Who is Francia Marquez, the first black Colombian vice president?

Who is Francia Marquez, the first black Colombian vice president?


Environmental activist Francia Marquez, who was former leftist guerrilla Gustavo Petro’s running mate in the Colombian election, will be the first black woman to become the vice president of the country.

Black people have been grossly underrepresented in politics even though they comprise 9.3 per cent of Colombia’s population.

Marquez, who is a single mother and former housekeeper, has promised to improve the lives of women, black and indigenous people, peasants, the gay community, and young people.

Even though Marquez has pledged to improve women’s rights and help the poor access health and education, it is unclear how much freedom the 40-year-old will have to carry them out as the position of vice president is nebulous in Colombia.

Petro, who repeatedly clashed with officials when he was Bogota’s mayor, is a stubborn manager and presidents are free to assign ministries or other specialties to their second-in-command in Colombia.

Marquez, who won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018 for opposing gold mining in her home municipality of Suarez, has death threats received from illegal armed groups.

Also see | Who is Gustavo Petro, the ex-guerilla who’s top contender for Colombia president

Political analysts have predicted that Marquez is slated to lead a new equality ministry when the officials are chosen.

Andes director for the Washington Office on Latin America, Gimena Sanchez-Garzoli told Reuters that the two may clash once in office if Petro reneges on plans to give Marquez a policymaking role or micro-manages her decisions.

According to Sanchez-Garzoli, ”He has always put what he thinks is most important, or his idea of ​​what things should be, before really getting a full consensus with others.”

In their coalition’s March primary, Marquez came second to Petro with 783,000 votes. Tallying more ballots than the winner of the centrist primary, she has significant support on her own merits, according to Sanchez-Garzoli.

(With inputs from agencies)

Watch WION’s live TV here: