LLABlog: ‘She represents me’: the Black woman making political history in Colombia.

Francia Márquez

Francia Márquez is on course to become the first Black woman vice-president of a deeply unequal country.

Black women in columbia are starting to feel that Colombia’s politicians care about them now that Francia Márquez has joined the 2022  presidential race. 

Afro-Colombians make up nearly 10% of Colombia’s population of 50 million, descending from enslaved people brought from Africa to work on sugar cane plantations, goldmines and the large estates of landowning Spanish colonists. Only Brazil in South America has a larger population of Afro-descendants, and like there, in Colombia they are vastly underrepresented in business and politics.

If elected, Márquez would join Costa Rica’s Epsy Campbell Barr as one of only two black female vice-presidents in Latin America, and her route from domestic worker to vice-presidential candidate has been anything but typical.

Francia Márquez

The 40-year-old Afro-Colombian human-rights and environmental activist has been an activist since she was 13 years old, when her village was threatened by the construction of a dam. Since then, she has worked as an artisanal goldminer and cleaner, studied for a law degree, been forcibly displaced by local mafias and survived at least one assassination attempt.

In 2014, after illegal gold miners clear cut forests, diverted a river and dumped mercury into local water supplies, the single mother of two led a march of 80 women from the mountains of her home town on a 350-mile march to the capital, Bogotá. Four years later, Márquez was awarded the prestigious Goldman environmental prize. In 2019, the BBC listed Francia Márquez on their 100 Women for that year.

 

This article was culled from The Guardian

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