San Diego community reflects on vandalized Columbus statue

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The paint was quickly cleaned up after a statue honoring Christopher Columbus was vandalized this weekend in the South Bay.

Some called the act violent, but others said they want the statue removed altogether because of what the explorer represents.

“They don’t have to come out and vandalize a statue,” said Valeria Corona, Chula Vista Resident.

The vandals doused the head of the statue with red paint and the word “genocide” was spray painted at the base. An expensive plaque was also missing from the statue standing at Discovery Park in a Chula Vista neighborhood.

City crews first used a pressure washer and then they scrubbed the rest of of the paint off using a brush Sunday.

The evidence of what happened is still there. You can still see red paint splattered on the ground and the tint of red lingering on the statue.

“It’s pretty weird to think someone came here this close to my house to vandalize something,” said Corona.

Chula Vista Police believed the vandalism happened sometime Saturday night.

Some called it violent. Others said it sent a powerful message.

“The red represents or symbolizes the blood that’s been spilled by our people during that time,” said Lucky Morales, Community Activist.

Lucky Morales is part of the Yaqui Indian Tribe. He didn’t condone the vandalism, but he agreed with the message. He said his people don’t want these statues around because of what Columbus stands for and because of the way the colonist treated his native people.

“If anything, he brought genocide to these lands and he’s responsible for the annihilation of thousands of indigenous tribes, our ancestors,” said Lucky. “Why would we want to celebrate Columbus Day? It would be like us celebrating the murder of our ancestors.”

The folks with UNICO, a local Italian American Association, said Columbus represents their journey and they celebrate him. Christopher Columbus Day is an important part of Italian American heritage.

UNICO responded to the the vandalized Columbus statue saying, “The Italian-American community does not condone any violation against any statue of any kind representing cultural history. Columbus statues and days of celebration that are attacked do effect our claim to our heritage and contributions to the discovery expeditions.”

Lucky said he didn’t believe the vandalism was an act of violence, but Corona said she didn’t feel safe when she saw it.

“Just being at my house and then this close to here, a violent message like this really isn’t nice,” said Corona.

Chula Vista Police are investigating. There’s no immediate leads about who vandalized the statue, but anyone with a tip for investigators is asked to contact CVPD.

Lt. Dan Peak said the person responsible could face felony vandalism charges.

Categories: Local San Diego News