Tuesday, August 9, 2022

After a Life of Struggle and Activism, Francia Marquez Will Be Colombia’s First Black Vice President

Environmental activist and feminist france marquez it will become sunday Colombia’s first black female vice presidentA country hitherto ruled by white male elites, in which he managed to dispel structural racism with a discourse in favor of national reconciliation and in defense of the “nobles”.

Senator’s Running Mate and Former Bogotás Mayor gustavo petroTogether they prevailed in a country historically dominated by conservatives and liberals, and would lead the first leftist government in Colombia for the next four years.

“We took a very important step, After 214 years we formed the government of the people (…) of the hard-handed people, of the common people, of the Colombian nobles and nobles,” the social leader said on the night of his victory, at the climax of a life marked by struggle.

life story of francia marquez

I was born in a poor family South-Western Department of the CaucasusIn an area where armed groups financed by drug trafficking and illegal mining enforce their laws, Marquez became an activist at the age of 13 when her community was threatened by the construction of a dam.

At the age of 16, she became a single mother and was forced to drop out of school and work in mining. Small-scale artisan goldsmiths to raise their son, without neglecting to protect their land.

In 2009, along with other community leaders, he started a Process of struggle to prevent eviction of Afro-descendant communities After the government handed over the titles to MNCs for mining exploitation in their areas.

A year later they managed to get the Constitutional Court to recognize these lands as ancestral and suspend the concessions, saying that their right to free and informed consent had been infringed.

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However, that judicial victory earned him Threats from paramilitary groups And Marquez was forced to flee his home to settle in Cali, where years later he decided to study law, a career he paid for by working as a domestic worker.

In 2014, she led a 350-km march from Kaka to Bogota, in which around 130 women participated. an end to illegal mining in rural communities, Where rivers were getting contaminated with mercury.

After occupying the Ministry of the Interior for a week, he was received by the minister himself and managed to stop this large-scale exploitation and recognized the 27 community councils north of Kaka as subjects of mass repair.

A fight for which he won in 2015 National Award for the Defense of Human Rights in Colombia and in 2018 goldman environmental awardConsidered the Nobel of environmentalists.

But his activism almost took his life: In 2019 they wanted to kill him Grenades and rifles exploded in his area, in which two of his escorts were injured.

His environmental struggle landed him on the front page of Colombian media and A. worked to promote political career.

after an unsuccessful candidacy for 2018 legislativeMarquez – who entered the list of the world’s 100 most influential and inspiring women in 2019 – decided to launch her presidential candidacy in mid-2021 in primaries of the historic pact, the Progressive Alliance also made up of Petro.

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Although she failed to prevail, the activist collected around 785,000 votes and was the surprise of an inter-party consultation in March, in which she obtained a figure that surprised a good part of the political arc, the third-highest that day. The vote is due, behind former Bogotá mayor and conservative Federico Gutierrez.

Without the support of the big political machines, Marquez—who participated as a victim in peace talks with the FARC in 2016—carved a niche for himself on the political scene, thanks to the support of those who saw him as a real alternative. Agreed. Old policy, dominated by white elites.

A few days later, after some hesitation, Petro chose him as his binomial partner His campaign’s focus on redistributing wealth and a green economy, as well as increasing his chances of victory in the tight presidential race.

With a feminist, environmentalist discourse focusing on outcast communities, Marquez put the racism, classism and masculinity in Colombian politics into public debate.

As a result, according to the Racial Discrimination Observatory at the Universidad de los Andes, he became the victim of a dirty war through the presidential campaign, along with thousands of racist and classist attacks in the media and networks.

but His presence was the key to Petro’s electoral victory.Has helped mobilize youth interested in fighting climate change and attract women and black voters.

Starting this Sunday, The 40-year-old social leader will be the second vice president in Colombia’s history after Marta Lucía Ramírezwho held office during the government of outgoing President Ivan Duque (2018-2022).

Nation World News Desk
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