[News] Venezuela - Why Are There No Barricades in Afro-Descendant Communities?

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Thu Apr 24 13:27:46 EDT 2014


  Why Are There No Barricades in Afro-Descendant Communities?

By Jesús Chucho García- La Voz, April 23rd 2014

http://venezuelanalysis.com/analysis/10637

In these 15 years of the Bolivarian process, afro-descendant Venezuelans 
have been dignified in an unprecedented way in Venezuelan history.

The process of social transformation with which Venezuela has 
experimented the past 15 years has not only been economical, but also a 
political process, where president Chavez played an essential 
ideological role as the leader of this humane option, of solidarity and 
participation.

*Barlovento is not Altamira*

The afro-descendant communities of Venezuela have benefitted in ways 
never before seen under previous socio-political processes. Before, the 
land of afro communities was in the hands of latifundistas and agrarian 
bourgeoisie. One the worst cases of discrimination was reflected in the 
Farriar municipality, where Cuban supporters of Batista, with the help 
of the [pre-Chavez] government, dispossessed thousands of hectares of 
ancestral land, including Cañizos, Palo Quemao, Farriar, Palmarejo, and 
El Chino. Numerous witnesses tell of how the Batista supporters hired 
armed bands to assault community inhabitants at night, threatening them 
and burning their cane crops. This lead to persecutions, and a youth was 
murdered when people protested these events.

When Chavez arrived, on an episode of "Alo, President" filmed in 
Palmarejo, he declared himself afro-descendant, and handed over 11 
thousand hectares along with agriculture credits, and decreed the land 
communal property of the afro-descendants of Yaracuy. In other words, 
the /sacrocracia/ (owners of the cane growers) were expropriated in 
defense of the defenseless.

Additionally, in the subregion of Barlovento, thousands of hectares in 
the hands of the cacaocracia (cacao plantation owners) who had turned 
our grandfathers and grandmothers' into hunchbacks from bending over to 
sow the riches of the hacienda owners, who would pay them a hundred 
times less what each basket of cacao was worth. Today in Barlovento we 
are experimenting with the socialist cacao companies and the chocolate 
manufacturers to work with cacao derivatives. And the six autonomous 
municipalities of Barlovento have voted in favor of the Bolivarian hope. 
In the Southern area of Maracaibo Lake (Bobures, Gibaltar, El Batey, and 
San Jose de Hera) people placed their faith in substantial change, in 
the hopes of eradicating the latifundio of the cane fields owned by the 
Brillemburg.

This is why it doesn't occur to us to join the /guarimbas/ like they are 
doing in Altamira or in upper-class areas of Caracas and some inland 
cities. The afro-descendants of this country have achieved a dignity 
without precedent in Venezuelan history.

*The Gods Are with Peace and Dignity*

We used the internet to make some inquiries about the climate of 
destabilization in our country; The Revolutionary Afro-Descendant Youth 
(JARAV) directed by Freddy "Pollito" Blanco, has been strongly against 
the "commotion" fomented by the bourgeoisie to return to power.

"We have already publicly shared our position about  the racist and 
fascist uprising. We have participated actively in the manifestations in 
Barlovento and those convoked on a national level, especially by the 
Youth Ministry."

The pastor of the evangelist church La Voz de Dios, of San Jose de 
Barlovento expressed to us via internet, "God wants peace, he does not 
want more violence generated by an anarchic sector of our society. It is 
necessary to consolidate the advances in our Barlovento that Chavez left 
us with. The evangelists are people of peace... we ask that violent 
people control themselves, as they will find it difficult to find peace 
in their souls in the face of the damage they are inflicting upon the 
country."

 From Yaracuy, Williams Sequera and Gustavo Suarez said that the "havoc 
caused by a sector of the opposition is causing them to close themselves 
in...We ask them to come to consult with us on the mountain of María 
Lionza to withdraw the racist, terrifying, imperialist spirits from them."

***

José Chucho Garcia is an educator and founder of the "Miguel Acosta 
Saigne" Center for Afroamerican Studies at the Universidad Cental de 
Venezuela (UCV). He is also the editor of the magazine AFROAMERICA and 
the author of several books.

/Translation by Zoe Clara Zutka for Venezuelanalysis.com/

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