In 1986, I was invited to Bogota, Colombia, for a discussion, under the coordination of the great Ekobio, Shango the Great Putas, Doctor Manuel Zapata Olivella with the support of the father of the history of the global African diaspora in the United States, Dr. Joseph Harris , Former director of the Department of African American Studies at Howard University.
In all honesty, it was my first approach to the Afro-Colombian problem. Extraordinary leaders and leaders in gestation participated in that meeting entitled SITUATION OF THE AFROSURAMERICAN STUDIES.
In that meeting we could hear the situation of Afro-Colombians in the permanent conflicts in their territories between the national army and the Colombian guerrillas. Already by that time there was the displacement of thousands of Afro-Colombians from their ancestral lands from the Pacific to the Atlantic from Buenaventura to the Valley. We were witnesses and in solidarity with some of those leaders.
From the 70 law to the peace dialogue
In 1993, the Black Communities Act of Colombia was approved, stating that "The purpose of this law is to establish mechanisms for the protection of cultural identity and the rights of the Black Communities of Colombia as an ethnic group, and the promotion of their development Economic and social, in order to ensure that these communities obtain real conditions of equal opportunities against the rest of Colombian society. " However, this law would have become a dead letter if Afro-Colombian communities had not made it their own daily, even with the murders of many leaders and leaders both by the Colombian Army and by the paramilitary forces led by the bloody government of Uribe Velez , And by some guerrilla fronts. Almost one million Colombians from 1993 to last year were displaced from their lands, according to the Afrodes organization, which runs Marino Cordoba.
At the outset of the peace process between the government and FARC Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces did not include Afro-Colombians as well as indigenous people. That is not enough for our brothers and sisters with their ancestral forces and means of internal differences and contradictions fought en bloc to achieve their participation decisively in that long discussion. Last year, we were able to participate in two events convened by exs. Piedad Cordoba, Conafro and Marcha Patriotica to address this issue, as well as Cimarron Diogenes Daiz participated in discussions with the Black Communities Process of Colombia, led by leader Carlos Rosero.
In Caracas last year, with leaders from Latin America and the Caribbean, actor Danny Glover, James Early, Don Rojas, Romero Rodriguez, among others issued a statement, pro Telesur, demanding the inclusion of Afro and indigenous people in the discussions Of peace in Havana. There were many efforts, above the differences of Afro-Colombian communities, their agenda is an autonomous agenda, differentiated from demagogy and with criteria of defense of their ancestral territoriality and the Right to Development with identity, sustainable, not predatory or Mortgage its future as it was attempted with the famous Plan Pacifico that indebted to the Colombian government through the Inter-American Development Bank for 50 million dollars which disappeared.
What were the positions of Afrocolombians?
On June 2 of this year, the audience was opened as part of the peace process, where Afro-Colombian organizations participated as the National Peace Council (CONPA), National Coordination of Afro-descendant organizations and communities -CONAFRO-, Association of small and medium-sized miners Choco, Chao Racism and Citizen Power.
According to the leader Aiden Salgado there they proposed the following: Institutionalize in the peace processes a space of the afro communities to review those agreements and their benefits for our people; Peace must be built from territorial spaces, and finally that the agreements reached do not push back what in these 23 years of law passed back, on the contrary, these advances must be broadened in the Afro-Colombian, Raizales and Palenqueras communities With the regulation of the law 70 of the Black communities of 1993.
With all respect to all Afro-descendant organizations throughout the continent, Afro-Colombian organizations are giving an extraordinary example of what in several countries, including ours, has not been discussed in depth, which is autonomy and an agenda of its own. Communities of African descent. Afro-Colombians armed tremendous berraquera (genius), as they say there, to vanish in the midst of pain and hope for the memory of all and every fall since Benkos Biho set the path of Afro-descendent self-determination.