Archive for the South America Category

U.S. Syphilis Experiments on People of Color / Crimes Against Humanity

Posted in HISTORY, Humanity, NEWS, North America, Our Health, South America with tags , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

From 1932 to 1972 the U.S. Public Health Service in Tuskegee, Alabama conducted a “clinical study” using poor African American sharecroppers to research the progression of untreated syphilis. Approximately 400 poor men of African descent were enticed into the program with free meals, medical exams, and burial insurance. They were never told they had syphilis. They were told they were being treated for “bad blood”, a term used at the time in the African American community for illness with fatigue symptoms. Actually, they were never treated. This “study” became known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment or the Tuskegee Experiment.

According to a Reuters article on Oct. 1st, President Obama offered his personal apology for another syphilis experiment. This time researchers deliberately infected 696 Guatemalan women, mental patients, and prison inmates with the disease. This “study” was to learn the effectiveness of penicillin in treating syphilis. It was conducted from 1946 to 1948.

Guatemalan government released this statement:

“President Alvaro Colom considers these experiments crimes against humanity and Guatemala reserves the right to denounce them in an international court.”

Susan Reverby, a professor of women’s studies at Wellesley College in Massachusetts uncovered the “study” while investigating the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment and informed the U.S. government before she published her findings.

Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA)

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Europe, Latin America, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, South America, Southeastern Asia, Spotlight with tags , , on August 15, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Do you know the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, MoCADA? It is located at 80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, New York. It was founded in 1999 by its Executive Director, Laurie Cumbo. Originally  located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in 2006, with the help of a cultural affairs grant from New York City and private money, it relocated.

Its mission is to ‘rewrite history’ so to give an accurate account of the historical, artistic, and cultural contributions of people of African descent to the world. Due to the arrogance of racism many of these facts were never documented or celebrated as achievements of the descendants of Africa.

‘Ain’t I a Woman’, a group exhibit featuring paintings, videos, and works of mixed media is currently on display until December 19, 2010. Featured artists include:

  • Eric Alugas
  • Andrea Chung
  • Elizabeth Colomba
  • William Mwazi
  • Kenya (Robinson)
  • Phoenix Savage
  • Damali Abrams
  • Francis Simeni

The exhibit offers an insight on African Diasporan Women as they choose to be seen. Its name was borrowed from an 1885 speech given by Sojourner Truth. The exhibit is in keeping with her work as an activist to promote taking ownership of one’s image and identity.

For more details contact MoCADA

African Descendants in Chile

Posted in Awareness, HISTORY, South America with tags , , on July 24, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Chile’s economy was not depended on the free labor of slaves. Because of this Chile was the second country in the new world to end and eventually abolish slavery. An estimated 5,000-20,000 enslaved Africans were brought to Chile during the mid-16th century. By the early eighteenth century there were only 4,000 freed slaves living in Chile. Some legends say the missing former slaves fought and died as solders. It is most likely that interracial marriages caused changes in census statistics.

The children of interracial marriages created a census category called mulattos. In the mid-eighteenth century, there were almost 20,000 mulattos in Chile. The number grew to 30,000 by the nineteenth century.

Historically, governments have tried to portray Chile as a country of European descent. The African descent presence and contributions were ignored. In 2001, the Oro Negro, Black Gold, organization was formed to recognize the African presence in Chile.

‘Quilombos’ – Afro-Brazilian Communities

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, South America on July 9, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Quilombos, or quilombolas, are free settlements created by enslaved Africans who typically used capoeira to escape during the 17th and 18th centuries. Over a hundred years later, quilombos still exist in Brazil.

Quilombos were hidden in dense jungles or remote mountainsides to avoid recapture. Today, there are 3,524 quilombos scattered throughout Brazil, with another 1500 still hidden in the jungles.

Native African cultures and lifestyles are kept alive within quilombos. Quilombos pride themselves in being self-sufficient. Residents depend on farming, hunting, fishing, and trade. Poverty is high in these communities. Residents’ homes are made of mud. As a result of the continued isolation:

  • 91% of family incomes are less than 190 a month
  • Children suffer higher rates of malnutrition
  • 3.2 % of children live in homes without indoor plumbing

The isolation has not protected them from exploitation of those looking to cheat them out of the land that they have lived on for over a hundred years. Large companies often make claims to rain forest without legal opposition. Out of fear of losing their land families do not leave their homes to enroll children in city school, or seek medical services.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Posted in Europe, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, Our Health, South America with tags , on July 7, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Sickle Cell Anemia is a chronic blood disorder that causes hemoglobin to crystallize. Hemoglobin in red blood cells carries oxygen from the lungs to organs and tissues. In sickle cell anemia, red blood cells may:

  • Cluster
  • Stiffen
  • Form sickle-shapes
  • Fail to circulate sufficiently

This condition is potentially fatal.


Sickle Cell Anemia is a genetic disease occurring in the following heritages:

  • African
  • Native American
  • Hispanic

It also occurs in people from Italy, Greece, India, and the Middle Eastern countries.

Children of parents who both carry two of the sickle cell gene are at the highest risk of inheriting the disorder. Although sickle cell anemia is present at birth early signs might not develop until age 4 months. Inexpensive blood screening test are available to be done at birth.

Symptoms first appear in infants as fever, abdominal pain, and pneumococcal bacterial infections.  As they grow they will experience symptoms associated with common anemia symptom such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and feeling cold. Episodes of severe pain,  called crisis,  are  also a symptom. Insufficient blood flow and shortage of cells may cause:

  • Damaged retinas that may lead to blindness
  • Damage to Kidneys, liver, lungs, bones, and nervous system
  • Swelling in the hands and feet accompanied with fever
  • Stroke
  • Slow growth
  • Bacterial infections
  • Ulcers in feet and legs
  • Yellowing in skin and eyes

Treatment focuses on the individual symptom and  include blood transfusions, oral antibiotics, and a drug called Hydroxyurea.

Deaths Per Year


Number of Deaths

United States




Dominican Republic




















Puerto Rico


The Bahamas






Costa Rica






El Salvador


South Africa






United Kingdom






Read more on how these statistics were derived.

Learn more about Sickle Cell and genetics @ Learn.Genetics


Global Racism Directed At Descents of Africa

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Europe, HISTORY, Latin America, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, South America with tags , , , , on July 4, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Have the descents of Africa been a global target of racism? If so why? The issue of racism has often been addressed. Focus has been placed on the injustice of it, areas where racism manifests itself, and combating it. Seldom do we focus on why it was created, why it still exists, or why its targeted races are chosen.

Ignoring these essential questions allows the continued growth of racism, because it allows the survival of the root. What is at the root of racism?  Consider these components:

  1. Basis – Ignorance and Arrogance
  2. Division – Based on Differences
  3. Justification – Absents of Guilt

Racism is based on not understanding groups of people different from you. Couple ignorance with feelings of superiority to the new group, and the result is arrogance. There is usually an economic basis to institutionalized racism. History reveals greed as a consistent factor.

Historical Examples of Greed

Descents of Africa have been targets of this sort of racism for centuries. Proclaiming these groups as less than human justified the continued discrimination and inhumane treatment. Examples of this sort of racism can be found globally.

In an article on racism, Anup Shah said this about racism . . .

“Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns.”

SocialVibe and Charity: Water in Ethiopia

Posted in Awareness, Europe, Humanity, Latin America, Mother Africa, NEWS, North America, Oceania, South America, Spotlight with tags on July 2, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

SocialVibe  is a social media with the mission to empower sponsors of charities of “their” choice.  You can be a part of this. Help send girls to school in Africa. It is free. Take part in a few simple activities on the SocialVibe banner on my sidebar.  It is fun and it  will only take a few seconds. Do you have a blog or website? Add SocialVibe to your sidebar.  Join SocialVibe.  Enrich someone’s life.