“The recognition of Afro-Bolivian people began amid a very difficult political and social situation. In 2009 there existed a total negation of the presence of Afro-descendants in a country considered to be clearly indigenous,” noted Paola Yáñez of the Red Nacional de Mujeres Afrobolivianas [National Network of Afro-Bolivian Women] during the Workshop Toward the Inclusion of the Afro-descendant Variable in Official Data, where Afro-Peruvian leaders convened in Lima, Peru, at the invitation of the Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights and Centro de Desarrollo de la Mujer Negra Peruana [the Center for the Development of Black Peruvian Women].

The specialist said that to meet this challenge it was necessary to confront a corporate media that was hostile toward the recognition of Afro-Bolivianos.

“To put the plight of Afro-Bolivians on the social agenda we turned to unconventional public communication methods. Music, for example, became the voice of a history ignored in books,” Yáñez said. Yáñez underscored that although Afro-Bolivians have received constitutional recognition, there still remains much work to be done. “We need disaggregated statistics in order to make an impact on the Decade For People of African Descent.”

Finally, the representative of the National Association of Afro-Bolivian Women emphasized the necessity of taking advantage of the international agenda in order to best advance the demands of Afro-descendants, making reference to the advancement of a human development agenda for Afro-descendant men and women that takes advantage of the UN Decade for People of African Descent and new objectives for sustainable development.