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28 Dec

Francia Márquez Makes History As Colombia’s First Black Vice

Francia Márquez Makes History

Francia Márquez Makes History For the primary time in Colombia’s history, a Black woman is about to develop into vice chairman. Francia Márquez, an Afro-Colombian environmental activist and lawyer, won Sunday’s runoff election because the running mate to President-elect Gustavo Petro, the country’s first progressive leftist leader.

Born within the small town of Yolombo, situated within the Suárez municipality of the Cauca Mountains in southwest Colombia, Márquez is a single mother of two who first became an activist on the age of 13, when the development of a dam threatened her community. She became pregnant at 16, left school to work within the local gold mines, and eventually sought work as a housekeeper. She went on to complete school and earn a law degree at Santiago de Cali University.

In 2014, she led a 10-day, 350-mile march of 80 women from the mountains of her hometown to the capital of Bogotá. Once within the capital, Márquez and the opposite women spent 22 days protesting within the streets. The march brought widespread national attention to the environmental destruction that illegal mining was causing in her town and plenty of other communities within the Cauca region. 4 years later, Márquez won the distinguished Goldman Environmental Prize, also often called the Green Nobel, for her work in successfully fighting illegal mining projects.

Greater than 80 percent of individuals within the Cauca department, and roughly 40 percent of the complete country, reside in poverty, in line with Reuters. Colombia has considered one of the most important Afro-descent populations in Latin America, with roughly 25 percent of the overall population identifying as Black.

Márquez’s historic election is just not only a win for poor, rural communities, but in addition for Afro-Colombians, who’re vastly underrepresented in business and politics, and recurrently subjected to racism in a rustic tormented by deep-seated inequality.

“Colombia is often called one of the vital racist countries in Latin America for a reason,” Mayra Fernanda Mejía, an Afro-Colombian single mother and rural activist, told The Guardian. “In Colombia they talk about Black women as being ‘pretty little black things’ and who do Colombia’s legislatures give priority to? White and mestizo people, not Black people.”

“Francia’s candidacy for ladies means a before and an after, because she’s a lady, because she’s Black – and since she comes from nothing,” Mejía continued. “Francia [Márquez] marks a before and an after within the history of Colombia.”

Based on The Latest York Times, Márquez selected to run for office “because our governments have turned their backs on the people, and on justice and on peace.” As an activist, she has been forcibly displaced by local mafias and has survived at the very least one assassination attempt. Throughout her campaign, she has also been threatened with violence and subjected to racist attacks. Nevertheless, after mobilizing a long time of voter frustration, and after countless years of community organizing, Márquez has develop into a national hero.

As vice chairman, she is anticipated to push for the decriminalization of abortion and reproductive justice for rural, Indigenous and Afro-Colombian women. She also plans to maneuver the economy away from oil and coal production, and reduce inequalities that worsened through the pandemic.

In a tweet on Monday, Márquez said the newly-elected government plans to create a Ministry of Equality. “I come from a historically forgotten town and region,” she wrote. “My task is to ensure rights to those excluded and marginalized territories, [and] guarantee rights to Afro-descendant and Indigenous populations.”

“After 214 years, now we have achieved a government of the people, a government of individuals with calloused hands,” Márquez said in her acceptance speech in Bogotá, Colombia. “We girls are going to eradicate this country’s patriarchy. We’re going to fight for the rights of our Mother Earth.”

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