June 17, 2024

Colombia elects Francia Marquez first Black Vice President in nation’s history, becoming the Kamala Harris of South America

Francia Marquez
Francia Marquez

The South American nation of Colombia has elected Francia Marquez as vice president. When she takes office on August 7, she will make history as the first ever Black person to hold the position, and is now dubbed by some people the Kamala Harris of South America.

Marquez ran with president-elect Senator Gustavo Petro, who will make history himself by becoming the nation’s first president to identify as a leftist.

Francia Marquez’s election is being celebrated by many as a mark of progress for Colombia, where racial discrimination and a racial wealth gap have been ongoing concerns.

“Afro-Colombians, who account for as much as 25 percent of the population, make up the largest segment of the more than 7 million people who have been displaced by violence, and Afro-Colombians’ income fell significantly amid the economic disruption linked to COVID-19,” reported Freedom House in its 2022 profile of Colombia.

“Areas with concentrated Afro-Colombian populations continue to suffer vastly disproportionate levels of abuse by guerrillas, security forces, and criminal groups, and in 2021 UN officials reported that impunity is nearly absolute for killers of Afro-Colombian and Indigenous ex-combatants and social leaders,” said Freedom House.

Marquez will be the second woman to serve as Vice President of Colombia. She is just 40 years of age and her path toward political office has been atypical. Coming from humble beginnings, she was born in a remote and rural village in the Cauca region. As a teenager, Marquez was already a mother and was simultaneously working as a maid before getting involved in environmental activism.

Marquez has based her platform on the claim that the government of Colombia has turned its back on everyday people, equality, and environmentalism. She has discussed creating a ministry of equality, which would serve to reduce gender inequality and stand up for ethnic minorities.

“This will be a government for those with calluses on their hands. We are here to promote social justice and to help women eradicate the patriarchy,” said Francia Marquez.

Marquez’s path to becoming the nation’s first Black vice president has been filled with many challenges including numerous death threats and even an assassination attempt.

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