I love how my twitter community is always educating me. I met a brethren online that educated me a bit about the struggle amongst Black Colombians, which I had not been exposed to before. With this post I want to educate on the current situation amongst Black Colombians, also, with this post I also want to introduce new language to describe the fight for liberation amongst Black Colombians. So, let me rephrase, I met a brethren online that educated me a bit about the oppressive forces against Black Colombians by the Colombian government. You see, it takes much longer to say but it tells a more accurate story.
Let’s starts with the positive, the brethren online taught me a new word, Africanity or Africanidad, which is what his platform, CEADA – Ciclo de Conferencias de Estudios Africanos y Diaspora Africana – promotes and helps Black/African people in Colombia to self-identify as Black or African, as opposed to Latinidad, which is a Eurocentric ideology and White Supremacy system. He also stated that they are fighting for a La Republica Independiente del Pacifico – an independent Black republic on the pacific coast. The problem has been the loyalty that Black Colombians have had to Colombia in which they go as far as self-discrimination to identify with white supremacy.
As I began to educate myself more, I found that the Colombian civil war, 1964-present, leaves many black people tortured and displaced by the Colombia government; and even as they seek refuge, they go from one terror to another. An activist group who survived a major attack, only survived to be found by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), being tortured and detained simply for fighting for their rights as Black citizens. This was all in 2019!
Black people in Colombia are refused access to proper education, water, food, and are disposed of as non-humans. One person described it as ethnic cleansing, which is exactly what it is. A peace deal that was signed actually led to close to 600 activist and community leaders being killed, 80% of Black people being forced into poverty, and police violence that includes rape! Guess who also benefits from the land that Black people are being wiped out from, the World Bank! They benefit from tourism and the expansion of the land as Black people are wiped out of those areas. Which is why I always tell people not to trust these organizations that falsely claim they are bringing peace to Black nations.
Choco, Cauca, Nariño and Buenaventura in Valle Del Cauca, are all areas in Colombia where most Black people are residents, and are targets for violence towards Black Colombians. To learn more, follow the hashtag #SOSBuenaventura on Twitter. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Areas around the world, especially in Africa, where resources that are managed by Black people are, get terrorized all in the name of capitalism and greed! The area in Colombia that was the most resource rich became militarized to gain unwarranted control of those resources, which led to kidnapping and displacement of Africans! I will call them Africans because the Colombian identity doesn’t deserve to be placed on them, after all they’ve been through at the hand of White supremacist Colombians. Let me explain something, there is no Black and Brown alliance, most times, in my experience, Latinos claiming brown identities are just tanned and 5% Black somewhere down the line. The truth is, they are just as dangerous to the safety of Blackness as people who fully see themselves as white. We have to start and continue calling these people out, as it is affecting the well being of the Afro-Latinx community, which I now know to call, the Africanidad community.
The Colombian government benefits from Blackness in tourism attractions, food, and culture, while simultaneously trying to wipe out Black people, sound familiar? We have to stop patronizing these facilities and organizations that have a sole purpose of making Black people make them look good. When we travel to these countries, see the people, patronize the people, and believe the stories of the people. All the pro-capitalist people think it’s ok to benefit from someone’s hard work with money that they’ll never see, that’s wrong. Organizations like the one I highlighted in yesterday’s post, NoirBnB, is black owned and provides comfortable spaces for Black people to feel valued while we travel.
Today is Forward Friday, so I must use this opportunity to say how we can move forward in the case of Colombia. First, we listen to the stories, listen to the actual people, not just some studies by an organization run by white people who use those studies with no help for the actual people. Just as I took a story of a supporter from twitter and told it as accurately as I could have, that is what we do, we create spaces for the stories followed by action! The brethren online who educated me has 3 particular initiatives including the CEADA I mentioned above, a YouTube channel educating people on Afro-Colombian culture, and a T-shirt store representing images of African liberation, support him! I also found an organization called Afroresistance, which is an organization that fights for human rights and racial justice throughout the Americas. Part of their advocacy is organizing international solidarity trips, they advocate and educate on the real issues that are forced upon Black activists and citizens by Latin countries in the Americas. Afroresistance is led and run by all Africanidad Black women, Black women at it again! Support organizations like these that are on the frontlines bringing real advocacy to real people.
Any black person reading that has an important story to bring light to as part of their culture or heritage, let me know! Let’s tell our stories and advocate to make change together!