Francia Marquez: Colombia's First Black Vice Presidential Candidate
By Janvieve Williams Comrie
“I did not get this far to occupy a political position. I am worried that this country won’t change, that peace wont get to the territories, that boys and girls, that children will keep on dying of hunger, that young people will keep on losing their vision, their eyes because they are demanding for their rights for education, for dignity in the streets, that is what I am worried about. That women keep on being silenced, that community leaders keep on being violated and assassinated, that does worry me. This is a national project, a project of transformation.” said Marquez.
With 99.6% of the votes counted on Sunday March 13th of the current year, Francia Marquez obtained 782,000 votes in the consultation to elect a candidate for the presidency of Colombia. In her case, she was second in the coalition of the Historical Pact (Pacto Historico), behind Gustavo Petro, who obtained more than four million votes.
Petro, the Presidential candidate, announced on March 23rd, from Medellin among the responsibilities that Márquez will be as the country's Vice President if they win the next elections to be held on Sunday, May 29th of the current year. Marquez will also play a significant role in carrying out the project of the Ministry of Equality, a key proposal of the Petro campaign.
Francia Marquez has sometimes been represented by the media as someone that does not have her own voice, or that has been opening up a trajectory for herself- two opposing perspectives. What is in fact true is that Francia has been doing this work since she was about 16 years old, when she started going to community meetings because she found out they were going to reroute the Ovejas River in the northern area of the department of Cauca in Colombia, with the Black Communities Process, an organization that brings together over 140 grassroots organizations, community councils and organizations committed to the transformation of the political, social, economic and territorial realities of Black, Afro-descendant, Raizal and Palenquera communities, through the defense and vindication of their individual, collective and ancestral rights. She credits her activism with this organization in the recognition of her Blackness, since Colombia itself does not value Blackness, and if it were up to its education system, she would up to today not acknowledge or recognize her own power as a Black Woman. She attributes her recognition of her Blackness to her activism with this organization because Colombia itself does not value Blackness. If it were up to its education system, she would not acknowledge or recognize her power as a Black Woman today.
What has made Francia a true political power and possibility is that she brings the true perspective from her communities, because she is a community member herself. A single mother born and raised in a mountainous community surrounded by two rivers, in order to protect her family felt the need for her two sons to sadly leave not only the community that saw her grow up, but the country that now sees her run for the Presidency. Francia, who learned the skills of ancestral min