The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) strongly condemns recent death threats against our esteemed colleague and Afro-Colombian historian Sergio Antonio Mosquera.
A prolific writer, Mosquera is the author of over ten books on the history of slavery, African diasporic culture, and anti-Black racism in Colombia, focusing especially on the majority-Black Pacific coast of Colombia. Notably, he is the founder of the Fundación Muntú Bantú in Quibdó, Colombia, the country’s only African diasporic center and museum. The Fundación Muntú Bantú has served as a central social and educational center for African diasporic history and culture since it opened in 2009. In a country with a long history of slavery and anti-Black violence, the Fundación Muntú Bantú plays a hugely important role in Colombian society, particularly given the absence of a national Afro-Colombian history museum.
On January 13, 2023, Mosquera announced that he was forced to shut down the museum after he and museum director María Fernanda Parra received death threats from armed groups in Quibdó in the department of Chocó. This is the terrifying reality faced by so many activists and cultural workers throughout the country, especially in the country's Pacific region, despite the 2016 peace accords and ongoing efforts by the current administration to negotiate with various armed groups. As a point of reference, in 2022 alone, 216 social movement leaders were murdered in Colombia.
It should also be emphasized that these threats come at a time of growing Afro-Colombian political visibility and representation in public life due to the election of Francia Márquez, the first Afro-Colombian vice-president in the country's history. A world-renowned social leader, Márquez herself has been the victim of numerous racist attacks and recent death threats. She has denounced the threats against Mosquera and Parra, emphasizing that the Fundación Muntú Bantú is “a cradle of humanity” for both Afro-Colombians and all Colombians.
LASA condemns these violent threats and intimidation against Mosquera, Parra, and the Fundación Muntú Bantú and calls on the international community to stand in solidarity with our colleagues and the center.
The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest professional association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America. With over 13,000 members, over 60% of whom reside outside the United States, LASA is the one association that brings together experts on Latin America from all disciplines and diverse occupational endeavors, across the globe. LASA's mission is to foster intellectual discussion, research, and teaching on Latin America, the Caribbean, and its people throughout the Americas, promote the interests of its diverse membership, and encourage civic engagement through network building and public debate.
If you wish to interview a LASA Executive Council member, you can contact the LASA communications office at (412) 648-7929 or send an email to email@example.com.