There are currently 150 million Afro-descendants in Latin America who make up nearly 30 percent of the region’s population (Congressional Research Service, 2005). Out of the fifteen Latin American nations that have recently adapted some sort of multicultural reform, only three give recognize Afro-Latino communities and give them the same rights as indigenous groups (Hooker, 2005). Indigenous groups are more successful than afro-descendent groups in gaining collective rights and development aid from international NGO’s. Collective rights important because are closely related to land rights and can become a tool to fight descrimination .I will attempt to uncover the causes for the discrepancy. This study relies heavily on ethnographic research on post-colonial ideas of race in Latin America and I will attempt to connect race and power structures in environmental decision-making by interviews with national decision-makers, NGO representatives and both black and indigenous communities .
1. Explaining Indigenous and Afro-Latino Disparities in Collective Rights.
Hooker explores countries of indigenous resistance and ability to organize and speculates on why Afro-Latinos are not as successful in organized and becoming recognized by their government. She suggests why formal multicultural recognition is important and what has been gained for successful groups. She claims Afro-Latinos are much less likely to gain formal recognition as only seven the fifteen Latin American countries to implement multicultural reform give collective rights to Afro-Latinos and only three give Afro-Latinos the same rights as indigenous groups. Hooker dismissed various scholars’ theories as to why indigenous conclusion as to why Afro-Latinos experience less mobilization including theories which suggest the root of disparity lay in population size of respective groups in within nations. More specifically, that elites are more apt to give rights to groups small in number because they are less of a threat, and Afro Latinos compose a larger percent of the population in most countries. However, when looking at population size as an indicator of whether blacks or indigenous groups gain collective rights, there is no direct correlation (Hooker, 2005). “While it may be the case that population size is an important factor in elite decision-making about collective rights, it does not explain the uneven scope of such rights won by blacks and Indians within and across countries” (293). Following this logic, Bolivia, a largely indigenous country would not have the progressive indigenous recognition in comparison to other countries like Chile, where the indigenous population is much smaller.
Hooker claims indigenous groups are more successful and gaining collective rights due to the view of indigenous groups as a distinct cultural group while Afro-decedents are not seen as having a distinct culture, but rather a separate racial group (Hooker, 2005). Wade (1997) also pointed the...