Latin American identity rejected: Mirage or reality

Latin America will only be recognized in the world as long as it is faithful to its own identity. Latin America has to create its own reality before asking for recognition.

Some time ago, the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes published an article in which he complained that the BBC had not included any Latin American case in a series about the great civilizations of history. Sources expressed the feeling of many Latin Americansof not being valued enough in the world.

But regardless of the arrogance of the northern countries, this has been the result of our decisions themselves. Once obtained the independence, the new Latin American republics decided to deny their roots, to try to be like others, as developed at the time, primarily as Anglo-Saxon countries. Along the way, large social groups continued to be discriminated against and subjected because of their ethnicity.

Argentine Juan Bautista Alberdi expressed in the best way, in his book "Bases and starting points for the political organization of Argentina," published in 1852. In the letter, he said that American elites of that time "were not another thing that Europeans born in America. "he added that" in America, everything that is not European is barbarian "and that there was no division into the region," the Indian, that is, the wild ", and the European,  "Us, who were born in America and speak Spanish, those who believe in Jesus Christ and not in Pillán (god of the Indians)."

At the same time, however, he denied the Spaniards the possibility of contributing to progress, and therefore proposed to encourage immigration of people who love freedom and development, Anglos.

Also in those years the Argentine Domingo Faustino Sarmiento said that America had to choose between civilization and barbarism, and that the first was represented by the European and world second by Indians, blacks and Creoles.

But Alberdi and Sarmiento are only examples of the thinking of the time. So, for longer than one might believe has spoken in our region of the problem posed by "inferior races" for development. Proof of this are the writings of Colombian authors like Jose Maria Samper, Luis López de Mesa and Laureano Gomez.

For all that, for a long time our countries turned their back to reality. And that was a fateful decision, because as it was said before the Peruvian Manuel González Prada, when the late nineteenth century analyzed the humiliating defeat of his country to Chile in the Pacific War, it was impossible to create democratic and powerful republics in the midst of exclusion and oppression of millions of people.

But things have been changing, although indigenous groups and Afro-Colombian communities remain marginalized and subject to discrimination and exploitation. That is, although in our countries still lurks racism, it is becoming increasingly clear to many that, as explained by the same Carlos Fuentes, regardless of the color of each of the individuals, our identity "is multiracial: Indian, European , black and, above all, mestizo, mulatto. "

Throughout this transformation it has played a key role in art. That is why Latin Americans has a deep debt with people like Mercedes Sosa, Celia Cruz and many others who were taught to discover and appreciate our soul.

You can only be universal when you are aware of what is yours. And Latin America will only be recognized in the world as far as it is faithful to his mestizo and mulatto identity. And this, a few days after the celebration of the day of the race, reminds us of our duty to vindicate the rights of all who have been discriminated against and subjected because of their color.

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