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Political Representation: A Key Struggle for Afro-descendants in Colombia

Categories: Latin America, Colombia, Ethnicity & Race, Politics

With 5 million people, or 10.6% of the total population, Colombia has the largest Afro-descendant population in Latin America, behind only Brazil, according to a 2005 census. There are, however, serious difficulties in quantifying blackness, given the mixed ethnic backgrounds of many Colombians. The stigma associated with African descent in much of the country leads mixed-race individuals to identify away from their Afro roots, and unofficial figures place the Afro-Colombian community at as high as 25% of the total population.

Maren Soendergaard in Colombia Reports [1] writes about political exclusion of afro-descendants in Colombia, stating that “a historic lack of political representation in Colombia’s political system is one of the key focuses in the ongoing social, political and economic struggle of the Afro-Colombian community.”