Racial Capitalism, the Free Trade Zone of Pacific Alliance, and Colombian Utopic Spatialities of Anti-Blackness

  • Jaime Alves City University of New York
  • Tathagatan Ravidran
Keywords: antiblackness, racial capitalism, necro(bio)politics, accumulation as evisceration, surplus existence


The port-city of Buenaventura (in the Colombian Pacific coast) is at the center of national and international geopolitical interest as “the capital of the Pacific Alliance”, a US$ 3 trillion trade bloc formed by Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru to advance regional integration and cross-pacific trade. At the same time, the city is also known for extraordinary levels of gruesome violence, dismembered dead bodies floating in the low-tide area of port-expansion being its most visible aspect. In this article, we ask: How is racial terror tied to such a promising future for capitalist development? How can we theorize the dynamics of capital’s flow, economic expansion and global integration in this Fanonian zone of nonbeing? To answer these questions, we first analyze the colonial geography of this predominantly Black port-city as well as its place in the geographic imaginary of Colombia. Then, in dialogue with literature on multiple dimensions of racial capitalism and structural antiblackness such as racialized surplus populations and social death, we analyze some spatial dynamics that dialectically produce Buenaventura simultaneously as a dystopic and a value-producing spatiality that repositions Colombia in the global economy. Finally, borrowing from Rhonda Williams’ analysis of racialized dispossession as “accumulation-as-evisceration,” we provide some reflection on the racially-driven eviscerating politics of capital-making in this port-city as it relates to current global geopolitics as well as to lasting antiblack injustices in Colombia and beyond.


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How to Cite
Alves, Jaime, and Tathagatan Ravidran. 2020. “Racial Capitalism, the Free Trade Zone of Pacific Alliance, and Colombian Utopic Spatialities of Anti-Blackness”. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 19 (1), 187-209. https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1757.