On the 10th of August, 1809, the first call for independence from Spanish rule was made in Quito, Ecuador, the city of my birth. It launched, along with a good number of other Spanish colonies, a series of wars for independence, partly capitalizing on the destabilization of Spain by the Napoleonic wars. By 1829 all the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America had won independence. Mexico tried on monarchy for a little less than a year, but the Enlightenment pushed them all toward republics, as we see today. However, the DNA of European colonialism is not easily cast aside. Classism persists, even to this day. Essentially, the more indigenous blood you have in your veins, the further you are from centers of power. True freedom for all is an inconvenient ideal for those in power.
Yet even that is changing now. The oligarchic clans are losing their grip on the people. The Roman Catholic Church, that historically has helped rule, hand-in-hand with the oligarchies, is losing members to the Pentecostal tradition, about as far from classist religion as you can get. More and more, people who identify as Indigenous are becoming wealthy, hammering out influence, and even finding seats in national government. Native tongues are being recognized. Like in the US, racism has been driven underground, where it persists as a cancer that eats away at social integrity. This hemisphere-wide movement has found traction lately here in the US in the popular Black Lives Matter movement. But I wonder if there isn’t a certain inevitability in it. There seems to be a need in the heart of every people for social integrity, and if freedom is the basis of it, then the story of a people must somehow weave together the stories of all its members, not just some.
Otherwise, there is only oppression.