Academic Freedom and Public Anthropology in Colombia: SALSA Statement (4-29-19)

Academic freedom Colombia SALSA statement

SALSA Statement Regarding Academic Freedom and Public Anthropology in Colombia

SALSA expresses its concern over the actions of the leadership of the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History (ICANH, Instituto Colombiano de Antropología e Historia) to censor the perspective of professional anthropologists regarding the peaceful protest movement known as “La Minga.” Since March 2019, thousands of Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and rural Colombians have been peacefully demonstrating to bring to greater public attention to targeted assassinations of community leaders. On April 4, researchers affiliated with ICANH published a letter which offered valuable historical context for understanding La Minga as a popular form of expression and political engagement. The authors sought to correct racist and politically-motivated depictions of the protesters on social media, pointing out a dangerous trend that seeks to criminalize dissent and “connect ethnicity and violence.” However, the leadership of ICANH removed the statement from ICANH’s website and social media accounts immediately, and the authors of the letter have reportedly been threatened with disciplinary action. SALSA hereby joins the public call for an end to the politicization of research in Colombia.

You can read the full text of SALSA’s letter below in both English and Spanish:

SALSA Statement on Academic Freedom and Public Anthropology in Colombia [PDF]

Declaración de SALSA sobre la libertad académica y la antropología pública en Colombia [PDF]

SIGN THE PETITION / FIRME LA PETICIÓN: Click here to read the  April 22 letter (in Spanish) by four former directors of ICANH, and if you wish, add your name to the list of signatories.

Photo: RCN Radio