A plaque that was unveiled by Prince Charles in Colombia was smashed by a vandal, according to reports.
The black marble plaque was unveiled with a text in Spanish that is designed to serve as a tribute to English soldiers in coastal city of Cartagena. Thousands of English soldiers died in 1741 in an attempt to take the city from Spanish colonists.
The mayor of the coastal city has now ordered for the removal of the plaque. Locals weren’t happy with it because they’re proud of of Spain’s victory over English invaders.
But a Reuters report said that a 69-year-old engineer smashed the plaque after it was blessed by Prince Charles.
Hernando Marrugo, who is a tourist guide in Cartagena–a UNESCO World Heritage site–said he was stunned that the plaque was set up.
“The mayor has a nerve to commemorate the deaths of 10,000 English troops. These men intended taking Cartagena and massacring our ancestors. It makes me feel bad showing the plaque to the tourists,” he said, according to the Independent.
Cartagena Mayor Dionisio Velez Trujillo said that he wasn’t try to cause controversy.
“It was never my intention to stir up this controversy or tread on sensitivities but I won’t dig my heels in. A government has to avoid mistakes but when it’s clear they’ve happened, it is obliged to rectify them,” he said.
The man who smashed the plaque, Jaime Rendon, describes himself as an environmentalist and said he is “proud” of his act. He said he carried out the act in the event local officials failed to remove it.
“It’s an insult to the memory of the true heroes of Cartagena,” Rendon said.
Sabas Pretelt de la Vega from the Corporacion Centro Historico, however, said, “A barbarian smashed it to pieces. If there are historians and technicians who consider it’s worth correcting and changing it and putting a better text, we’ll do so with pleasure.”