Speaking from an international conference in Ecuador, Afro-Latina politican and human rights defender, Piedad Cordoba, didn’t shy away from speaking up for her fellow Afro-descendants across Latin America on Tuesday.
"We are a multiethnic and multicultural country - but only on paper," Cordoba said of her native Colombia which is estimated to have one of the largest Afro-Latino populations in South America.
Cordoba was speaking at the ELAP summit in Quito, Ecuador, a gathering of representatives from progressive governments and movements across Latin America, including representatives from Venezuela, Ecuador, and El Salvador.
"We are totally invisible, we aren't taken into consideration," the human rights defender said of African descendants in Latin America.
Cordoba’s comments come just as reports surface that two Afro-Colombians have filed a complaint against local police, alleging that police racially profiled them for merely driving a “luxury vehicle.”
Univision reported that the incident happened in the north of Colombia in Barrqanquilla and that the events were recorded on various videos that were shared on social media.
The videos captured by the local El Heraldo show police violently arresting the Afro-Colombian youths.
Earlier this year in July, the internationally acclaimed and Afro-Colombian hip hop group, ChocQuibTown, also slammed racism in Latin America, saying Afro-Latinos should dare to be defiant and speak up for their rights through art and music.
“In Latin America people don’t talk about the issue … We are talking about a problem that’s alive and real. We are Colombians and we live the issue of racism daily,” said the percussionist and singer of the band Carlos “Tostao” Valencia in an interview with Agence France Presse.
Echoing Cordoba’s comments, the group’s songs often touch upon “Invisibility, nationally and internationally,” as is sung about in their critically-acclaimed song “De Donde Vengo Yo” (Where I Come From). “Self-discrimination without reason, imminent racism, a lot of corruption … war machine, displacements for land interests,” the song continues.
As for Valencia, he says, ChocQuibTown is not afraid to confront racism.
“We will always touch upon this thorny issue freely,” he said.