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Palenque Obapo in Quibdo, Choco, Colombia
Karen Juanita Carrillo photo 2006


During a recent trip to Palenque Obapo in Quibdo, Colombia, I saw how difficult it is for activists to work for community benefits when they receive little assistance from their governments.

Colombia was actually one of the first countries I began looking at when covering Afro Latinos. This was primarily because it is a nation where most Blacks proudly acknowledge their African ancestry; in most other Hispanic countries, finding proud Afro Latinos was -- for many years -- difficult.

I have never found an Afro Latino who outright denies his African ancestry, but for years it was always a long, round-about tale of 'Well, we are all of mixed ancestry' and 'We're all the same in Latin America -- we don't see race the way you do in the United States.'

We do see race in the United States but race is also seen throughout the Americas -- that's clearly shown by the varied living conditions you will find distinguishing Latinos of Black and white skin.

Now, in the aftermath of the September 2001 United Nations' World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (WCAR), Latin countries -- in particular -- are working to acknowledge the Black presence in their midst. Some have introduced new legislation, but more needs to be done.  Black activists in Latin America, like those in North America, are fighting for their rights.

Here you will find their work acknowledged.