Monday, July 23, 2018

Debunking Snopes and the Imaginary Child Sex Slave Ring




I'm not one of those people always who opposes Snopes or Wikipedia. When they are right, they are right. However, when they are wrong, they are wrong; and Snopes is wrong with this one.

In an article titled "Did Christopher Columbus Seize, Sell, and Export Sex Slaves?" Snopes claims it is true. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/columbus-sex-slaves/ )

Unfortunately for them, ALL the claims of the article are false. They did a poor job investigating: 

They used Howard Zinn as a "source," even though he was not a primary historical source, but just a revisionist from the 20th-21st century. 

They also used  "A Brief Account of the Destruction of the Indies" by Bartolome de las Casas, even though the book is about events that happened AFTER Columbus was out of office. Contrary to what Snopes claims, Las Casas was not one of Columbus' crew members and he always admired Columbus describing him as a hero, a brilliant man, and as a good Christian.

Snopes quoted selected portions of a letter Columbus sent to Luis de Santangel to insinuate Columbus was looking down on the Tainos and considering them as good candidates for slavery. (https://books.google.com/books?id=NPXCTYxu-R4C&pg=PA10#v=onepage&q&f=false)  

If anyone takes the time to read the letter in its entirety one will see Columbus praising the Tainos in spite of their timidity and nakedness. He also forbade the Spaniards from cheating the natives by trading broken platters and broken glasses with them (page 13).

As for the quoted "Their Highnesses may see that I shall give them... slaves as many as they shall order to be shipped" (from the same letter above, page 17), Snopes skipped the next line that says "and these shall be from the idolaters." Columbus said the Tainos knew "no idolatry" (page 13), and he believed they were good and intelligent enough to become Christians. Furthermore, he considered them as part of the Spanish Kingdom (Source: Columbus' Journal, Sunday 16, December 1492). Spanish law forbade the enslavement of Spanish subjects and Christians, unless they were criminals or war enemies. It's clear he is not talking about the "timid Tainos," but the Caribs, who were cannibals (which is what that word means), who were terrorizing, kidnapping, enslaving, raping, castrating and killing the Tainos. I wonder why Snopes did not mention that detail!? 

Columbus ended the first voyage in peaceful terms with them and promised his ally, chief Guacanagari, he would get rid of the Caribs. The 1494 "Memorial letter to Antonio de Torres" specified all this as well. Columbus later was forced to fight in self-defense against some war-like tribes in Hispaniola. Since they were enemy combatants, he was allowed to sell them as slaves along with the cannibal Caribs. That was the custom back then during war. Slavery was universal and it was practiced by natives too.

As for the letter Columbus wrote to Juana de las Torres, is clear Snopes did not read it. The letter says nothing about any child sex slavery ring. Moreover, the quote is mistranslated: The word "agora" is archaic Spanish for "ahora" which means "now" and not "of late." Even that Snopes got wrong. The numbers "9 to 10" were not the ages of the girls, but the number of young women in the market.

As for the context of the letter, Columbus was complaining against a mob of Spanish mutineers who rebelled against him and usurped his authority. In other words, he was not applauding their actions but condemning them. He was not saying he was the one searching for girls to be sold as slaves, but that the mutineers were doing so. All these abuses toward the natives were against his orders and the wishes of the Queen of Spain. Ironically, sex slavery, nor pedophilia, were mentioned by Columbus in the letter. Why? Because that charge is pure fiction and made up by modern-day revisionists today. Columbus was removed from office (as governor) by the rebels and political opponents, but he was immediately released when he arrived in Spain precisely because he was innocent. Columbus' political rivals (Bobadilla and Roldan) were removed from their posts and their rebels were sentenced for mutiny. (Source "The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus by his son Ferdinand" Chapters 74-87).

In conclusion, it's ridiculous to think that Columbus would write an incriminating letter to a woman (Juana de las Torres) who was a mother and a friend of the Queen (another woman and mother) saying that he was selling children for sex.

I will give the benefit of the doubt that Snopes is just repeating the garbage that many revisionists claim. That is, "Columbus was evil," which is a lie, and repeating a lie, even many times, won't make the lie true.

"Did Christopher Columbus Seize, Sell, and Export Sex Slaves?"

The answer is: NO!


#SnopesDebunked

4 comments:

  1. So glad to find someone else talking about this! I wrote about this same thing on my blog last year (only not about Snopes but about an earlier Huffington Post article--I thought Snopes was quoting it there because it's almost word for word in places, but maybe they are both quoting Zinn?) Anyways, I'd love it if you would read my post and let me know what you think...you obviously know a lot about this history and I'd appreciate your input.

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  2. I am glad to stumble on this site. Slime like Howard Zinn have done a lot of damage to American and European history and the weak-minded, eager to hate something, eat it up like candy

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