Afro-colombianicide and the wretched of the earth

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Last July 25th we celebrated a new anniversary of the birthday of the great leader of the African diaspora, Frantz Fanon, who was born in Martinique on July 25th 1925. Fanon, a medical psychiatrist overcame the romantic view of the blackness created by his mentor Aimé Césaire to express the active militant engagement of African liberation, he joined the pro Algerian National Liberation Front. Fanon, and here comes our reflection, according to what we have read several times in his classic book The Wretched of the Earth, highlights the issue of violence of colonialist against the colonized in the Algerian experience, but this reflection is redimensioned for the peoples fighting for their liberation as well as in Africa, Asia and our America. The colonial violence and its various forms, were demeaning tools to subject leaders and whole peoples aspiring to get decolonized of any forms of domination. The wretched of the earth were billions. Violence and mental and body effects towards wide sectors of population do not cease in the world today.


Colombia is the second country in terms of population of African descent in South America. They retained their cultural diversity, spirituality and especially their extraordinary human communion with nature, since they were kidnapped from Africa. They live in strategic areas that in the course of time they have preserved. These Afro-Colombians’ territorial spaces entered in the center of the conflict due to their strategic location, natural resources and fertile land for the production of coca and then transformed into cocaine by conflicting groups.


Unfortunately after more than half a century of conflict in Colombia, our Afro-Colombian brothers have been affected. The military conflict between guerrillas (FARC-ELN), the army of the Colombian government, paramilitaries, drug traffickers and the military intervention of the United States, have caused tens of thousands of Colombians to be displaced, raped, kidnapped, disappeared; forced recruitment of Afro-Colombian children and girls, massacres, burning of villages and above all a process of systematic killings of Afro-Colombian women and men leaders perpetrated by actors in conflict. According to official figures, since 1958, about 220 thousand Colombians have been killed, of which a high percentage corresponds to Afro-Colombian communities.


Genaro Garcia: another Afro leader killed


When I was a Human Rights consultant in the Andean Parliament, I could realize, visiting those places, the issue of violence in Afro-Colombian territories.  Since 2000, these conflicts until today have been exacerbated by taking a dimension that unequivocally could lead to a COLOMBIAN AFROCIDE ie. the mass murder of Afro-Colombians from the slaughter of Bojayá (May 2002) to the murder of Afro-Colombian leader Gilmer Genaro Garcia. According to the Afro-Colombian National Peace Council CONPA, he was killed in the morning of last August 3, 2015. He was a legal representative of the Community Council of Alto Mira and Frontera. The incident occurred on the road from Chilvi the village of San Luis Robles, in the rural area of Tumaco and near the community council area Rescate las Varas.


The CONPA demands that FARC negotiators who are in Havana speak out clearly on the murder of Genaro Garcia, legal representative of the community council of Alto Mira, the principle of distinction recognised in international humanitarian law, thus expressing also the black communities claims on collective and ancestral lands rights.


All organizations of Afro-Colombian communities with dignity and conviction resist these armed groups trying to move them out if their ancestral territory. Evidently, this is a decision paid for with death, as happened to Genaro. Even so, Afro-Colombians in the face of this AFROCOLOMBIANICIDE will go on resisting. It is urgent and necessary to require the international community to incorporate the Afro-Colombian dimension in the peace negotiations, because without that THERE WILL NOT BE ANY PEACE.


From our trenches, we believe that the killings in our sister communities must cease immediately. The ceasefire between the guerrillas and the Colombian government must be inclusive for Afro-Colombians as well as for indigenous peoples and the people as a whole. It is necessary to unify the efforts of all Afro-Colombians trends who defend peace and respect for Afro-Colombian territories, guaranteed by the constitution of Colombia and Law 70. We must radicalize our international solidarity against AFROCOLOMBIANICIDE. Finally, as Frantz Fanon said in his text The Wretched of the Earth ...: Partners, we must decide from now on a route change. WE must sake off the great night where we were submerged. The new day, already rising, must find us strong, alert and determined.


(Translated by: Celine Castro Jaimes and ALAI.)
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