The diversity of life is a reality that emerges from the very creation of the world. The existence of tastes, races, colors, smells, ideologies, etc., are part of the different ways of understanding that nothing and nobody can be the same and that everything is part of a general rule of life
To speak of racism is to refer to the violation of human rights.
The existence of racism in many places has reached levels that are cause for concern, places where violence against people of color is increasing, regardless of the pain that these people may feel as a result of mistreatment, exclusion, and of the contempt of which they are victims.
Presence of Racism in Costa Rica?
Most of the black community came to Costa Rica in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries brought from Jamaica and as cheap labor to work in the construction of the Railroad to the Pacific. Because of this, most Afro-Costa Ricans have Anglo-Saxon names and surnames, are usually of the Protestant religion, and speak English or Creole Limonens.
In Costa Rica, there is a social stereotype associated with blacks that they are lazy and do not like to work. Some complaints highlight that Costa Rican attitudes can be very harmful to black Costa Ricans. A well-known case occurred when, during a first division soccer match, the fans of the opposing team to the black player Try Beneth began to insult him and make sounds imitating the monkeys.
Since the 1990s and thanks to the leading role that Afro-Costa Ricans have had in politics and sports, racism and jokes towards blacks have decreased, and there is still a large percentage of mulatto or Afro-Costa Rican people who do not know their roots and many times they describe themselves as mestizos or even whites.
Recent cases of racist attitudes in Costa Rica
During 2019 some racist events occurred in the country. These had as public stage some sports venues, among which stand out with those suffered by a minor of just 10 years and brother of the player Jonathan McDonald on September 15 in a friendly game between the children’s leagues of the Alajuelense Sports League and Deportivo Saprissa.
“Costa Rica, much to our regret, has a tradition of racist attitudes that has grown in recent years. It is a shame that Afro-descendant brothers and sisters must suffer discrimination and grievances in education centers, stadiums, workplaces, streets, among others, in our country,” said Elizabeth Odio Benito, Judge of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
The liberationist deputy also denounced a match between the San Carlos Sports Association and Limón F.C. That was played in April in which racist acts also took place. To this, the Judge added that:
“The situation is intolerable and it is the responsibility of all public and private institutions to prevent and eradicate this violation of fundamental human rights.”
The current position of the Costa Rican authorities against racism
The government council agreed in a session this Tuesday, June 10, to express its rejection against all forms of racism and discrimination, following the murder of citizen George Floyd, on May 25 in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, in the United States. According to a statement sent by the government on Tuesday:
“The state ministers agreed to send a message of solidarity to the African American community and show their support to those who break the silence, consistently, to achieve the right to a dignified life, free from threats and discrimination.”
As pointed out by the Vice President of the Republic, Epsy Campbell Barr:
“Today young people all over the world embrace the lives of people of African descent and make a desperate cry for equality, a cry of love and respect, because they consider that it was enough, that discrimination cannot be tolerated.
This is a new generation that does not intend to remain silent and complicit in injustice, brutality, and pain. As a consequence of this global movement, the Government of Costa Rica has today expressed its energetic rejection of all forms of racism and discrimination; and it reminds the entire world that diversity is vital for human coexistence”.
In the agreement of this Tuesday, the Executive decided to “Urge Costa Rican public facilities to implement affirmative actions to promote respect for diversity, equality and thus eradicate all forms of racism and discrimination”, while inviting citizens “to fight racism and claim the universal character of human rights, as conquest and democratic heritage for future generations.”
For the approval of this manifesto, the Governing Council took as its basis article 1 of the Political Constitution of Costa Rica and the International Decade of people of African descent, among other international documents.
The Legislative Assembly is currently working on a bill that will impose fines of up to 9 million Colones for those who issue racist insults in sports activities.
Acceptance of diversity, on the condition that we are all different, is a matter of believing that God formed everything differently, not for humanity to disqualify, criticize, question, mistreat or simply subtract the value and importance that we all have as beings. Human, where we are all equal. It is necessary to promote a society where the principles of equality and respect prevail.