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News > Latin America

Colombia: Black Vice Presidential Candidates Affected by Racism

  • Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro (L) and Vice Presidential candidate Francia Marquez (R), Bogota, Colombia, March 25, 2022.

    Presidential candidate Gustavo Petro (L) and Vice Presidential candidate Francia Marquez (R), Bogota, Colombia, March 25, 2022. | Photo: EFE

Published 5 April 2022

Hate speeches are directed mainly against Francia Marquez, a Black woman with the highest probability of winning the elections.

For the first time in the Colombian history, five black citizens dispute the Vice Presidency. This has unleashed a wave of racist offenses, especially against Francia Marquez, the vice-presidential candidate of the "Historic Pact," a leftist coalition led by Gustavo Petro.


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One of those attacks was directed against the singer Marbella, whom social networks described as "King Kong". This caused a flood of messages, one of which included an image of the gorilla holding Ann Darrow with the following text: "Dear Marbelle, when I am vice president, I will make them respect you and give you all the love that you lacked."

The Historical Pact vice-presidential candidate is the revelation of the 2022 elections due to her life story. Accompanied by the people of the Suarez municipality, Marquez tenaciously fought against government projects that altered the Ovejas River in Cauca, a department with high levels of violence against human rights defenders and environmentalists.

Marquez received the 2015 National Award for the Defense of Human Rights and the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize, which is the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for the Environment.  In the primary elections, Petro obtained almost 4.5 million votes and Marquez reached 785,215 votes, which put her on the path to becoming Colombia's first Black vice president.

The other four black vice-presidential candidates are Luis Murillo, Marelen Castillo, Sandra de las Lajas Torres, and Ceferino Mosquera. All of them took part last week in a debate in which the issue of racism took center stage in the discussion.

On that occasion, Marquez emphasized that racism in Colombia is reproduced every time someone claims that it does not exist. The discussion, however, has not remained on the television screen. 

Black journalist Mabel Lara recalled that Marquez is the subject of conversation in millions of families, which are "concerned" that a woman culturally considered of "little value" will become the second highest authority of the Colombian State.

"Black women face premature death, statistical erasure, and silencing in decision-making spaces. They look at us as incompetent even though we more than demonstrate our excellence," Lara said.

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