Do you know that Argentina once had a massive population of Africans who were inhabitants of that land? According to the 2019 National Census of Argentina, the total Population of Argentine amounted to about 44.78 million, of whom 149,493 are Afro-Argentine. The most exciting part about the Argentine’s of African descent is that throughout the 18th to the 19th century, they played a pivotal role in the national culture of Argentina, at that time, they consisted of about 50 percent of the population, which means that they’re the majority as compared to the European descendants who were the minority. It completely changed when the Spanish colonialist arrived and started the enslavement and colonization of the Afro-Argentine’s and this progressively increased the continuous influx of Europeans in Argentina. As I write, the population of Argentina consist of 97 percent of Europeans descendants; this current figure seems confusing taking into account that as of the early 1700’s, close to 50 percent of Argentine’s were of African descent and between 30 to 40 percent in mostly Buenos Aires were either black or mulatto. So what happened to Afro-Argentine’s and why are they now the disadvantaged minority?
According to Spanish Wikipedia, slavery ended at around 1853 in South America, most of the Afro-Argentine’s either died from War (keep in mind that most recruits in the Paraguayan War were predominantly blacks with very minimal military training), systemic controlled poverty, government mistreatment which lead to most Afro-Argentine’s fleeing to Uruguay, a neighboring country to Argentina. Other reasons are unfavorable government policies aimed at disenfranchising them, high infant mortality rates, limited numbers of married couples in this ethnic group, cholera epidemics in 1861 and 1864, and a yellow fever epidemic in 1871. All these genocidal events may have led to the rapid decline and mass exodus of the Afro-Argentine’s from Argentina to other parts of South America or to their premature deaths. The Argentine white-controlled government undertook everything within its powers to persuade Europeans from other parts of the world with the promise of citizenship and welfare benefit, thus sparking mass migration of white settlers from Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Belgium.
Till this very day, overwhelming majority of Argentine’s with European ancestry deny the impact made by the Afro-Argentine’s, yet its first-ever president, Bernardino de la Trinidad González Rivadavia, nicknamed the “Chocolate Dictator” by his political opponents was of African ancestry, he received honors as a respected captain-general. Today his remains rest in a mausoleum located in Plaza Miserere, adjacent to Rivadavia Avenue, named after him. I begin wondering, now that we are aware of the reasons for the decline of the Afro-Argentinians was due to unfavorable racist policies, then why were the perpetrators not punished for such a cruel act?
One of the controversial founders of the unfavourable policies represents no other than Domingo Faustino Sarmiento; he was an Argentinian activist, intellectual, writer, statesman and the seventh president of Argentina. Domingo Sarmiento issued this statement during his exile in Chile, and I quote: “We must be reasonable with the Spaniards,” he wrote, “by exterminating a savage people whose territory they were going to occupy, they merely achieved what all civilized people have done with savages, what colonization did consciously or unconsciously: absorb, destroy and exterminate.” For more insights on Domingo Faustino Sacrimiento, click on the link below.
Domingo Sarmiento was responsible for the undercover genocide that eradicated the Afro-Argentine population to the point that in the early 1900’s there was a scanty population of black Argentine’s. The Argentine government ignored calls to register the Afro-Argentine’s in the National Population Census; it was a planned covert effort aimed at making the Argentine population predominantly white. Sarmiento’s racist apartheid policies included separating the black population from Europeans descendants, placing them in abandoned communities that had infrequently or no medical facilities; this is why when cholera was prevalent, there was no medical solution, this resulted in the death of so many blacks. Sarmiento was also responsible for the mass incarceration, and extrajudicial killing of the Afro-Argentine men, this discriminatory practice affected the Afro-Argentine women so severely that they were forced to have children with either mulatto or white-Argentine men. The genocide went on for centuries that the population of the Afro-Argentine’s was in a negative decline that even ex-Argentine President, Carlos Saúl Menem, found it easy to falsely declare that blacks did not exist in Argentina and that it is more of a Brazilian problem. This is why the history books in Argentina were altered to support Carlos Menem’s claim forgetting the Afro-Argentine’s were the first people to occupy the land of Argentina as well as all over South America. To consolidate my support for the Afro-Argentine, where do you think the mixed-race called mulatto came from if not for the forceful rape between Spanish colonialist men and black Afro-Argentine women.
Think about this, why is Argentina mostly white and the rest of their neighbors are more of a diverse race like Brazil, Columbia, Uruguay who have a large number of black people, the same applies to Bolivia which has a large number of Indians. If you capture a more proper look at the Argentine football national team, then one must inquire why there is an acute shortage of black footballers? It is yet another genocide executed on black people because, as always, black lives never matter. The Argentine government needs to explain what happened to their once populous Afro-Argentine population. As always, it’s my opinion.