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After years of struggle, the Mexican black population will be recognized as a minority. They will receive support to promote their culture and recognition
With the issuance of the Law of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, published in the Official Gazette on December 4, the foundations of the new regime are laid for the needs of the Afro-Mexican population, which has historically been relegated.
According to the data of the Intercensal Survey 2015, there are one million 381 thousand 853 people of African descent in Mexico, which represents 1.2% of the national population. Most of this population is found in Guerrero, Oaxaca, and Veracruz. Today, there are entire towns that guard and promote the Afro-Mexican identity. However, these peoples constitute a culture different from the one they ponder in a large part of the country, and since they do not have their own language, like other indigenous groups in Mexico, they have been made invisible and violated both by the Mexican authorities and by the rest of the population. population.
History of Afro-descendants in Mexico
The current black communities like the Costa Chica in Oaxaca, are descendants of African slaves brought by Spaniards during the colony. Slaves that were often used for cattle ranching as foremen, to take charge of indigenous workers who were not accustomed to animals the size of cows and horses. What positions these communities with an antiquity of more than 200 years.
Throughout their history, they have developed an idiosyncratic culture that represents them, full of music like Chilean music, brought by Chilean sailors and adapted with African instruments; of dances that go back to the days of the colonial haciendas like the Dance of the Devils and the pride of their African heritage.
At present, this exploitation of slaves in Mexico, as in many countries, has tried to erase from the official history by denying them the historical recognition that these communities so much seek. In addition, the Afro-Mexican identity is not limited to skin color, as it is more valuable the pride of their African heritage and living in a community considered black, than the Negroid appearance. In Mexico, you are black by culture and not only by appearance.
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Road to recognition
The constant invisibility for the rest of the country and the violation of their human rights to be deported to Central American countries despite being Mexican has generated a feeling of friction in the Afro-Mexican community. According to Humberto Herbert Silva Silva, the director of the Office for Afro-Mexican Affairs in Oaxaca, the Mexican government has been slow to recognize Afro-Mexicans as a minority and give it the same support as indigenous groups because they speak Spanish, like most Mexicans and do not have their own language. Thus, if Afro-Mexicans were classified as a minority, they would receive additional funds for the promotion of their culture and for public health programs.
As a result, Silva Silva said in 2016 that the black community was considering following the path of the Zapatista indigenous uprising in Chiapas in the 1990s; If the EZLN had achieved visibility and indigenous recognition with the Zapatista uprising, the black community could also achieve it by following in their footsteps. "Until now, the black communities have endured discrimination and have remained within the legal channels, which are already exhausted," Silva Silva said.
After the entry of the new government led by AMLO, Mexican senators seek to involve the Afro-Mexican community in the decision making of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, an Institute that will replace the Committee with the same name, and achieve recognition as a minority. This recognition has begun to be prosecuted thanks to the issuance of the Law of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples on December 4, since Article 3 grants personality to indigenous and Afro-Mexican peoples and communities, establishing that it is subjects of public law.
However, the recognition on paper of the African-American community is only the first step and the general director of the newly created National Institute of Indigenous Peoples, Adelfo Regino Montes, still has a long way to go to include this minority as part of the process. great cosmos that makes up a country as diverse as Mexico is. And more importantly, it is the course that must be given de facto guarantee their human rights.
LatinAmerican Post | Ana Gabriela Martínez de Ángel
Translated from "Tras 200 años de lucha: los afromexicanos serán reconocidos como minoría"