Afro-Colombian environmental activist and single mother of two Francia Márquez Mina, 40, is Colombia’s first Black vice president.
Rising from humble beginnings in the rural and predominantly Black town of La Toma, Colombia, Márquez started out as a gold miner, working her way through college to study law in order to defend her village against corporate development that was destroying the farmland and rivers that her community depends on for their livelihood and survival. Unfortunately, lack of money halted her college career, but her star continued to rise on the political activism scene.
Speaking out since her early teens, she rose to prominence as an advocate for social justice by giving a voice to underrepresented populations in business and government. Her talent for organizing communities to resist long-standing oppressive systems and policies put in place by European colonizers made her the everyday peoples favorite on the national political stage in Colombia, where she ran for president in early 2022 and placed in the top three of candidates in terms of votes in the country’s presidential primary in March, according to the article, Living Without Fear: Francia Márquez and Black Feminist Politics in Colombia on the North American Congress on Latin America’s website.
“Come on Colombia! From resistance to power until dignity becomes customary!” were Márquez Mina’s closing words in her first public speech after hearing the results of the presidential primary elections, according to NACLA.org.
Seeking a strong ticket, the leftist winner of the primary, Gustavo Petro, selected Márquez as his running mate.
On Sunday, June 19, 2022, Petro and Márquez won Colombia’s presidential election in a run-off race.
As Márquez has been a fierce advocate for the rights and representation of Afro-Latinos, women and the Indigenous People of Colombia, Petro has said one of his first moves as president will be to create a Ministry of Equality, which Madam Vice President-elect Márquez is expected to have executive influence over.
Colombia’s first Black Vice President will officially take on the role on August 7.