Essential Afro-Latino/ Caribbean Current Events

Discussion in 'The Root' started by Poitier, Sep 14, 2014.

  1. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    World Bank: Afro-descendants in Latin America have made significant progress

    08/29/2018 - 6:56 PM

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    Afro-descendants in Latin America have made significant progress in terms of reduction of poverty and the recognition of their agenda, but much work remains to be done to eliminate the structural barriers that impede their full social and economic inclusion, according to a new World Bank report.

    One out of four Latin-Americans identify as Afro-descendants, which is equivalent to about 133 million people. A large majority lives in Brazil and the rest is distributed heterogeneously among the other countries.

    They also constitute a disproportionately high proportion of people in poverty, according to the report Afro-descendants in Latin America: Toward a Framework of Inclusion, presented this Wednesday in San José, Costa Rica.

    "This report is an important step towards a better understanding of the situation in which Afro-descendants live and helping to boost their social inclusion and improve their economic situation in Latin America", said Vice President and Chancellor of Costa Rica, Epsy Campbell.

    Afro-descendants are 2.5 times more likely to live in chronic poverty than whites or mestizos. When taken together, Afro-descendants in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru and Uruguay represent 38 percent of the total population, but half of those living in extreme poverty.

    Moreover, they have fewer years of schooling, experience more unemployment and are underrepresented in decision-making positions, both public and private.

    "Addressing the causes of structural discrimination is fundamental to fighting injustice and creating opportunities for all", said Jorge Familiar, Vice President of the World Bank for Latin America and the Caribbean.

    "Eliminating the conditions that limit the full inclusion of Afro-descendants will promote a more just, prosperous and egalitarian Latin American society".

    Despite the challenges, great progress has been made in recent years. The past decade witnessed a remarkable improvement in the living conditions of many Afro-descendants, who benefited from a broad reduction in the regional poverty rate. For example, more than 50 percent of Afro-descendant households were lifted out of poverty in Brazil and Uruguay, and more than 20 percent in Ecuador and Peru. Afro-descendants also experienced greater access to education in Latin America, although the gap with the white and mestizo population still persists.

    The growth of an Afro-descendant political class and their organizations pushed several countries to incorporate constitutional changes regarding discrimination, property rights and ethnic-racial recognition of their population. Other countries approved legal instruments to safeguard the rights of Afro-descendants, such as affirmative action, awareness campaigns and anti-discrimination laws, as well as their inclusion in the census.

    According to the report, much remains to be done to solve the complex problem of exclusion, which is at the center of efforts by the World Bank to have a more level playing field. The goal is to improve opportunities and access to markets and services for excluded groups, with respect to their vision and aspirations. Bearing in mind that Afro-descendants are a heterogeneous population, policies must be designed taking into account the specific conditions of each country, subregion and, often, of each situation.

    This requires more and better data, beyond the censuses, which were an important first step. Policies must have clear and measurable objectives, in key areas such as education, employment opportunities and equitable wages. Additionally, racial stereotypes must be confronted and eliminated, and Afro-descendant organizations must be empowered to increase their voice, participation and bargaining power, taking advantage of the progress achieved in recent years by their leaders.

    According to the report, the growing recognition of Afro-descendants represents a long-awaited break with a past that began one of the darkest chapters of Latin American history: slavery and its terrible legacy of social exclusion.

    World Bank: Afro-descendants in Latin America have made significant progress
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  2. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    The Hidden Narrative of Racial Inequity in Puerto Rico

    By Cyndi Suarez

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    On a recent visit to Puerto Rico, I realized just how much narrative has to do with the challenges the island faces and its response to those. Though it is a fertile land and has a highly educated population and a vibrant, resourceful culture, Puerto Rico is poorer than Mississippi, the poorest US state. Loíza, the blackest municipality in Puerto Rico, is the poorest on the island. A newly forming nonprofit, Caribbean Cultural Corridor, a network of local economies for local Black art, seeks to challenge anti-black narratives on the island, starting in Loíza.

    A group of about 30 leaders concerned with racial inequity in Puerto Rico met in Loíza in August to advance the development of the Corridor. The conversation quickly got interesting when the group was asked, “What is your experience of race in Puerto Rico?” Here is what some of them said:

    Melanie Rodriguez, university student: “How is it possible that I can’t get a BA in Black Studies without leaving the island?”

    Olga Chapman Rivera, business professional: “Our parents moved us out of our black neighborhood because of the crime and drugs, to a white neighborhood and a private white school. We learned to see our roots and something that is not so desirable. The idea was to come out of blackness and out of the ‘hood in order to advance in life. I had to make a journey back.”

    Denisse Lanzo Cortijo, social worker and local municipal legislator: “In Loíza, there is negro de [black from] Piñones, negro del [black from] pueblo, negro de Colobos. Even in Loíza, a black town, we divide ourselves.”

    Aaron Gamaliel Ramos, university professor: “This doesn’t happen so much with educated blacks. My friend says, ‘You’re black, but you didn’t go through what I went through.’ We differentiate between black and evidently black. How do we talk about blacks? Here we are celebrating black, but out there they do not.”

    Modesta Irizarry, community leader: “It’s important to know the story of the towns and communities. How you talk about it as professionals is also different from how we talk about it in the community. People have been displaced to build high-income housing, which is still empty. Because of the hurricane, this is easier. They got very little for their land, being treated as blacks. The government doesn’t care about Loíza. Why don’t they build livable housing for the people already here? We are not just culture, we are valuable as people. I asked a government official, why not give me one of the three new buildings for the people of Tocones, and he said, ‘We can’t do that.’ I said, ‘You can’t do that because it doesn’t benefit you as a corrupt politician, but it can be done.’ You’re not better than me. I even say that to well-off blacks. The trash here is not thrown out by the blacks of Loíza, but the visitors who think they can trash our neighborhood. A black cop will say, ‘Get down on the dirt negra [black woman].’ ‘Spread your legs negra.’ It’s not just about valuing blackness, but valuing nature.”

    Maria Elba Torres Muñoz, university professor: “Blackness in Loíza is different because you are together, but there are blacks everywhere in the island and many of them are isolated as blacks.”

    The tensions were evident within the group. Very clearly and early on, the differences between the mostly black leaders were named. These include differences of class, education level, and geography. They reveal the fractal nature of oppression, where the patterns are similar across scale. For example, during the lunch that followed, a small group of women from Tocones, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Loíza, wanted to tell me their story of their marginalization within Loíza. They didn’t feel comfortable sharing it explicitly within the larger group.

    Alicia Carrasquillo Ortiz, who describes herself as a Second Community Leader, says, “In Tocones, it’s like we don’t exist. I scheduled three meetings with the mayor and she has cancelled them all. I waited all day in the office, but she never came. I bring simple questions from the community. She isn’t interested. For example, the sewer system erupts in front of our house leaving black waters [contaminated sewer water] where kids play, and they don’t fix it. It’s not even our sewer system, but from the new luxury apartments on either side of us, Aquatika and Costa Mar. Many of the residents are local whites from other towns. Apartments in Aquatika start at $200,000.”

    Issues of racism, economic displacement, and narrative interlock. Moreno Vega speaks to it when she says, “Displacement of black people is happening everywhere around the world. So, the idea of this Corridor is to establish the places of historical importance in Loíza, that it be from an Afro-centered view, to determine the narrative and imagery.”

    The proposed Corridor would run along Loíza 187, one of the main roads. It would indicate the historic places of the town and illustrate how it was created by runaway slaves. It would also showcase two art destinations featuring the most notable local artists. Artesanías Castor Ayala is a small gallery opened in 1959 by Castor Ayala, who was my grand-uncle and raised my mother. Also featured is Samuel Lind Studios, the live-and-work space of a very well-known painter and sculptor. He is also an Ayala through maternal lineage; these families have influenced each other artistically and are known as stewards of local African history, wisdom, and aesthetics. It is easy to spend a day with Samuel listening to his passionate stories about the great singers who visit him to learn about this heritage and weave it into now-famous songs, like Héctor Lavoe, or the indigenous and relatively unknown people who still live in the mangrove in Loíza. It’s as if no one told these families that blackness is looked down upon, and that’s all for the best. I have always experienced them as loving, humble, and noble, and consider myself blessed to have grown up in such a family where anti-blackness was not present.

    An online search for things to do in Loíza quickly reveals other destinations. The Hacienda Campo Rico Heritage Tour takes the visitor to a former sugar cane plantation. Piñones, Puerto Rico’s largest mangrove forest, is near Loíza Beach, which is lined with Afro-Caribbean food kiosks. The Maria de La Cruz Cave, “an enormous formation of limestone origin, whose measurements are 164 feet wide, 82 deep and 98 high, is one of the 72 archaeological sites documented in Loíza, according to the State Office of Historic Conservation.” Ricardo E. Algeria, a Puerto Rican anthropologist and archaeologist known as “father of modern Puerto Rican archeology, excavated the cave to great fanfare. Yale published a book by Alegria on the excavations.

    The Corridor seeks to better organize these artists and stewards and link them to one another to help build a more viable and equitable local economy. It will build on the work of COPI [La Corporación Piñones Se Integra, or Piñones Integration Corp.], which focuses on cultural and ecotourism, by providing workshops on conscious tourism, as opposed to exploitative tourism.

    Edgardo Larregui, a designer on the Corridor project, says, “We don’t want the banal cliché, what is sold to us as the concept of beaches and tropics, coasts and coconuts. Instead, it’s, ‘What do we do with our raw materials?’ ‘How do we create those raw materials into deities, identities?’”

    Dr. Marta Moreno Vega is the visionary behind the Caribbean Cultural Corridor. New York born and raised, she found her way back to the island early on and has spent the last four decades connecting to local black artists and thinkers and promoting their work. She has already identified the building she intends to purchase for the project—a beautiful, abandoned, two-floor structure that sits high on a perch. It is available through foreclosure and needs repair, but it is easy to imagine it as the center of a Caribbean-wide cultural network, as Moreno Vega and her collaborators do.

    The Corridor is also an example of new approaches by stateside nonprofits like the Association of Black Foundation Executives (ABFE), which is expanding its work to the black diaspora. ABFE partnered with the Community Foundation of Puerto Rico (Fundación Comunitaria de Puerto Rico), which is leading the philanthropic work on equity on the island and exploring how to support more explicitly its racial aspects, to host this gathering to build awareness of, solicit feedback for, and build support for the Corridor. The response was a resounding yes.

    Maricruz Rivera Clemente, COPI’s Executive Director, had just gotten back from New Orleans, where she and Mercedes Martinez, President of the Puerto Rico Teachers Federation, met with a group that had visited Puerto Rico in October of last year that is also fighting the closing and privatization of their schools. Rivera Clemente says, "We were sharing about the things we have in common after the hurricanes. The similarities are a lot. Some women in New Orleans were talking about their experiences of leaving to other cities, where they were called refugees. And they said, 'We’re on our land.' And when they went back [to New Orleans], they didn’t have the same structures. Things were different…the privatization of the schools. Now the teachers weren’t black. They came from other places and didn’t know the cultures of the community. The same thing is happening in Puerto Rico. In Piñones and Loíza, when Maria came, the department of education closed the schools immediately. We’ve known that they want to close the schools for a long time now; the excuse for the government was Maria."

    Rivera Clemente also spoke of the issue of violence, “Young black kids are killing young black kids. We are killing ourselves. So we have to work on that, but not in the way the government wants to work with the violence. Since slavery, we have learned to fight against each other.”

    Perhaps one major cause of the violence in Loíza is the high unemployment rate. Though a report by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Department of Labor and Human Resources, Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2015-2016 lists unemployment in Loíza at 11.4 percent, this was before Hurricane Maria. Local municipal legislator Denisse Lanzo Cortijo, who was present at the gathering, said the numbers are closer to 70 percent. So, since the storm, most people in Loíza are unemployed.

    As the group turned to solutions, it quickly became clear that Puerto Rico does not track race rigorously. In fact, people self-identify their race and many choose to whiten their identity. In the 2010 Census, 12.4 percent of the population identified as Black and 75.8 percent as white. Mary Ann Gabino, Senior Vice President at the Community Foundation, proposed academic scholarships to support the study of data on racial equity, which would help identify gaps and generate solutions.

    Recalling the underlying tension between academics and community people at the gathering, Moreno Vega spoke to the need to act now, with on-the-ground solutions identified and led by the people and that generate employment for them. She says, "There’s so much talent in Loíza and no one is paying attention to it. In lifting that, we should train people so they can become entrepreneurs. We always see ourselves as limited. We have young people doing music speaking through the narrative. Training young people in the narrative of culture and empowerment is powerful."

    And with this we come back to narrative, because the underlying and unacknowledged racism hampers current economic development efforts. Rivera Clemente explains, “For example, Piñones, with its culinary kiosks, is a culinary space, but what does the state do? It penalizes the community business by being very slow to provide permits. They make it difficult for people to create businesses. The children of the families aren’t encouraged to keep building the businesses.”

    Puerto Rico has its own well-worn tactics for tabling race when it is made explicit. Musician Welmo Romero Joseph says, “If you try to bring it up, people say we are all equal, it’s more important to talk about colonialism and our status with the US. When we solve that, all the problems will disappear. They say the problem is that we have an inferiority complex.”

    Because this devaluation is built into, or expunged, from the narrative, it appears everywhere, and can feel overwhelming for black people, who can feel like they’re playing a cruel game of whack-a-mole. Romero Joseph says, “There’s so many fronts to fight, you have education, history, media, work…They want black culture, but not black people.”

    Art flourishes in Puerto Rico, and there are already groups like Colectivo Morivivi, a collective of young women artists that has gained recognition for their murals, which aim to sensitize the viewer to the human condition. Much of its work features black Puerto Rican women. There is a lot to build on, connect, and amplify.

    Institutional power helps, which is why Moreno Vega seeks to build the Corridor. Rivera Clemente says, “Support is not just money, but credibility.”

    In spite of the spread of anti-black narratives, Moreno Vega would argue that is precisely because of that that narrative work is critical, especially now. She concludes, “Pathology and lies are becoming normalized. This conversation is so upfront, deadly, and targeted. We can’t accept that as normal. That you’re the lone wolf saying it makes you a target. What’s the interdisciplinary action that one takes to normalize our narrative?”

    The Hidden Narrative of Racial Inequity in Puerto Rico
     
  3. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    Maroon women go to the Constituent National Assembly to claim their right to be included in the Constitution

    By: Prensa Cumbe Marrón | Wednesday, 09/05/2018 | 01:08 AM

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    A group of Afro-descendant Maroon women from the Juan Ramón Lugo Afro-descendant Revolutionary Movement and the Association of Parranderos of San Juan attended the Constituent National Assembly in the morning hours on Tuesday, specifically the Human Rights Commission, presided over by Dr. Maria Alejandra Diaz, to demand the inclusion of Afro-descendant men and women into the Constitution.

    Hailing from the states of Miranda, Aragua, Vargas and Caracas, they left home in the early hours of the morning, in spite of transportation problems, to establish a dialogue about the right to be included in the Constitution. The leaders included Teresa Rodríguez, former deputy from Vargas, Margarita, Ingrid Quiroz, Belkis Calzadilla, among others. Dr. Carmen Sanz, member of this group of Afro-descendant women explained in great detail the urgent need to advance the Magna Carta regarding our recognition as founders of this country. If Brazil under President Lula, Ecuador under President Correa and Bolivia under President Evo Morales have done it, why has this right been denied in the Venezuelan Magna Carta? We know progress has been made by almost ninety percent as far as the constitutional reform is concerned. We are here to make sure our constituents do not make the mistakes of the past by leaving us out of it.

    The President of the Human Rights Commission recognizes that the Juan Ramón Lugo Movement and now the Afro-descendant Maroon women are the only organizations that have had a high value conscience to approach and expose this issue which we have addressed with enthusiasm and we can inform in advance that a constitutional article has been prepared. For the Maroons, it is not just an article, which they appreciate; it is about fighting, placing ourselves at the forefront and creating a chapter to settle the historical debt.

    Enrique Arrieta, who accompanied the Maroons, said that while it is true that the Bolivarian process has achieved some recognition in the legal field, we need our fair recognition in the Constitution, for which we ask for a right of speech to expose our constitutional petition.

    Among them was the leader of PPT, Rafael Uzcátegui, whose demands included not only the field of constitutional recognition, but also the field of social, cultural and economic reparations for people of African descent for having lived through more than three centuries of slavery. Below is the document presented by the Afro-descendant Maroon women:

    The majority of Afro-descendant households in Venezuela are under the responsibility of women. Afro-descendant women demographically are the majority among our towns as well as the majority of household leaders.

    But beyond that, we have been protagonists from slavery to the construction of Participatory Democracy. We have been protagonists of history as evident in the struggles against slavery through Maroonage, as well as our participation as soldiers and nurses in the War of Independence, in the guerrilla struggles of the 1960's, using as an example Maria Leon and Argelia Laya who also contributed to the construction of Participatory Democracy.

    Our country is a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, as well as the Convention of Belém do Pará on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women.

    This international legal framework is connected with the Constitution and therefore it must be recognized in the new constitutional reform.

    Article 3 of the Convention on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women states that:

    "States Parties shall take in all fields, particularly political, social, economic and cultural fields, all the appropriate measures, including legislative measures, to ensure full development and advancement of women, in order to guarantee the exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms under equal conditions..."

    Unfortunately, due to the prolonged crisis we are living in clinging to the hopes of the Bolivarian process, as Afro-Venezuelan women we are condemned to oblivion, we lack the support of institutions such as the Ministry of Women, the Ministry of Communes, the Ministry of Culture and our respective State governments. Some of our leaders have been murdered, especially in the Barlovento region, and for them, neither their children nor their relatives received any kind of government attention and this attitude on the part of the corresponding government bodies is not just a violation of the Convention Against Racism, but also a violation of the Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence Against Women.

    We, members of the Juan Ramón Lugo Afro-Revolutionary Movement and the Parranderas of San Juan, as part of the Afro-Venezuelan women collective, urge the Constituent National Assembly to include Afro-descendant men and women in the Preamble to the Constitution and the preparation of a specific chapter in said constitution that endorses Afro-descendant men and women.

    Considering that the last Afro-descendant women murdered in Aragua and Miranda states, in the Las Delicias and Cumbo parishes (Girardot and Andrés Bello municipalities) constituted a benchmark of love for work and the Bolivarian process, we regret that there has not been any pronouncements or actions on the part of the Ministry of Women, the Public Ministry or the Ombudsman to help mitigate their families against these reprehensible events and to enforce the provisions of the Inter-American Convention on Violence Against Women, which states "Every woman has the right to the recognition, enjoyment, exercise and protection of all human rights and freedoms embodied in regional and international human rights instruments. These rights include, among others:


    1. The right to have her life respected;
    2. The right to have her physical, mental and moral integrity respected;
    3. The right to personal liberty and security;
    4. The right not to be subjected to torture;
    5. The rights to have the inherent dignity of her person respected and her family protected;
    6. The right to equal protection before the law and of the law;
    7. The right to simple and prompt recourse to a competent court for protection against acts that violate her rights.

    Maroon women go to the Constituent National Assembly to claim their right to be included in the Constitution
     
  4. Dip

    Dip diver, civilize you 85ers

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    maroon gang
    cimarrones gang
     
  5. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    Community regains 54,000 hectares of land

    The Community Council of the Yurumanguí River Basin obtained a historic restitution.

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    Celebration in El Firme: they recovered their land, and now they fight to return to their customs. Photo: Restitución

    By: Santiago Villadiego | September 02 2018, 11:02 p.m.

    The Calima paramilitary bloc permanently silenced the neighborhood of El Firme, in the Yurumanguí River (city of Buenaventura) on April 28, 2001, with a massacre that claimed the lives of seven fishermen. That day they arrived at three in the morning at this hidden paradise in the waters of the Pacific and made the majority of the people get out of the beach.

    As 15 days before this same group, on behalf of Ever Veloza aka HH, had murdered about 100 people in the well-known El Naya massacre, on the boundaries of the Cauca and Valle del Cauca departments, that night they avoied firing guns so as not to draw the attention of the Public Force that was in the area.

    Carlos Londoño aka Félix and Yesid Pacheco aka el Cabo selected the seven persons they were going to kill. Prior to that, they raped two women and burned some houses. They had decided to kill them with an ax.

    "The boat with the paramilitaries arrived at three in the morning. It was raining, but they removed our brothers from our houses with axes and grenades at hand. Burning everything down, raping and drinking", recalled a woman who was only 8 years old when she witnessed the massacre.

    This slaughter destroyed the social fabric of the Yurumanguí. No one wanted to return to El Firme, and the green jungle covered the place the paramilitaries decided was not worthy of escaping the atrocities of the conflict.

    This neighborhood was one 13 that made up the Community Council of the Yurumanguí River Basin. Despite the El Firme massacre and all kinds of violence suffered by this Afro-Colombian population, last weekend they were celebrating.

    The Superior Court of Cali issued a sentence at the beginning of February of this year restoring this community's territorial rights over 54,776 hectares. Last week, the Land Restitution Unit made the ceremony that reaffirmed this judicial decision.

    And this is historic because it is the first sentence of restitution of land in favor of ethnic communities in Valle del Cauca. It is the twelfth one in the country, although it is only the second one in favor of Afro-descendants.

    Dalia Mina, legal representative of the community, stressed that it was the presence of the FARC since 1998 that made them become a target for the paramilitaries.

    "They unionized the leaders and pointed at us as if we were all part of the FARC. It took a long process to recognize us civilians and those who were guerrillas", explained Dalia.

    The purpose of the sentence, apart from restitution, is for the State to support this population in order to recover their cultural practices lost due to the conflict.

    "When a woman was about to give birth, as the houses were distant from one another, a neighbor was informed, and when the child was born and it was a boy, they would let off a shot in the air with a shotgun. If it was a girl, they would shoot twice. It worked as a means of communication, but it stopped being done because of fear. If shots were fired, the locals thought the armed groups had arrived again", Dalia said. "These are cultural practices that we hope to recover", she added.

    Community regains 54,000 hectares of land
     
  6. loyola llothta

    loyola llothta ☭☭☭

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    US Recalls Diplomats in Panama, Dominican Republic, El Salvador

     
  7. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    Indigenous, Afro-Peruvian, white or mestizo? This is how Peruvians responded to the census question

    Wednesday September 12 2018, 19:23

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    The total population of the country stood at 31,237,385. (Photo: INEI)

    The 2017 Censuses: XII Population Census, VII Housing Census and III Indigenous Communities Census revealed that around 30 percent of Peruvians over 12 years of age identify themselves as indigenous or Afro-Peruvian.

    This was revealed by vice minister of Interculturality of the Ministry of Culture, Elena Burga, who described this proportion as "very interesting" and explained that 25,80 percent identifies as part of one of the indigenous or original peoples (the equivalent to 5,985,551 people); while close to 4 percent identifies as part of the Afro-Peruvian population, the equivalent to 828,841 Peruvians, which makes them visible for priority and adequate attention.

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    Therefore, she added, the percentages are symptomatic in a country that still carries a rather colonial mentality. "It was difficult to know what could result from the question of ethnic self-identification that has been formulated for the first time since the 1940s. Back then the people were asked about their race, now there is this much more valuable question because it considers elements such as heritage, cultural characteristics, customs and ancestors", the official pointed out to Agencia Andina.

    "There was a lot of speculation, but the truth is the data collected is very interesting, including 60,2 percent that identified as mestizo (13,965,254 people) and a little over 5 percent identified as white (1,366,931), because in other circumstances the percentage would have been higher. It was thought that very few people would identify as indigenous, as Afro-descendant or one of the Afro-Peruvian categories, but that was not the case", she said.

    "So the great challenge we have is to continue working so that by the Peruvian Bicentennial progress has been made in the attention towards 30 percent of Peruvians who identify as part of the indigenous and Afro-Peruvian population", she said.

    Burga mentioned that the results will help to close gaps, as intervention in health, education, agriculture and other sectors should prioritize the attention — including land titling — to this indigenous and Afro-Peruvian population, to whom sometimes services do not arrive or they arrive inadequately.

    She also mentioned that the information collected will be useful for, in addition to commitment to other sectors, increasing, for example, the visits made by the Itinerant Platforms of Social Action (Plataformas itinerantes de acción social, PIAS) to remote populations living in river banks and the Amazon and Andean regions.

    Translators and interpreters

    "The Ministry of Culture hires the translators and interpreters that go in the PIAS and guarantee the cultural and linguistic mediation that is required for the populations to access in the best way the various services offered by the State", the vice minister said.

    In this context, she announced that Peru has 347 translators and interpreters for close to 37 of the 48 native languages we have, in approximately 19 regions. "This is non-stop work. For example, at this moment there is a new group of 50 translators and interpreters of 15 languages who are starting their training in Cusco, but they come from several regions", she noted.

    She also argued that with the results the Ministry of Culture will be able to put more emphasis on the use of translators and interpreters so that different sectors can provide their services in a more appropriate manner, because the census also includes another question about the mother tongue.

    In this regard, she said the result of this question is that approximately 15,8 percent of the national population in general has an indigenous or original language as their mother tongue.

    "Likewise, this result is important because this figure has increased by one point when we thought it could decrease as throughout the history of Peru the number of people who have an indigenous language as their mother tongue has been decreasing due to the stronghold Castilian has on public services, school, media, among other factors. Only in recent year has the Peruvian government been working on public policies for the use and valuation of indigenous languages", she said.

    Burga added that currently there are many people who value Quechua, Aymara and the Amazonian languages and suggested that at least one language should be taught, like Quechua.

    She stressed that "we need to advance even more in the recognition and visibility of indigenous peoples, both at the level of services as well as culture and language."

    The vice minister said that the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI) will continue giving detailed reports by regions and by indigenous populations, but the Ministry of Culture also makes some important intersections to have much more accurate information.

    "For example, we already have the precedent that 74 percent of the indigenous population has not finished secondary education. It is a tremendous fact challenges as a country, as a State, and the Ministry of Education, with the support of the Ministry of Culture, must take decisions fast to guarantee access to and completion of secondary education for indigenous students. The same goes for about 68 percent of the Afro-Peruvian population. This is what the census is telling us now", she said.

    Data

    According to the results of the 2017 Census, the total population of the country stood at 31,237,385, of which 29,381,884 people represent the people surveyed on October 22 2017 and 1,855,501 represent the omitted population that was calculated through the Census Evaluation Survey, the equivalent to an omission rate of 5,94 percent.

    Indigenous, Afro-Peruvian, white or mestizo? This is how Peruvians responded to the census question
     
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  8. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    The black population and the dispute over the dictatorship of the past

    By Aline Bernardes | September 13 2018

    Brazil is going through testing times of political turmoil and disuputes over the past. On both ends of the political spectrum, political parties claim the past, whether to celebrate the "good times" lived during the military dictatorship or to remember the repression and authoritarianism.

    But within the left there is a new political, revolutionary and disruptive movement, composed of black youth from the peripheries, who have been observing history, including the dictatorship, from a race, gender and class perspective.

    For this group, it is necessary to remember that State terrorism against black people is synonymous with Brazil and the perversity of the State does not begin with the dictatorship, nor does it end with the restoration of democracy.

    Having this in mind, it is important to mention that historical moments such as the dictatorship must also be rediscussed, and will be in the exhibit "50 Years of AI-5 — It Is Still Not Over", which began September 4 on the Tomie Ohtake Institute and will continue until November 4.

    Provoked by the course "Arms, Arts and Struggles: rediscussing Gender and Race in Military Dictatorship Brazil" taught by professor Flávia Rios at the Fluminense Federal University, I would like to reflect on certain impacts the military regime had on race issues: the adoption of the racial democracy myth as the official State ideology; the purging of professors from the University of São Paulo that conducted researches on race relations; the persecution, monitoring and control of Afro-descendant figures and groups of the black movement that discussed racism inside and outside of Brazil; the erasure of black resistance during the regime.

    Under the Military Dictatorship, the racial democracy myth became a State ideology. So much so that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made a point to keep black intellectuals from leaving the country to attend meetings about black issues. Figures such as Abdias do Nascimento and Clóvis Moura were victims of this process.

    The dictatorship also turned into a break from scientific production. The University of São Paulo lost several intellectuals, who were forcibly retired by the institution in 1968. These include Florestan Fernandes, Fernando Henrique Cardoso e Otavio Ianni, central figures in the research on race relations.

    As far as the political struggle is concerned, there is also the erasure of historical accounts, suppression of black leadership and a break from the tradition of resistance of the early twentieth century.

    Little is known about the black people who participated in the armed struggle, or even the ones who lead guerrillas against the regime. What is known concerns names such as Carlos Marighella, Osvaldão, Thereza Santos e Helenira Rezende; as a matter of fact, Marighella was immortalized by Racionais MC's in a song that recalls his fight and resistance.

    It is also during the last years of the dictatorship that the black movement builds antiracist political organizations, with the participation of youth from several left-wing groups, inspired by the independence movements in Africa and the fight of the Black Panthers against the North American empire.

    It is in 1978 that figures such as Milton Barbosa, Lélia Gonzalez, and Hamilton Cardoso found one of the most successful experiences in the fight against racism, the Unified Black Movement (MNU). With internal political diversity, MNU starts to guide the fight against capitalism and the status quo in Brazil from a perspective that would take into consideration the fundamentals of race and class.

    In this context, it is also possible to recall moments such as the foundation of FECONEZU, the Zumbi Black Community Festival and the claim by Grupo Palmares, since 1971, to adopt November 20 as the day of the black community instead of May 13, which was still carried by a paternalistic perspective, of a supposed act of kindness on the part of princess Isabel.

    It is in 1977 that one of the main Brazilian literary expressions is born. Following on the footsteps of Machado de Assis, Lima Barreto and Carolina Maria de Jesus, some of the major names in national literature, the Cadernos Negros arise, which reached the mark of 40 uninterrupted years in 2017, with the publishing of consecrated names for us although little known by the mainstream, such as Cuti, Esmeralda Ribeiro, Oswaldo de Camargo and Miriam Alves, just to name a few.

    These are figures who start to define strategies to enable the existence of a black movement as an important political actor in the national stage, one that cannot be put aside. A movement that occupies strategic places in society such as public institutions of higher education, has consistent political organizations and influential figures in the public sphere.

    These are some of the elements that corroborate the idea that, in spite of the barriers imposed to the black community, whether through repression or through the adoption of the racial democracy myth as a State policy, there was an active participation in the resistance against the regime and the possibility to build a victorious political strategy in the combat against racism.

    Moreover, it must be highlighted that if capitalism in Brazil and the structure of domination were created under the pilars of race, gender and class, there must be a view over history that respects these fundamentals.

    The black population and the dispute over the dictatorship of the past
     
  9. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    New York City’s Garifuna Community Preserves Its Rich Culture Through Food

    [​IMG]
    Catherine Ochún Soliz-Rey and her mother wearing valerias, two-piece traditional wear. Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla

    By Janel Martinez | Friday, September 14, 2018 at 6:31 PM EDT

    The Garinagu – plural for Garifuna – have a rich history, reflected in many ways, particularly through food. The savory, multi-step – sometimes multi-day – creations echo the complex, yet beautiful background of a people who have survived being uprooted and exiled from St. Vincent to settle along Central America’s Caribbean coast.

    Never enslaved, the Garinagu reside in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Honduras, with a small group still in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. However, many have migrated to several cities in the United States to create communities in Texas, Los Angeles, Chicago, New Orleans, and New York City – home of the largest Garifuna population outside of Central America. Most estimates declare the number of Garinagu in NYC at more than 200,000, with a majority settling in the South Bronx.

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    Catherine Ochún Soliz-Rey. Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla

    And despite the lack of Garifuna restaurants in the city and only making up a sliver of New York’s total population, this community has made its mark in a few boroughs. Through conversations with three young women, we learned how the kitchen is a gateway to other aspects of Garifuna culture.

    For Bronx native Catherine Ochún Soliz-Rey, preserving Garifuna traditions and culture is a passion. The women’s empowerment coach and influencer invests a large portion of her time expanding Wabafu Garifuna Dance Theater, a collective founded in 1992 by her mother, dancer Luz F. Soliz, that preserves the richness of the culture and history through dance, music, and storytelling.

    [​IMG]
    Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla

    “Part of our job to preserve the culture is by sharing so that people can know who we are,” Soliz-Rey says. “It’s difficult but we have to bring more awareness to who Garifuna people are and that’s why I find it so important to share when I can whether that’s in my [Instagram] Stories, or directly on my feed, and doing performances.”

    But like many Garinagu, food also plays an important role in her life. Dishes call for ingredients like green and ripe plantains, green bananas, coconut milk, a selection of seafood, fish – many recipes include king fish with red snapper as an alternative – and cassava, among other staples.

    Hudutu, also known as machuca, is a Garifuna must-have made with fish/seafood soup and green and ripe mashed plantains. Similar to West African fufu, hudutu is served in a ball of mashed plátanos that are pounded in a hanaonce they’re cool. Family members share it alongside coconut soup with fish and/or seafood known as falmo. It can also be served with sopa de pescado, duno in Garifuna, as well as chicken soup. Falmo is a favorite for most, but Garinagu have made adaptations based on availability of ingredients, however, one thing is for sure: Hudutu brings families together.

    [​IMG]
    The hana used to mash up food and instruments, such as the concha de tortuga, used by Wabafu Garifuna Dance Theater. Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla

    “I associate hudutu with family and laughter,” shares Soliz-Rey, whose family meets up every Sunday. “We don’t cook it every Sunday but pretty much every time [my mother] has cooked it, it’s been on a Sunday.”

    A seafood lover herself, she enjoys hudutu with all types of seafood but preferably king fish, conch, shrimp, and crab.

    For communications professional Sandra Garcia Lowery, hudutu and many of the other coconut-rich foods that are a part of Garifuna culture aren’t just home in New York, they’re also home in Honduras.

    [​IMG]
    Sandra Garcia Lowery. Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla

    “I associate a lot of dishes with coconut,” says Garcia Lowery, who was born in La Ceiba, Honduras. “That’s because in Honduras our house in San Antonio is right across from the beach, so I associate everything with that tropical-like feel; just that tropical kind of idea of being in Honduras. Because the coconut trees are literally right across the street from us, we’d just go to the beach, get a coconut, open it up and we’d use the coconut milk for everything.”

    Early memories include her mother baking fresh pan de coco and resanbinsi (rice and beans with coconut milk), and another favorite: durudia (tortillas or tortillas de harina). The latter is often associated with Mexican cuisine but is native to Central America and have naturally found their way onto Garifuna tables. There is one main difference, though. Garinagu are known to add coconut milk to their tortillas, and they’re thicker, fluffier and less stretchy than other recipes.

    [​IMG]
    Sandra Garcia Lowery and her cousins after church in San Antonio, Honduras. Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla

    A smile comes over her face as she recalls her mother patting the dough: “My mom used to always make tortillas for us in the morning and that was our breakfast with mashed beans [and crema].”

    Part of the beauty of Garifuna culture is that even in other Central American countries, these traditions remain the same. Evelyn Alvarez is a Brooklyn native whose parents hail from Guatemala. Her mother is from Puerto Barrios and her father from Livingston. From her mom, she learned a vital lesson about food. “You have to respect the food,” says Alvarez, repeating her mother’s words. “Food is love. You have to do it with affection or you don’t do it.”

    She learned this as a middle school student when her mother asked Alvarez to make rice. She made it de mala gana and accidently burned the rice. Instead of a chancletazo, her mother explained why it’s important to put yourself in the cooking process – a lesson that remains imprinted in her mind today.

    “It was something that has stuck with me since, like I feel like I cook with a lot of affection,” she says. “I really want people that I’m cooking for to really enjoy.”

    [​IMG]
    Evelyn Alvarez. Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla

    A mother, doula, and founder of Prom King, a nonprofit that provides dress clothing to young men, Alvarez has her hands full but is passing the traditions on, including within her own home to her 13-year-old son. “The last time I took my son to Guatemala, he was constantly eating pan de coco. He kept saying ‘it’s not the same’ [as in the US].”

    Similarly, she’s made sure to make the most of her trips back home, where she indulges in her favorite foods, including fried fish, fritas de guineo, rice and beans, curtido, bocadillos, and casabe (known as ereba in Garifuna).

    Ereba, a cracker-thin bread made of yuca (cassava), is a woman-led creation. In recent years, it’s become commercialized and packaged at mass, but ereba making in its truest form consists of various steps, requiring women to come together to assist in the multi-day process, particularly during the peeling and grinding phases. Once the cassava is gathered from the fields, it’s peeled, washed, ground, strained, and baked. A product of straining, the cassava flour is spread into a circle on a large hot stove, smoothed and flattened with a wooden slab with excess flour being swept away with a small, hand-held broom. This process alone takes hours and it’s not until the next day that the ereba is stored and often divvied up among family and the larger community. For Garinagu miles away from home, it’s something to look forward to when family members bring suitcases or boxes filled with ereba.

    “I love my casabe with cheese,” says Garcia Lowery, who lists Honduran cheese as a favorite. “My process is I like the casabe dry and crispy, or you wet it a little bit and then you roll the cheese up inside of it.” She requests cheese from Honduras – “the saltier, the better,” she says – each time her father goes back home, and he obliges.

    [​IMG]
    Evelyn Alvarez outside her home in the Bronx, NY. Photo by Itzel Alejandra Martinez for Remezcla

    Although she came to the United States at a young age, spending her formative years in New York City, the millennial marketing maven has a renewed sense to invest in preserving Garifuna culture. “We can do our part of preserving culture by spending more time, while we have it, with our parents and our grandparents – those of us who are lucky to have them. Just soak up those stories so we can pass them along, but not just stories also foods.”

    Garcia Lowery has turned a binder with blank pages into a recipe book. She’s filling it with Garifuna recipes from her mother. Similar to baking ereba – that is, the distance affects the end result – she’s had to adapt the recipes because of her current surroundings. But as she builds a written record for future generations of her family, she can’t help but look to the past. “Like my grandmother, I still remember her when I was younger going off to the mountains and coming back with stuff on her head, bringing it down and me being a little girl wanting to carry things on my head down the mountain, too,” she laughs. “Trying not to fall ‘cause it was very steep.”

    Garifuna dishes are mainly found within the homes of those from the culture. But as more immigrate to the states, it’s become a source of revenue so it’s not uncommon to purchase certain items from family friends or even a restaurant. Soliz-Rey enjoys baleadas, a Honduran dish made with flour tortillas and refried red beans. It’s customizable enough that you can add an array of ingredients.

    “It’s something I pretty much make I would say at least every other weekend at home, so I love to have my baleadas. And if I can’t on the weekends, I might just buy it. There’s a few, not many, restaurants I go to that I’ll pick it up and sometimes, I’ll take it to rehearsal.”

    As her mom has passed on dance and food – among other cultural practices – to her, the entrepreneur will instill the same in her future descendants.

    “For me, it’s very important that I pass on everything that my mom did for me to my children because I’ve seen, I’ve felt first-hand how much it’s helped me in everything,” she affirms. “Just how I move, how I talk, how I feel about myself because I know myself.”

    Some say that Garifuna culture is fading away with each generation, however, that narrative is simply untrue. Things have undoubtedly changed due to migration, modernization, displacement, and access to resources, to name a few things, but if history serves as a blueprint, the Garinagu will not only survive but progress – even if it’s through cuisine, one recipe at a time.

    New York City’s Garifuna Community Preserves Its Rich Culture Through Food
     
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  10. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    '50 percent of the Afro-descendant population in the country is victimized'

    Santiago Arboleda, an expert in migration of Afro-descendant communities, presents a real image of racism.

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    In order to combat discrimination, says Arboleda, there needs to be more equity in the distribution of resources. Photo: Joaquín Sarmiento / AFP

    September 18, 2018, 10:15 p.m.

    Colombian researcher Santiago Arboleda is recognized worldwide as one of the most important Afro-Colombian thinkers on issues surrounding the effects of racism in dispossession and its impact on the environment.

    The expert, who is currently a professor at the Simón Bolívar Andean University (based in Ecuador) and has been in Colombia giving a lecture at the Central University, spoke to EL TIEMPO about the processes of reparations to Afro-descendant communities, the racial discrimination that persists in the country and the peace agreement with the FARC.

    What is the situation of Afro-descendants in Colombia?

    During the last 20 years, the conflict was concentrated in the South, primarly among Afro-descendant communities: Cauca, Nariño and Chocó, and the indigenous communities. In the last 15 years, massacres and the number of internally displaced persons and refugees increased, and the recruitment of minors, the raping of young girls and women and environmental damage accelerated. The destruction of nature caused irreparable damage to the communities, their development and the environmentally friendly practices that had been carried out in Colombia.

    The magnitude of the massacres, including leaders of reservations and councils, and social leaders in general, show that we are facing a genocide. These are very serious political crimes.

    After the peace agreement with the guerrillas, did violence against this population decrease?

    After the signing of the peace agreement, the situation was held back for a year; it was not totally suspended, but the rates fell. However, as we approach two years since the signing of the agreement, what we see is that the war intensified in the entire coast of Nariño.

    After the agreement, after the victory of 'No' in the plebiscite, the territorial dispute has sharpened in these communities. The conflict is concentrated in the Afro-descendant population, in Tumaco and in the entire coast of Nariño. The number of refugees from Buenaventura and the Pacific coast of Valle del Cauca and Nariño arriving in Ecuador increased; the number skyrocketed, and the cruelty intensified. It has not stopped, and we have yet to see any real action by the National Government to stop this.

    Does violence have a relationship with skin color?

    Yes, of course, and this includes the indigenous people, because it happens in the regions where the majority of the Afro-descendant and indigenous population is concentrated. For example, in the Pacific region, the Caribbean, La Guajira — where there is an Afro-Wayú presence —, in the Magdalena River and in Northeastern Antioquia. The armed conflict expelled them from their historical territories, where they remained well into the twentieth century, and that is why you see the increase of Afro-descendant communites in the capitals. They fall into the displaced category, everything is taken away from them and they enter a state of mendicancy for being Afro-Colombian. They are murdered to frighten and displace those who remain alive.

    There is a structural exclusion and chronic marginalization linked to historical structural racism. Development and supply of basic needs are concentrated in regions such as the Andean region and not in places where the ethnic groups or races are located. It is not a problem of absence of technology or economic resources. The fact that there are no universities or clean water is shameful for a country that has such high levels of corruption.

    Can you say that racism is severe in Colombia?

    Sure, although it is changing. These communities, instead of having their problems solved, have been met with a military response. The worst forms of violence are emerging in the country. When the Afro-descendant or indigenous population has some representation, it is a minor representation.

    Why is that?

    There are obstacles put in place to hinder them from reaching elected positions. There are studies that have shown this.

    Is there also racism among ordinary people?

    At lower levels it is expressed in a lesser way. Racism can be exercised directly by those who have positions of power in the economy, in culture, in academia or in politics. What we see in the social strata where there is no such power are practices of racial discrimination derived from racism. For example, all the preventions and prejudices in the popular sectors faced by Afro-descendants who want to rent a house. Expressions like 'we do not rent to blacks' are common.

    How far has legislation for Afro-descendant communities progressed?

    There is an important law, the difficulty lies in putting it into practice. Decree Law 4635, for Afro-descendant communities and collective reparations, is complementary to the law of victims to start including the differential approach. When you read the decree it seems good and the balance made this year shows it is a pity, because no progress has been made. The Victims Unit has not progressed, the financial statements of the fund show a certain mockery.

    The unit always says there is no money; the law is there, but the money to put it into practice is not. What there is is a very good rhetoric to delay or undermine rights.

    In other words, before creating new laws you must first apply those that already exist...

    Of course, the law of Afro-descendants is lamentable because it puts this society at risk. According to some investigations, in Colombia there are 8 million victims of the conflict, of which two million would be Afro-Colombian. And if the figure is true, we are acknowledging that 50 percent of the Afro-descendant population in the country is victimized. This constitutes the largest ethnocide, genocide and ecocide in the Americas.

    Compared with Brazil and the United States, the impact does not reach 50 percent. The largest Afro-descendant population in the Americas is in Brazil; there they are 57 percent of the population; there there is the African-American population, which is 30.7 million, and the third is the Colombian one, who in 2005 represented 10 percent, that is, more than 4 million.

    These are local groups that are about to become extinct. The history of the conflict in Colombia has been the history of isolated ghost towns. In many cases the progress in reparation processes by international will is felt more than the ones made by the State.

    What do you mean when you say the largest ecocide and ethnocide in the Americas?

    Ecocide is damage done to the environment generated, for example, by illegal mining, fumigation and spraying with glyphosate; this has poisoned all areas. In addition to that we do not know of the repercussions that they can have in the following generations.

    People cannot bathe in the rivers and children have been born with malformations; this is the destruction of the basis of life. And ethnocide is the destruction of culture, which was the basis for maintaining healthy ecosystems and the knowledge that people developed historically to not be aggressive with the environment.

    Have Afro-descendant communities felt repaired in processes such as Justice and Peace?

    No, we have not felt repaired. The Truth Commission has been established so far, and technical teams have been created; there are fragmented versions, but there is no consolidation of the truths that must appear nor of those of the different sectors that have participated in the conflict, including the State. We have to look at the mutual responsibilities, the links between the State and paramilitaries are becoming increasingly obvious. We have to move forward in the construction of those truths.

    Will we be willing to accept that the State acted premeditatedly to harm the most vulnerable communities? Because this is what Plan Colombia was. We hope that the Truth Commission will allow the levels of reparation we expect. The same thing for justice: Justice and Peace is just organizing itself, and it has been given 15 years to see if we achieve acceptable levels of justice, because we know that impunity will be high, what we must ensure is that it be as small as possible.

    What is needed to end racial discrimination?

    The first are principles of equality and equity in the distribution of resources in the country, redistribution under equal conditions and reorganization to overcome inequality; this is a material starting point. Then there would have to be a reorganization of the entire educational system, from pre-school to higher education.

    When you go to Putumayo, you see there are no universities, what important public universities are there in Tumaco? The University of the Pacific has never worked and the University of Nariño is a precarious thing. There is nothing in Barbacoas. We must democratize an inclusive curriculum for Afro-descendant communities. Everything is connected.

    '50 percent of the Afro-descendant population in the country is victimized'
     
  11. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    Deputies approve law of recognition of Limonese Creole

    By Carlos Arrieta Pérez - September 18 2018

    San José, September 18. (ElPaís.com). With 45 votes the Legislative Assembly of Costa Rica approved this Tuesday in its first debate the file of law 19,969, the Law for the Celebration and Incorporation of Educational and Cultural Activities, with the recognition of Limonese Creole.

    The legal text seeks to recover Afro-Costa Rican culture and make it transcend as an essential part of national identity. According to the bill, the history of Limonese Creole goes back to 1872, with the arrival of Jamaicans to work on the construction of the Atlantic railway.

    At the same time, there was a mixture because of the slave trade by the English, as it happened with Spanish.

    The law declares August 30 the national day to celebrate the Limonese Creole language, which implies preservation, protection and promotion by the State.

    This initiative is expected to have its second debate next Thursday.

    Deputies approve law of recognition of Limonese Creole
     
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  12. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    Islamic Bank loan and grant to support Guyana electricity and rice industry

    September 20, 2018

    [​IMG]
    Minister of Finance Winston Jordan (L) and Dr Mansur Muhtar, VP of the Islamic Bank Operations; Far left is David Patterson Minister of Infrastructure and far right is Dr Shamir Ally, Alternate Governor of Guyana to the IsDB

    By Ray Chickrie
    Caribbean News Now contributor

    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia — Guyana’s minister of finance, Winston Jordan, and Dr Mansur Muhtar, vice president of Islamic Bank Operations, signed a loan agreement with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Jeddah on Wednesday, “in the process cementing Guyana’s growing relationship and the proactive use of the indicative resource envelope of about US$1 billion that the bank has offered Guyana,” Jordan said.

    Jordan said that the US$20 million loan will support Guyana’s Power Utility Upgrade Programme as part of the company’s development and expansion programme for 2014 to 2021.

    On Thursday, Guyana received US$900,000 in grant assistance from the IsDB to support the rice sector. Jordan signed the Reverse Linkage project agreement in Jeddah.

    The project will assist in updating Guyana’s expertise and technology in rice production as well as introduce innovative rice varieties in Guyana. This South/South Cooperation will “assist in updating Guyana’s expertise and technology in rice production as well as introduce innovative rice varieties in Guyana”, Jordan said.

    Guyana is in dire need of infrastructure and especially that “Guyana is on the cusp of an historic transformation with the recent discovery of over four billion barrels of oil. Those discoveries began in 2015 and, to date, have numbered nine,” Jordan said in Jeddah.

    Meanwhile, opposition leader Bharrat Jagdeo has criticised the government for borrowing from the IsDB envelope. However, some are urging Guyana to use the money to fund major infrastructure projects that the country badly needs. These concessional loans and project execution are rigorously vetted and supervised. The IsDB is an AAA world renowned multilateral financial institution known for its transparency.

    Referencing the United Nations 2030 Agenda of Human development and Dignity, Jordan said, “Undoubtedly, the objective is ‘to leave no one behind’… a laudable objective in keeping with principles of the Islamic Development Bank.”

    “It is also the cornerstone of my government’s approach to development. This is, perhaps, why we have been able to establish such a close working relationship, in such a short period,” he added.

    Guyana’s agriculture industry is expected to grow and modernize with modern science and technology from member states of the Islamic Bank through a South/South agreement.

    Jordan said, “We look forward to working with the IsDB on projects in several sectors, including agriculture. In this regard, I wish to express gratitude to the bank for the reverse-linkage project, which will assist in updating Guyana’s expertise and technology in rice production as well as introduce innovative rice varieties in Guyana.”

    The minister expressed gratitude to the bank for two grants; one for the modernisation and upgrade of the Palms Geriatric Facility in Georgetown. The group fast-tracked this goodwill gesture because of the poor condition of the facility.

    Jordan and his team will continue to explore the products that the bank offers such as Sharia banking. They will also explore project cooperation with the bank in the areas of infrastructure, health, finance and tourism.

    Islamic Bank loan and grant to support Guyana electricity and rice industry
     
  13. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    Intendency signs new land cession treaty with Mundo Afro

    September 22, 2018 | By: Gonzalo Giuria | Photo: Pablo Vignali

    [​IMG]
    Néstor Silva.

    The ceded land lots are in emblematic neighborhoods for Afro-descendant groups: Palermo, Barrio Sur and Cordón.

    The Intendency of Montevideo (IM) and the Research Center of Mundo Afro signed this week a treaty whereby the capital will transfer to the entity some of its land, with the purpose of bulding social housing there for Afro-descendant families. The transaction, which also has the support of the Ministry of Housing, Territorial Planning and Environment (MVOTMA), is part of the Mundo Afro Family Units (Ufama) program, created to help Afro-descendant families who feel the need to return to live in their traditional neighborhoods, Palermo, Barrio Sur and Cordón, and also to facilitate the access of this sector of the population to housing, a widespread problem in the country. la diaria spoke with Néstor Silva, president of Mundo Afro, about this and other issues related to the reality of the Afro-Uruguayan collective.

    What do you make of this new treaty?

    It can be looked at from two or three angles. The Mundo Afro one is to measure success in the different phases of our task, which is the fight against racism, with equity tools, being permanently proactive. This is our DNA, we fight against racism through proposals, because basically we demand inclusion without being included. What we claim is the space for our people, our culture, so that all of us, institutions and people, begin to see ourselves as we are and recognize ourselves as we are. And that includes us, something that from the historical point of view has been ignored, to say the least. We also value this new step from the point of view of the articulation we are having with the IM, which is something historical and started with the first municipal government of the Broad Front (Frente Amplio) — this needs to be said. From that first government of Tabaré Vázquez we have been working and progressing, particularly with the housing issue, which for us is one of the strategic points, although it really should be for the whole nation. Because despite all the programs, measures and public policies the Uruguayan State has pushed in recent years, our groups continues having the same difficulties accessing housing, education and good jobs. In the housing issue, starting in about 1996, we started to generate our own tools. Working with what already existed in the country, which were mutual aid housing cooperatives, we worked alongside IM and thus the first project was finalized, which was Ufama al Sur, in the old Edificio Viana building, located in the José María Roo street, next to the Central Cemetery. That experience was also emblematic because it showed, in part, the problem that Uruguayans have with racism. Because at that time, when the project was moving forward, the neighbors gathered signatures to prevent the installation of a housing cooperative for Afro-descendant female heads of family in that building. But at the same time great solidarity emerged from many sectors, both political and social, and the project finally materialized. This was and remains the first example in Latin America of an affirmative action measure in the area of housing for Afro-descendants.

    How many land or housing have been achieved under the Ufama program?

    We have exclusively Ufama al Sur, but under this parallel program of symbolic reparations, in which we have been working together with the IM, the MVOTMA and Municipio B, we have the building in San Salvador, between Minas and Lorenzo Carnelli where 17 families are going to live. There we are going to resume what was part of the Ansina conventillo (collective housing or tenements). But in addition, the people who were evicted from there during the dictatorship will be repaired. A few days ago the MVOTMA extended the deadline of the call for those people who were removed from their homes in Ansina. Obviously it has been a long time since that happened, so that, children and other relatives, people who were not owners will be repaired, but, with luck, some owners will also have the possibility of living in the neighborhood again. This is very important, because the concept of reparations focuses on the damage caused by the dictatorship to the Afro-descendant population, which were many. Moreover — as it has happened to us in most issues — this was not recognized by anyone. There is no book or research on the damages caused to the population during the dictatorship that reflects the true magnitude of the Afro-descendant population's mass eviction from its traditional neighborhoods. We always talk about Mediomundo, Ansina and Cordón, but in that area the situation was much more serious, because although the places I mentioned were the best known, there were several smallers tenements in the historical neighborhoods that fell victim to the same fate. In addition to the eviction and displacement, many people were lodged in what I continue to call a concentration camp: the Martínez Reina factory in Capurro, in which the families were separated from one another by a sheet. And there were people who lived in that situation for several years. This caused a huge cultural and social displacement, as well as a very strong economic damage.

    Returning to the housing issue, the allocation of the Ufama Cordón 1 and Ufama Cuareim buildings is also close to materializing.

    Exactly. These lots come from a previous treaty signed in 2016. Ufama Cordón 1 is going to be in the building where the Las Bóvedas club was, and Ufama Cuareim is going to be in Ciudadela street, in the block facing the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MTSS). Once these projects are completed, 95 families are going to live there. Now, according to the new treaty we signed last week, the IM will grant us three land lots, two of which must be in the neighborhoods considered traditional by Afro-descendants: Palermo, Barrio Sur and Cordón. In one of these three areas, three years from now the IM will grant us two land lots. The other will be in a developed area of Montevideo, because we say, half jokingly but very seriously, that we already have the periphery, thank you very much.

    When do you think the houses will began to be built in the land that has already been awarded?

    In the case of Ufama Cordón 1, we are almost ready to start building. The architectural project has been approved and the loans were also awarded; we are handling the usual time management in these cases. The blueprint for Ufama Cuareim was also approved. This works in the same way as with FUCVAM (Uruguayan Federation of Housing for Mutual-Support Cooperatives), Fecovi (Federation of Housing Cooperatives), or any other mutual aid housing cooperatives. The huge difference between the proposal of Mundo Afro and the others is the cultural component, due to the historical debt that the country has with our collective. On the other hand, the numbers show the difficulty we have in the access to housing. There is also the difference in the previously raised concept of historical reparations, of affirmative action, and in this sense we have been working in good harmony with the IM and also with the National Housing Directorate (Dirección Nacional de Vivienda).

    With this type of initiatives is the aim to reunify the Afro-descendant population in their traditional neighborhoods?

    No, this is not what we aim for. It is basically for a historical reason that is more myth than reality, which is the percentage of Afro-descendants that lived in the neighborhoods we consider traditional. Afro-descendants in those neighborhoods always numbered less than people think and they were never the majority of the population in those areas. What did happen in those neighborhoods is that Afro-descendants had a very high cohesion, a cultural force, a very powerful irradiation and, because of the way of life in the tenements, the elders kept some of the oldest traditions of the culture itself, creating a greater sense of identity in those areas of Montevideo. That is why the damage caused by the dictatorship after displacing these people from their neighborhoods was so great. While it is true that on the one hand they created an effect contrary to what they were looking for — because they spread our drums throughout Montevideo —, on the other hand they removed content. The drums have always been a tool of resistance, of religious base and also of transmission of values, something that is generally not appreciated by the outside. I am a musician, and when I began in the comparsas I learned the concept of solidarity without a speech. When suddenly in January, during rehearsals, a collective meal was made, because we knew there was always someone who was having a bad time. These things, no matter how often they are said and written, are transmitted fundamentally through experience.

    Time for reflection

    This year Mundo Afro is celebrating 30 years of existence: although progress has been made in several areas, what issues do you think still need to be worked on?

    Beyond all of our achievments, we understand that we are in the moment to move towards a new phase. First in the ideological concept, because if we stay with what we comply with this, the underlying problem will never be solved. On the other hand, there is legislation. We consider Law 19.122 to be very positive (Afro-descendants, affirmative action rules that favor participation in the educational and labor spheres), but it has serious problems of implementation, for several reasons. Some are logical and have to do with administration and methodology; others are obvious: we not have in percentage the amount of people prepared to continue presenting in the different calls. That it is why it has been an achievement of civil society, and not just of Mundo Afro, that the law includes the issue of attention at work, that involves the MTSS and the Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC) for the educational and formative issue. This has led us to historic steps. In two or three years we are tackling issues we had never confronted, neither us nor those who preceded us. We have reached an instance of dialogue never seen before; from this to the materialization of things there is a distance, but we are taking those steps, always with the support of civil society. What is missing is that we can talk in depth about what we want as a nation. This is missing. When we make, for example, our Constitution recognize who we are as a nation, because after the indigenous people and the first colonizers, we are the oldest collective in the nation and yet we are not recognized as such. Neither by seniority nor by what we have contributed. In every way, including battles for independence, fratricidal wars, we always participated. By conscious action in some, through force in others, but we were in all of them, and this is one of the factors the nation must recognize. It must also be recognized, even if it is not said often, that Ansina did not just carry mate for Artigas, that Obdulio Varela was not the only Afro-descendant leader in Uruguay, because, for example, Agustín Pedroza, who was Afro-descendant, was the first president of the National Union of Construction and Annexes (SUNCA). In other words, we have always been, to a greater or lesser extent, in all events, in the growth of this nation, and this must be recognized socially, culturally and educationally.

    Intendency signs new land cession treaty with Mundo Afro
     
  14. Yehuda

    Yehuda Nego Delas

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    A symbol of the fight against racism and segregation celebrates 100 years

    By Núbia Garcia | 09/22/2018

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    Members of the 1st board of directors of the Civic Center – Photos: MTC and Personal Archives

    In 1918, the urban area of Lages was divided among the city centre and about three neighborhoods. One of these was Bairro da Brusque, inhabited by freedmen and their descendants, who structered their society in search of dignity and respect.

    At the national level, 30 years had passed since the abolition of slavery, but the majority of the black population did not have their rights respected and still suffered from latent racism and segregation.

    Both former slaves and their descendants were forbidden from attending many spaces intended for the white high society. Therefore, long before the abolition of slavery, which took place in 1888, the black population throughout Brazil began to establish their own clubs where they could socialize, recover their roots and fight for dignity.

    Amid this scenario the Centro Cívico Cruz e Souza social club was founded in Lages, celebrating this Saturday (22) 100 years of existence. The club was the third black society in the state of Santa Catarina and the fact it resisted time and financial difficulties turns it into an incon of Lages' negritude's struggle against segregation and racism.

    In September, as part of the celebrations for the centenary, the Center of Afro-Brazilian Studies of the University of Planalto Catarinense (Neab/Uniplac), released the documentary "Centro Cívico Cruz e Souza – Memórias de um Centenário", which tells the story of the association.

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    Agnaldo Timóteo receiving a flower bouquet from young Dione Aparecida do Amaral

    Entity brought together discriminated families

    According to the coordinator of Neab/Uniplac, Nanci Alves da Rosa, the black people who lived in Bairro do Brusque were, for the most part, underemployed, working as cesspool cleaners, laundresses and artisans, among other things. With the arrival of the railway troops in Lages, these families began to have permanent employment, with monthly payments, which assured them a certain amount of dignity.

    These workers were the people who attended Cruz e Souza; people who, for the first time, were the protagonists of a space. That is because, until then, whenever black people entered any of the existing clubs (which only accepted whites on their membership list), they were there as musicians, to entertain high society.

    "Cruz e Souza's heritage to Lages goes beyond culture and history. This place was able to bring together families who were discriminated against and had no access to school, science or labor. We are the fruits of this resilient generation that fought to have a place where they could have their meetings, their ethnic identification", says Nanci.

    According to her, the intention of the club, at the time of its foundation, went much beyond offering entertainment, because it was through Cruz e Souza that many people learned how to read. The fact it has the word "civic" in its name shows the place had the intention to offer citizenship.

    "From then on Afro-Brazilian culture began to take over and gain space. They had moral rules, rules of conduct. I heard from several people who went to Cruz e Souza that it was there where they learned how to treat a girl, how to talk to a woman, how to carry themselves. Gestures and attitudes they later transferred to their children".

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    A picture of one of the traditional balls promoted in Cruz e Souza

    Club reasserts black identity in the Planalto

    According to the professor of the Library Science and Communications School of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Eráclito Pereira, black clubs emerged in Brazil long before the abolition of slavery and had as their main goal the articulation and socio-political organization of their groups. In Santa Catarina, these clubs arose especially in the post-abolition period, as a response to the process of social and racial segregation imposed on black people.

    "Originally, the Black Social Clubs, in addition to the conciliation of their members, did what the Brazilian State failed to do, starting with public social policies such as rights to social security and education, for example".

    For Pereira, Centro Cívico Cruz e Souza acts as space to assert black identity and memory in the region. Recognizing its importance and relevance, in 2013, when he finished his master's degree at the Federal University of Santa Maria, Pereira chose as the theme of his dissertation the Lages club. The work, done with historical surveys, photos and reports in more than 100 pages, is named "Cruz e Souza Civic Center: Black Memory, Resistance and Sociability in Lages — Santa Catarina (1918 — 2012)".

    "Cruz e Souza is inserted in my territory of identity and belonging, and it has remained open since its foundation, reasserting black identity in Planalto Serrano. This fight of existential assertion of the black population is also mine. The relevance of working on Black Social Clubs in Brazil is due to the fact that they contain stories and memories of a significant portion of the black population, which do not freeze in time and space, but can be dynamized in actions that foster the maintenance of memory, legitimacy and power of black men and women who, even today, suffer discrimination based on gender, race and class", he says.

    Pereira emphasizes that the club is a space of black representation, identity, memory, resilience and sociability. "In the midst of the inherent negligence to cultural heritage, Cruz e Souza has been resisting for 100 years and is also characterized as a space for political articulation and knowledge construction, an institution capable of promoting the practice of citizenship and (re)integrating and the black community of Lages, once estranged from the social club 'world'", he says.

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    Porta-bandeira and Mestre-sala, Cleia Barbosa and Cabeça

    The city still needs the Civic Center

    Since the first enslaved African arrived in Brazil in the early days of the colonial period, black resistance has established itself and it is still necessary in our society to this day. This statement is from historian doctor in social history at the University of São Paulo (USP), Mirian Branco.

    "The enslaved resisted in many ways, kept many of their customs, defended their beliefs, they gathered in quilombos. Centro Cívico Cruz e Souza is a part of this history. Its birth 30 years after the abolition of slavery in Brazil is linked to a time when, at the national level, the black movement organizes and diffuses itself in an attempt to give access and guarantee the most basic of rights to the black population, such as housing, education or work".

    According to her, the club was conceived by people concerned about the situation of black people in Lages at the time and soon became a space for promoting a specific type of resistance, resistance through education, political participation, exchange of exeperiences and knowledge, and dialogue with the Lages elites of the time.

    "Today, 100 years later, the city has changed, generations have passed, but the black struggle is not over, it has taken new forms, but it is still far from over. Not all accesses have been guaranteed and citizenship is not yet full. The demands of black people have been updated over the years".

    Among the demands of the black population, Mirian emphasizes the need to take care of black women's health, who also need work and decent wages; take care of black children who fill public schools and yearn for quality education; protect young black men from violence by offering them work and opportunities and, this way, secure old age living with protection and dignity.

    "For all of this, the role of the Civic Center is just as necessary today as it was yesterday. The Center is a part of the city's history, it crossed the twentieth century and remains with it in the twenty-first century. How many associations have had such longevity? The city needs to take care of the Civic Center because it is part of its heritage".

    [​IMG]
    Members of the board of directors in a commemorative event for the 50th anniversary of the Civic Center

    [​IMG]
    President Lotar Rogério Alencar and Queen Elizandra Silva

    A symbol of the fight against racism and segregation celebrates 100 years
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  15. Dip

    Dip diver, civilize you 85ers

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    I increasingly think CARICOM should become its own country:ehh:
    call it Republic of the Caribbean:ehh:
    make every island its own "state" :ehh:
    Official languages English and French Creole with official recognition for all the native and minority languages
    the only question would be would Jamaica , Haiti, and Bahamas join, i'd be ok if they were excluded:ehh:
     

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