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On December 9, Santos decreed Law 4635, ostensibly creating the means for the Colombian government to compensate and assist Afro-Colombian victims that have been kicked off their land. However Santos failed to consult Afro-Colombians prior to the decree—a right protected in the constitution. Without such consultation this is just another piece of legislation that has made a mockery of the rights of Afro-descendants.
In April, President Obama and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos reinitiated discussions on establishing a free trade agreement. The agreement is now scheduled to be implemented by the end of the year, and the Colombian port city of Buenaventura will likely be one of the most directly affected places, at a high cost to the local community. This article was originally published in the July/August 2011 issue of the NACLA Report on the Americas.