Rolling through The Guianas in South America I ran into something that I didn’t think existed in our society today. It was beyond God’s mandate to not allow me a comfortable way in and out of the country. I didn’t think that this kind of situation would occur with a 1st world power like France. Africa and some parts of Asia are the only parts of the world that still have modern day slavery. South America was just setting laws into place when I was leaving the country of Venezuela (1990-ish) to be a good little Latin boy in the United States. There isn’t actual slavery going on in French Guyana but the racism and repression is very clear.
First let me start when I first arrived in French Guyana. I just finished coming back from the Galibi Natural Reserve to see the sea turtles and other animals when our tour guide was leading us around the border town of St. Laurent. The entire group was walking and in true Latin fashion I was the last person walking out of the mini-market. The tour guide was walking just behind me when a police van drove and said it (English translation): “Hey boo boo what are you doing here”.
First let me explain that in The Guianas there is a very healthy mix of a variety of cultures. In Guyana you mainly have Africans and Indians from the British slave imports. In Suriname you have a healthy dose of Indians, Indonesians, and Africans from the Dutch colony and in French Guyana you have mostly Africans and the occasional white Frenchman.
You do have other cultures in these countries as well like Chinese and Japanese but the vast majority are the ones listed above. There is a significantly higher amount of African Americans living in French Guiana then Suriname or Guyana. All of police in French Guiana are white. My hotel in Cayenne was right next to a police station and only then did I see 1 African American policeman.
Now this white police man called our tour guide “boo boo” which means something similar to little black boy. With no respect at all for him as an individual. He didn’t bring his passport when we crossed the border (a river) and if we weren’t with him he would have been arrested on the spot. What bothers me is that there was a complete lack of respect for our tour guide for no reason. Let me mention that our tour guide was Amerindian which is the name for the natives in the region. I did say something to the cops and they did get upset but there was nothing they could do to me.
After having a conversation with several people that grew up in French Guiana many things came to light. Many of the residents of the nation state that most people, many of them African American, don’t work and just collect welfare from the French government. They receive a total of 500 Euros per child. Many of the people that come to work in the country are foreigners or people from France. When I spoke to numerous African American’s they stated that they don’t like the French occupying the country but still want them there.
Many of them also stated that the French government treated them in a very condescending manner. I would like to point out that while they don’t agree with the way they are treated they stated that they still want the French there. The French Guianese are smart enough to realize that their standard of living is higher with the French occupying the region.
There wasn’t a single pot hole on a road while I was driving. The only flights in and out of French Guiana are with Air France and Air Caraibes to Paris or Martinique. There are direct flights between Guyana and Suriname and there are direct flights to Suriname from Miami.
There are not any flights directly to French Guyana from anywhere in the western hemisphere except other french colonies like Martinique.Air France wanted me to have 8 connections in order for me to get back home to Medellin, click here for the post.
It seems to me that the reason why it is so difficult to fly into French Guiana is because the French don’t want them to leave. In order for people of French Guiana to migrate to France they have to go by land to Suriname which consists of 2-3 hour bus rides in each direction (4-6 hours). In between the drive you have a border crossing which consists of a river with glorified canoe boats going back and forth. I could have smuggled an entire family into either country with no one noticing. After they reach the international airport in Suriname they fly to the Netherlands and take a train into France. All this is cheaper than getting a flight from French Guiana to France.
What do you think? Could this be just a coincidence?