Title

Corrective lenses for a myopic state: Unseeing coca or not unseeing comunidades negras in Colombia?

Date of Publication

1-1-2020 12:00 AM

Publication Date

2020

Security Theme

Transnational Organized Crime

Keywords

srhreports, transnationalorganizedcrime, country-colombia, Afro-descendants, Coca, Colombia, Critical geography, Latin America, War on drugs

Description

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Colombia's Pacific region is a vast expanse of tropical forest that lies between the borders of Panama and Ecuador -the bulk of which is titled to Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities — increasingly subject to 'the illicit' and 'the illegal'. Coca cultivation, cocaine trafficking and gold mining are the principal activities framed as threats to the nation's security, biodiversity, and economic potential. Employing ethnographic evidence and critical geographic theory this article applies the notion of 'seeing like a state' (Scott, 1998) to the context of coca cultivation in southwest Colombia. It specifically theorizes how this mode of vision impacts Afro-descendant communities seeking legibility, sustainable peace and alternative development. This article argues that the corrective measure for this vision problem is not 'unseeing' illicit crops or other illegal activities but making rural Colombian communities legible in a way that they cannot be unseen. It features the insights of the leader of a comunidad negra (Afro-descendant community) who has managed various alternative developments projects and has witnessed the transformation of his community and others impacted by the recent coca boom in this region of Colombia. It frames these insights as part of the struggle for ethnic territorial rights throughout the Americas.

Share

Report Location

 
COinS
 
Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Corrective lenses for a myopic state: Unseeing coca or not unseeing comunidades negras in Colombia?

© 2020 Elsevier Ltd Colombia's Pacific region is a vast expanse of tropical forest that lies between the borders of Panama and Ecuador -the bulk of which is titled to Afro-descendant and Indigenous communities — increasingly subject to 'the illicit' and 'the illegal'. Coca cultivation, cocaine trafficking and gold mining are the principal activities framed as threats to the nation's security, biodiversity, and economic potential. Employing ethnographic evidence and critical geographic theory this article applies the notion of 'seeing like a state' (Scott, 1998) to the context of coca cultivation in southwest Colombia. It specifically theorizes how this mode of vision impacts Afro-descendant communities seeking legibility, sustainable peace and alternative development. This article argues that the corrective measure for this vision problem is not 'unseeing' illicit crops or other illegal activities but making rural Colombian communities legible in a way that they cannot be unseen. It features the insights of the leader of a comunidad negra (Afro-descendant community) who has managed various alternative developments projects and has witnessed the transformation of his community and others impacted by the recent coca boom in this region of Colombia. It frames these insights as part of the struggle for ethnic territorial rights throughout the Americas.