A new day in Colombia and history has been made as Francia Márquez, an Afro-Colombia became the first Black and a woman of African descendant to become the first vice president of the country.
New York Times reports, “Francia Márquez, an environmental activist from the mountainous department of Cauca in southwestern Colombia, has become a national phenomenon, mobilizing decades of voter frustration, and becoming the country’s first Black vice president on Sunday, as the running mate to Gustavo Petro.
The Petro-Márquez ticket won Sunday’s runoff election, according to preliminary results. Mr. Petro, a former rebel and longtime legislator, will become the country’s first leftist pres The rise of Ms. Márquez is significant not only because she is Black in a nation where Afro-Colombians are regularly subject to racism and must contend with structural barriers, but because she comes from poverty in a country where economic class so often defines a person’s place in society. Most recent former presidents
Afro-Colombians are regularly subject to racism and must contend with structural barriers, but because she comes from poverty in a country where economic class so often defines a person’s place in society. Most recent former presidents were educated abroad and are connected to the country’s powerful families and kingmakers.
Despite economic gains in recent decades, Colombia remains starkly unequal, a trend that has worsened during the pandemic, with Black, Indigenous and rural communities falling the farthest behind. Forty percent of the country lives in poverty. “
Ms. Márquez, 40, chose to run for office, she said, “because our governments have turned their backs on the people, and on justice and on peace.”
Francia Elena Márquez Mina (born 1 December 1981) is an Afro-Colombian human-rights and environmental activist and lawyer, who is the vice president-elect of Colombia. She was born in Yolombó, a village in the Cauca Department. She first became an activist at 13, when construction of a dam threatened her community. She is the first Afro-Colombian and the second woman to have been elected vice president after Marta Lucía Ramírez.In August 2020, Márquez announced her candidacy in the 2022 Colombian presidential election and sought the nomination for the Historic Pact for Colombia coalition. She was later chosen by the coalition’s nominee, Gustavo Petro, to be his running mate.
In 2018, she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work to stop illegal gold mining in her community of La Toma and for her community organising. Márquez led a protest march of 80 women who trekked 560 kilometres (350 miles) to the capital city of Bogotá, and demanded the removal of all illegal miners from their community. In 2019, the BBC listed Francia Márquez on their 100 Women list for that year. Márquez is an agricultural technician graduate from the National Learning Service of Colombia. In 2020 she obtained a law degree from the University of Santiago de Cali
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