after a moratorium of 500 years – of either paying back capital with interest or of becoming independent from net returns, raw material and cheap energy that they import from the Third World.
This disgusting picture corroborates Milton Friedman’s assertion that a subsidised economy can never function properly, and compels us to claim – for their own good – the repayment of capital and interest which we have so generously delayed all these
Stating this, we want to make clear that we will refrain from charging our European brothers the despicable and blood-thirsty floating rates of 20 or even 30% that they charge to Third World countries. We shall only demand the devolution of all precious metals advanced, plus a modest fixed annum accumulated over 300
On this basis, and applying the European formula of compound interest, we inform our discoverers that they only owe us, as a first payment against the debt, a mass of 185,000 kilos of gold and 16 million kilos of silver, both raised to the power of 300. This equals a figure that would need over 300 digits to put it down on paper and whose weight fully exceeds that of the planet Earth.
What huge piles of gold and silver! How much would they weigh when calculated in blood? To say that in half a millennium Europe has not been able to produce sufficient wealth to pay back this modest interest is as much as admitting to the total financial failure of capitalism.
The pessimists of the Old World state that their civilisation is already so bankrupt that they cannot fulfil their financial or moral commitments. If this is the case, we shall be happy if they pay us with the bullet that killed the poet. But that is not
possible, because that bullet is the very heart of Europe.
– Third World Network Features
Reprinted from Revista, Renancer Indianista, No. 7.\
George Monbiot commented on this letter from Guaicaipuro Cuautemoc:
By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 20th July 2000
Between 1503 and 1660, 185,000 kilos of gold and 16 million kilos of silver were shipped from Latin America to Europe. The native American leader Guaicaipuro Cuautemoc argues that his people should see this transfer not as a war crime, but as “the first of several friendly loans, granted by America for Europe’s development”. Were they to charge compound interest on this loan, levied at the modest rate of 10 per cent, Europe would owe the indigenous people of Latin America a stack of gold and silver which exceeded the weight of the planet.
One outstanding task would remain: forgiveness. That we should presume to “forgive” the Third World’s debts is laughable. Rather, the G8 leaders must beg the forgiveness of the Third World for the dreadful and deliberate mess they have made of the global economy.
For further reading and enlightenment:
When Taino Indians saved Christopher Columbus from certain death on the fateful morning of Oct. 12, 1492, a glorious opportunity presented itself. The cultures Europe of and the Americas could have merged and the beauty of both races could have flourished.
Unfortunately, what occurred was neither beautiful nor heroic. Just as Columbus could not, and did not, “discover” a hemisphere that was already inhabited by nearly 100 million people, his arrival cannot, and will not, be recognized as a heroic and celebratory event by indigenous peoples.
From an indigenous vantage point, Columbus’ arrival was a disaster from the beginning. Although his own diaries indicated that he was greeted by the Taino Indians with the most generous hospitality he had ever known, he immediately began the enslavement and slaughter of the Indian peoples of the Caribbean islands. As the eminent Columbus biographer Samuel Eliot Morison admits in his book, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, Columbus was personally responsible for enslavement and murder of indigenous peoples. He was personally responsible for the design and operation of the encomienda system that tied Indians as slaves to the lands stolen from them by the European invaders.