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.

Please remember to visit: http://lati-negros.tumblr.com/

4 comments:

Morena's Bohio said...

Thanks for posting this. Heartbreaking the reality huh? I am often disturbed by the people who claim racism is a thing of the past. I was just reading an older article about the killings that took place in the cities of Tumaco and Buenaventura.

Disturbing

Anonymous said...

Good info, but not 100% accurate, Afro-Colombians have been citizens before 1993, in 1993 they were given entitlement to their lands and Colombia self-recognized itself as a multi-racial nation. Other websites discuss this, www.afrocolombiany.org, www.afrocolombia.org, and http://axe-cali.tripod.com/cepac/hispafrocol/1.htm have good information on the history or Afro-Colombians.

The Résumé Writing Professional said...

I'm glad I came across this blog. I did a Google search of blogs about Afro-Latinos. I'm an African-America who explores African heritage in Spanish-speaking countries through travel and research, thus my own blog: African American-Latino World.

I had the pleasure of visiting Cartagena, Colombia and felt right at home, even though it was evident that I'm an Afro-Gringo, LOL. My purpose of visiting Cartagena was to visit San Basilio de Palenque (hi Moreno's Bohio).

Bill
African American-Latino World
www.ahorasecreto.blogspot.com

Wayne said...

I am moving to Barranquilla. It is an area with as you say poverty. It is also an area where people enjoy life and their connections to the earth and their ancestors, including their connections to Africa. The new Museo Caribe is a great treasure there. You can read more about the area and my experiences at www.blackinlatinamerica.wordpress.com

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