Monday, February 15, 2010
Latinegr@s Project: Afro-Colombians
As this project continues I wanted to make sure that profiles and education was not just our main focus. I want us to also think about awareness of what is really happening in the world around us. Since so many of us think that racism and oppression may not be as prevalent this world, but indeed it is, particularly, for Afro Latinos in Latin America. 45% of the Latin American Population is Afro Latino.
Today I will put the spotlight on Colombia. 21% of the 44 million people live in this country are Afro-Latino. Most of them live through severe poverty despite being recognized in 1993 as citizens under law 70 (yes you read that correctly). This law was highly celebrated as a step in the right directions for Black Colombians, who are direct descendants of slaves. However, not much progress has been made since this law was passed. Afro-Colombians continue to be displaced due to economic interests
Even though slavery was abolished in 1851, Black Colombians were forced to live in the jungles as a form of protection and begin to share the territories with the ingenious population. After the abolition of slavery, the Colombian government came up with this idea of mestizaje, or miscegenation. They wanted to eliminate or at least minimize the African population by "whitening" them. This caused both minority population in further into the jungles. Afro-Colombians and indigenous people were, and continue to be, displaced them in order to take their lands for sugar cane, coffee, and banana plantations; as well as for mining and wood exploitation.
As of today, this came across the AP Wire:
BOGOTÁ(15 February 2010) – The UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Ms. Gay McDougall, called on the Colombian government to concentrate efforts in improving the situation of those communities identified as Afro-Colombian, Black, Raizal and Palenquero, especially in key issues related to displacement, dispossession, poverty and violence against individuals and communities, in both rural and urban environments.
I have come across some very interesting site on this topic. I gave brief history because there is just some much to know about the black struggle in Colombia. I wanted to mention this sight: Afrodes. This site has commentary and photos (like the one above) documenting the current situation in Colombia. I also found Afro-Colombian News to be very helpful in regards to information on Law 70.
This project has allowed me to learn about all these issues as I share them with you. I still feel very priveledged to share it.
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