Environmental Activist Francia Marquez will become Colombia’s first Black woman Vice President following the country’s historic presidential vote for leftist politician, Gustavo Petro.
On June 19, Marquez and Petro won with a sweeping 50.4 percent vote, defeating Rodolfo Hernández Suárez during the 2022 Colombian presidential election.
After the big victory, Marquez thanked all of her supporters for helping to secure their significant win.
“After 214 years we have achieved a government of the people, a popular government, a government of people with calloused hands … the government of the nobodies of Colombia,” she told the audience.
Colombia’s Vice Presidential elect comes well prepared for the huge role.
In 2018, the notable activist received the Goldman Environmental Prize for protesting against wildcat gold miners in her hometown of Suarez, a rural area of Colombia’s Cauca province. The fiery environmental advocate was able to successfully remove gold miners from the Afro-Colombian-owned land surrounding her village, but her brave activism work garnered backlash and numerous death threats from illegal armed groups.
Throughout her career, Marquez has become a prominent voice for women’s rights and social services among Colombia’s economically disadvantaged. According to Reuters, once in office, Marquez will lead “a new equality ministry” division that will help improve women’s rights and give low-income communities access to healthcare resources and education. The environmentalist will also be issued a mandate “to work on gender issues as well as policies affecting the nation’s Afro-Colombian population,” NBC News noted.
During her speech on Sunday, Marquez said that she hopes to reduce inequality as Vice President.
“This will be a government for those with calluses on their hands. We are here to promote social justice and to help women eradicate the patriarchy,” she added.
Marquez’s meteoric rice to VP is nothing short of amazing. She grew up in a small home built by her family and had a daughter when she was just 16 years old. Struggling to support her daughter as a single mother, Marquez took on numerous jobs to make ends meet. The star worked as a house cleaner and in multiple restaurants while she studied to obtain her law degree.
“She comes from the perspective of a Campesino woman and from the perspective of areas of Colombia that have been affected by armed conflict for many years. Most politicians in Colombia who have held the presidency have not lived in the way she has,” said Gimena Sanchez, the Andes director for the Washington Office on Latin America.
Last year, Marquez entered the presidential race representing the Democratic Pole party, but she lost to Gustavo Petro in March. However, the historic VP pick gained 700,000 votes during the primaries, helping her to push past most veteran politicians.