December 2, 2022

Francia Márquez Has Just Become Colombia’s First Black Vice President

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For the first time in Colombia’s history, a black woman is near the top of the executive branch.

Frances Marquez, an environmental activist from Kaka, a mountainous region in southwestern Colombia, has become a national phenomenon, triggering decades of voter frustration, and on Sunday became the country’s first black vice president. , As a companion of Gustave Petro.

According to preliminary results, Petro Marquez’s ticket won Sunday’s run-off election. Mr Petro, a former rebel and longtime lawmaker, will become the country’s first left-wing president.

Ms. Marquez’s rise is important not only because she is black in a nation where Afro-Colombians are regularly racist and must face structural barriers, but also because she lives in poverty in such a country. Where they come from The economic class often defines a person’s place in society. Most former presidents were educated abroad and are associated with the country’s powerful families and kings.

Despite the economic benefits of recent decades, Colombia is totally unequal, a trend that has been exacerbated by epidemics, with black, indigenous and rural communities lagging behind. Forty percent of the country’s population lives in poverty.

Ms Marquez, 40, chose to run for office, saying “because our governments have turned away from the people, justice and peace.”

He grew up sleeping on the dirt floor in a region plagued by violence over the country’s longest-running internal conflict. She became pregnant at the age of 16, went to work in the local gold mines to support her child, and eventually found work as a living maid.

For a class of Colombians who are calling for change and more diverse representation, Ms. Marquez is their champion. The question is, is the rest of the country ready for that?

Some critics have called it divisive, saying it is part of a left-wing coalition that seeks to break the rules of the past rather than establish them.

He has never held a political office, and Sergio Guzmn, director of Columbia Risk Analysis, a consulting firm, said: “There are many questions as to whether France will be able to become commander-in-chief if it pursues economic policy. Foreign policy, in a way that will give continuity to the country.

Its fiercest opponents have directly targeted it with racism, and have criticized its class and political legitimacy.

But during the election campaign, Ms Marquez’s persistent, candid and cutting-edge analysis of social inequalities in Colombia sparked a debate about race and class as rarely in the country’s public and powerful political circles. And rarely heard.

Santiago Arboleda, a professor of African-Andean history at Andean University in Simon Bolivar, said the themes were “rejected by many in our society, or taken for granted.” “Today, they are on the front page.”

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