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Colombia made history this weekend when it elected Francia Marquez to be the nation’s first Black female Vice President.
“Having Black women and men challenging to occupy positions of power in this country is an act of racial justice,” Marquez said on election day. “It is an act of justice for our Afro-descendant people, Raizales, Palenqueros.” she continued. “Indigenous people… historically have experienced not only structural racism and exclusion, but also the disproportionate effects of the armed conflict.”
A former housekeeper and native of one of the country’s most impoverished areas, Marquez’s victory is a triumph for the poor and working class.
Despite receiving death threats throughout the campaign, Marquez never backed down from her fight for equality and justice.
The 40-year-old single mother will take office alongside Gustavo Petro, the nation’s first leftist president.
Together, the duo is expected to push for progressive reforms aimed at tackling inequity across the country.
Marquez, a well-known environmental activist, has promised to fight to legalize abortion in Colombia. She has also promised to be an advocate for land rights and climate justice.
Petro, a former mayor and progressive Senator, ran on a platform of free college education, pension reform and a ban on new oil projects.
“Change is Unstoppable”: Marquez and Petro take office in August
While many expected the election to be close, Petro and Marquez defeated their construction magnate opponent by nearly 800,000 votes.
Many see the election as a turning point in Colombian politics, with the fight against inequality taking center stage.
Colombian presidents can only serve one term, but Marquez and Petro both believe meaningful change is possible in four years.
Walking out to a cheering crowd on election night, the team stood beneath a banner that read “Change is Unstoppable”.
“After 214 years we have achieved a government of the people, a popular government, a government of people with calloused hands,” Marquez said. “The government of the nobodies of Colombia.”
Marquez and Petro will take office in a few short weeks on August 7th.