BY TANIA APAZA
On this day in 1492, Christopher Columbus stepped onto our continent and began one of the worst holocausts in human history.
It’s common knowledge that this day does not mark a “discovery” of empty lands, but rather an invasion of a continent heavily populated with complex societies.
However, what isn’t common knowledge is how many of our ancestors died: 95 percent of the population, to be exact. What also isn’t common knowledge is how complex these societies were.
We are never told about how the Incas managed to eradicate poverty throughout their territories through efficient governmental policies. We’re rarely given the information we need to imagine the bustling markets and busy restaurants of Tenochtitlán. We usually don’t picture the Amazon as it really was — not a wild jungle, but a highly-organized garden.
We’re definitely not told that it was mainly through smallpox and other European diseases that our people died. Our ancestors’ accomplishments are overshadowed by exaggerated tales of sacrifice or by naive accounts of child-like people living side by side in complete harmony, only to be overwhelmed by the Europeans with their supposedly superior weapons and war tactics.
We have not only been misinformed of our pre-colonial history, we have also been led to believe that the 19th Century independence movements led to actual liberation for the Indigenous, African and mestizo masses of our lands. When it was just a transfer of power from the Europeans in Europe to the Europeans illegally occupying our lands. And it’s been these same white elites who have been misinforming us for the past five centuries.
While the Brown and Black majority of our continent live in poverty, the European elite continue to dominate. Their political and economic power works side by side with the imperialist governments of the United States and the United Kingdom. These Western hegemonic powers intervene whenever a Latin American government that has the interests of the poor masses at heart is voted in.
ANTICONQUISTA aims to challenge the colonialist-imperialist lies which are spread throughout mainstream media. Outlets like the BBC, Fox News, the Guardian, CNN, Vice, Caracol and El País aim to maintain the current global order in which the First World lives off of the backs of the people of the Third World.
That’s why these media outlets portrayed former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez as a “dictator” and have continued to do so with current President Nicolás Maduro. That’s why Bolivian President Evo Morales is depicted as neo-colonial leader who has “betrayed” the wishes of the Indigenous masses of Bolivia, when in actual fact extreme poverty has more than halved in the past ten years under his revolutionary government.
Cuban Revolution leader Fidel Castro was constantly called a “brutal dictator,” merely because he didn’t want his country to be a playground for U.S. elites and their perversions. The First World does not want to see Third World nations rise with self-determination and dignity. They invest millions into funding opposition groups to sabotage progressive governments. They spread malicious lies about these progressive nations through their media outlets. In the era of social media, they have also infiltrated new media spaces with propaganda.
Colonialism never ended. Our lands are still occupied. The Brown and Black masses of our continent still do not have full control over political, economic and social institutions. Rather, we are stuck abiding by systems created by and for the invaders.
In short, we are still under attack and one of the enemy’s best weapons is mainstream media. It’s only right that we take up arms and fight back with our own voices. A voice which fiercely challenges colonialism, imperialism and capitalism from a Third Worldist, communist perspective.