Friday, November 17, 2017

Five Videos About Afro Costa Ricans (information, videos, comments)

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post provides information about Afro Costa Ricans and showcases five YouTube videos about Afro Costa Ricans in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica.

Selected comments from one of these videos' discussion threads are also included in this post.

The content of this post is presented for cultural and educational purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are featured in these videos and all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

"The Spanish began to ship Africans to Costa Rica in the 1500s to substitute for indigenous labour. Most of this initial group eventually became part of the mestizo population.

A second wave began arriving in the 18th century from the Caribbean as free seasonal tortoiseshell fishermen. Subsequently they brought their families to the the Caribbean Talamanca Coast and created self-sufficient farming/fishing and /trading communities that included their own schools. They maintained relations with Jamaica and had little or no contact with the Pacific coast.

The main influx of Afro-Costa Ricans arrived, in the 1890s, as migrant workers from the Caribbean. They were initially involved in the construction of the railroad from the Central Plateau to the Caribbean coast port of Limon. They stayed on to work on the banana plantations and enclaves of the United Fruit Company (UFC now Dole). In the early 20th century few Afro-Costa Ricans travelled to the capital and they retained their English Creole language and culture.

In the 1970s crop disease brought an end to Atlantic Coast cacao cultivation. Fledgling Afro-Costa Rican agricultural prosperity declined along with the end of the country's cacao industry.

Many Afro-Costa Ricans migrated abroad or to the cities and gradually adapted to Costa Rican society. Some remained in the Limon area mostly finding work at the port but this opportunity shrunk significantly with the advent of containerized systems and port privatization.

Currently most of the Afro-Costa Rican population lives in small communities within the Caribbean Coast Province of Limon. In the City of Limón, where a third of the population is Afro-Costa Rican, the community has remained separate in barrios which are 90 per cent black. In the rest of the country, considerable ethnic mixing has taken place. In Limón, Creole English remains the dominant language, although the new generation is bilingual since they receive Spanish-language education.

Despite political participation (since 1949), the economic position of Afro-Costa Ricans has changed little. A small minority have achieved financial success (mostly as professionals) and increasingly become involved in national politics notably Epsy Barr-Campbell former head of the Afro-Costa Rican women's NGO, and president of the Citizen Action Party (PAC).

Afro Costa Rican areas traditionally receive much less investment than the rest of the country. Limon is ranked as the second most disadvantaged province in the country."...

Additional information and comments about Afro Costa Ricans are included in some of these featured videos, in a quote that is given after Video # 4, and in selected comments from the discussion thread for Video #5.

Example #1: Afro Costa Ricans

unique5589, Published on Sep 16, 2010

This video is about the African presence in Costa Rica. It includes a brief history of Afro Costa Ricans and famous Afro Costa Ricans. It is in English and Spanish.

The term Afro Costa Rican is referring to someone of African living in and/or from Costa Rica and/or having roots in Costa Rica. Of course, African descendants have other roots and lineages too.
All comments that I find offensive, racist, stereotypical and negative will not be approved. Please be respectful.

It should be noted that many persons of African descent in "Latin" America and the Caribbean do not refer to themselves as, "Afro + nationality" but either as "negros", "afrodescendiente" or by their nationality.

Please visit to see more images of Afro Costa Ricans.

Thanks Unique5589

Example #2: DÍA DEL NEGRO PUERTO LIMÓN 31-8-2011.mp4 [Africans Day (in) Puerto Limón]

Carvajaleventoslimon, Published on Sep 9, 2011

Lindo desfile del día del negro se llevó a cabo en las calles céntricas de la ciudad de Limón, buena organización, muy colorido, mucha participación y bien ordenado, felicidades a los organizadores.
Google translate from Spanish to English:

Cute parade of the day of the black took place in the downtown streets of the city of Limón, good organization, very colorful, lots of participation and well ordered, congratulations to the organizers.


Ferreteriakin, Published on Oct 26, 2012

Example #4: LOS PAYASOS [The Clowns]

Carvajaleventoslimon, Published on Oct 17, 2013

Los tradicionales PAYASOS, SIGLO 21.Octubre 17, 2013. Puerto Limón Costa Rica.
Here's an excerpt about the payasos carnival tradition in Puerto Limón Costa Rica:
From Its Carnaval Time in Costa Rica!!!!

Posted on October 18, 2013 by Bishop The Eastside Nappyhead
..."The Puerto Limon Carnaval was so different. Puerto Limon is a small city on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and home to an Afro-Caribbean Costa Rican population. Many of the black people there speak english as a result of immigration from the Caribbean Islands in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Immigrants went to Costa Rica to work on the banana plantations, turtle fishing and constructing railroads. Many stayed in Costa Rica and bought a long with them a Caribbean way of life in regards to music, dance, food, language and celebrations. The Carnaval lasts all week, starting with with what they call “los payasos” -clowns it seems like local youth run around in strange costumes after a loud song goes off…hitting people and running again. The atmosphere is very exciting and extremely colorful in the backdrop of this Caribbean Central American city."


Damien M., Published on Jun 1, 2013
Here are selected comments from this video's discussion thread. These comments are numbered for referencing purposes only:
1. XaishaMonae, 2014
..."Quick question, do the people in Limon mostly speak spanish or patois?"

2. Damien M., 2013
"+XaishaMonae Its about 60/40 patois/spanish depending on who they're talking to. If they're amongst themselves u may hear alot of patois.. but in commercial places of business it will be spanish. They Take pride in being African descendants so they don't talk spanish all the time.."

3. Derwin King, 2015
"Hello sir, I am currently living in Heredia and studying at La Universidad Nacional. I agree that Limon is isolated. It is referred to in a way that makes it seem like a separate entity. People have cautioned me about the safety there as well. I believe that the issue with racism in this country is that people pretend it doesn't exist altogether, so the issues that do exist (however small they are in comparison to the US) are not addressed or solved. People consider the hiked up foreign prices to be a form of racism (which is an ill-informed and incorrect opinion) but I think that's a result of Costa Ricans feeling an intense Big Brother-like omnipresence from the United States. Afro Costa Ricans are still subjected to forms of racism whether implicit or explicit. Thankfully, they are not experiencing it on the murderous level that African Americans do in the US. It's still an issue though."

4. tanya mullings, 2017
"There is propaganda against limon, but its a very safe place and a very important turistic point"
In another comment, tanya mullings wrote that is “n another comment, this

5. yorsha100, 2017
"Let us clarify a little the history of the arrival of the black people to Costa Rica.There are two moments in history which are different periods. In the first moment they arrived like African slaves brought by the Spaniards during the period of conquest and period of the colony also came brown people product of the mixture of the Spanish with the African slave these arrived like free. This is around the year 1561. The majority of these slaves were established in the province of Guanacaste working on the cattle ranches. Others were established in Cartago. By 1650 the Puebla de los Pardos was created in order to reduce the territory to mulattos, free blacks and browns because of discrimination. Historians report that these groups continued to generate mix and came a time where the black person was no longer evident because of such a mix. I am opening a parenthesis here according to a genetic study that was carried out on the genetic composition of the Costa Rican individual of the Central Valley that is considered white people but in reality in their great majority they are product of the mixture, these have 4.6% of African lineage. The second moment occurs with the construction of the railroad to the Atlantic in the late nineteenth century, arriving the first Jamaican black people around the year 1870 to our Caribbean coast they arrived as free since slavery had been abolished in Jamaica around the year 1834. Black people arrived most of them from Jamaica, from other islands such as Trinidad, Haiti, Saint Lucia and the Bahamas. Although there was a first moment with the African slaves, the black people of the second moment consolidate the Afro-descendant presence in Our country establishing its culture and the characteristics that define it."

6. BrooklynSpanishTchr, 2017
"This is great. Thank you. I lived in Costa Rica for four years and now teach Spanish (middle school). My students have so much trouble understanding that racism exists elsewhere and that there are Black populations outside of the US. I plan on using your video to start dialogs in my class!"

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