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Racism in Latin America

Although the United Nations has proclaimed 2011 as the International Year for People of African descent, recently two videos have been shared through social network that show some cases of racism in Latin American countries. The first one comes from Chile, where an Ecuadorian citizen was arrested by the police. They handcuffed him in his hands and feet just because he crossed the street when the light was red, triggering the outrage of many people since the very moment that it happened. User Tornecino2010 uploaded the video to YouTube.

Most of the YouTube comments condemn what happened:

pacos [policías] racistas, ojala fueran tan eficientes para atrapar a los lanzas [carteristas] q andan por ahi, en ves de a un hermano inmigrante q solo cruza la calle.
garo1513 hace 2 días

Racist cops. I wish they were good enough to get the criminals around here instead of arresting an immigrant that is just crossing the street.
garo1513 2 days ago

Esto es horrible ,racismo total …pero esto no tiene nada que ver con nazis ni piñera esto es algo que viene hace muchos años … esto es culpa a la falta de cultura en nuestro pais . no fomenten la ignoracia , esto es algo cultural y nada de politica.
EscudoAgressor hace 2 días

This is horrible. It is a completely racist act. This has nothing to do with the Nazis or with the president. This is something that started many years ago because of the lack of culture in our country. Don’t encourage ignorance. This is a cultural fact rather than a political one.
EscudoAgressor 2 days ago

“…y veras como quieren en Chile al amigo cuando es forastero” Esa cancion se escribio definitivamente en otra epoca!!!
nprny hace 1 día

“And you’ll see how they love a foreigner fellow in Chile”. This song was certainly written decades ago!
nprny 1 day ago

el tipo camina sin polera y cruza sin luz roja, obvio que lo van a detener.
abers109 hace 1 día

They guy was walking without a shirt and then he crosses the street when the light was red. It was so obvious he was going to be arrested.
abers109 1 day ago

@aavillav “quizás ese mismo wn anda robando por ahí y nunca lo pillaron y aprovecharon de agarrarlo por otra cosa…” Entonces ¿es mejor hablar desde el prejuicio que desde la ignorancia?
The28111958 hace 1 día

@aavillav “Maybe this guy was stealing around the city and he was never caught, that is why they took advantage of this situation and they arrested him for this”. So, is it better to talk about prejudices than to talk about ignorance?
The28111958 1 day ago

Aca en Chillan la semana pasada un conductor paso con luz roja y hablando por telefono a vista y paciencia de un carabinero en plena plaza de armas y no hizo absolutamente nada. QUE VERGUENZA.
robinhot70 hace 1 día

Here in Chillan a driver passed when the light was red while he was talking on the phone. A cop saw this in De Armas square and he did not do anything about it! How embarrassing.
robinhot70 1 day ago

In El Quinto Poder, Francisco Gonzáles analyses this situation [es] from the legal perspective of the police's prerogative to act in similar situations, and he concludes that the treatment constitutes abuse:

Veamos. Carabineros de Chile a través de su cuenta oficial de Twitter señalo lo siguiente: “Respuesta oficial al video: Ante la resistencia y negación de identidad del señor Quiñones, legalmente correspondió el traslado a una unidad”

Guiándonos entonces por el seudo comunicado de Carabineros, el señor Quiñones se habría negado a otorgar su identidad, por lo que según la ley corresponde conducirlo a la unidad policial más cercana con la finalidad de identificarlo. Pues bien. Cabe preguntarse entonces ¿en que parte de nuestro ordenamiento jurídico se señala que el control de identidad podrá realizarse mediante tratos crueles y degradantes para el controlado? La respuesta es clara: en ninguna.

Let’s see. The Chilean cops’ Twitter account asserted: “Official answer to the video. Due to the reluctance and the denial of identity of Mr. Quiñones, it was necessary to move him to another police station as it is stated in our law

According to this message from the police, Mr. Quiñones had refused to reveal his identity so, as the law states, he has to be taken to the closest police station in order to identify him. Fair enough. If it is so, then the question is: in which article of our legal ordinance is it established that identity check is carried out through cruel and humiliating means that used on the person under arrest? There is a clear answer: none.

Then he talks about the use of handcuffs:

De suma importancia es que el procedimiento de control de identidad se haga de la manera más expedita posible según lo preceptuado por el articulo 85 inciso 6. ¿Es posible que mantener esposado de una mano y en el otro extremo de una pierna, en el suelo, rodeado de 3 Carabineros, en la vía publica y rodeado de transeúntes que se percatan de la situación pueda enmarcarse dentro del significado de “expedito”? La respuesta es a todas luces negativa.

It is rather important that the identity check procedure is carried out in the easiest way according to article 85, paragraph 6. If that person is on the floor, with a half of the handcuffs in one hand while the other half is in a leg, surrounded by three cops on the street and by passersby who notice this situation, can all this be considered as “easy”? Obviously not.

The other video comes from Colombia. This video shows Yenny Castro's story, a young girl who was shot by other young boys with pneumatic weapons in the San Diego de Cartagena suburbs. The video was uploaded to YouTube by user elplanetatv.

This video was also uploaded to Facebook by user Pedro Romero Vive Aqui [es], where we can see comments like these:

Pedro Romero Vive Aqui: Condenamos para Siempre todo acto de Violencia Racista, Clasista, Sexista, de Genero y Tu? Compartirlo ampliamente es una manera de actuar Ya.

Pedro Romero Vive Aqui: We will always condemn all acts of violence, racism, class discrimination, chauvinism and gender discrimination. What about you? Sharing this video is a way to react against this now.

William Jose Gonzales Suarez: eso no es justo lo q le paso a esa persona por ser de color la tienen q maltratar de esa no manera no estoy de acuerdo con eso

William Jose Gonzales Suarez: It is not fair. This happened to her just because she was a person of color. Just because of this, they had to mistreat her in that way. I don’t agree with that.

Danna Paola Kortina Alvarado: orgullosamente negra..orgullosamente provinciana… y sobre todo orgullosamente costeña… no podemos aceptar este tipo de comportamientos y menos en una cuidad donde los negros somos mayoria..!!! en nuestras diferencias esta la IGUALDAD…

Danna Paola Kortina Alvarado: Proud of being black, proud of coming from a little town and, most importantly, proud of coming from the coast…We can't accept this kind of behavior especially in a city in which most of the population is black!!! Equality is in our differences!

Teo Linda B: Al atacar a una persona de esta manera lo único que intentan es querer destruir su justo orgullo de pertenencia a su propio pueblo (a mi pueblo )a su propia raza (a mi raza)…no quedarse callado es la mejor manera de exigirle a gritos a el mundo que termine la vulgar e irrespetuosa proyección racista- clasista- política- socialista por la que estamos rodeados y de la que estamos hartos!!!!

Teo Linda B: By attacking a person like this, the only thing that they intend to do is destroy a cultural identity in their own town, in my town, of their own race; of my race… breaking the silence is the best way to demand that this world end these disrespectful and rude classist- political- social acts that take place everywhere. We are sick of them!!!

Months ago, Colombian newspaper El Tiempo wrote about [es] a campaign against racism in the Colombian city of Cartagena, where “36% of the population consider themselves of African descendant, according to the information provided by the population census, but according to the Red Afro, the figures could be doubled if we take into consideration the number of people who deny who they are.”

In addition to that, there is a group on Facebook called “Contra el racismo en Cartagena,” [es] (Against racism in Cartagena), that points out: “Cartagena is a totally racist city. All the people here seem to distinguish themselves through skin color or through hair texture. Pejorative and racist phrases can be heard all over the place. THAT IS ENOUGH. We won’t accept any other sign of racism. This will be a group for denouncing those situations.”

In Peru, in the Defensoría del Pueblo blog, Martín Soto Florián posted an article  called “Afro-descendants in Peru: reasons for equality“ [es]:

la Encuesta Nacional Continua 2006 revela que el 70% de la población afroperuana que presentó alguna enfermedad o malestar, no acudió a los establecimientos de salud para recibir atención médica o realizar una consulta debido a múltiples factores, como la falta de disponibilidad, accesibilidad, la calidad del servicio y, en algunos casos, al trato discriminatorio que reciben. Respecto al derecho a la educación, solo 2% de la población afroperuana que accede a los estudios universitarios (6,2%) logra concluir dicha etapa, mientras que más del 50% de estudiantes afroperuanos no concluye sus estudios secundarios y el 13,8% no accede a la primaria.

The 2006 National Continuous survey [es] reveals that 70% of the afro Peruvian population that was sick at that moment did not go to hospitals to get a medical treatment or a medical consultation due to several factors, such as: poor quality in medical service, unavailability, poor access and, in some cases, due to the racist treatment they receive. Regarding the right for education, just 2% of the afro Peruvian population that study in university (6,2%) can finish it, whereas more than 50% of afro Peruvian students did not end high school and 13,8% cannot go to primary school.

It is clear that there is a lot to do regarding the issues of equality and social inclusion of the African descendant population in all Latin American countries.

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