The South American country of Colombia made history on Sunday by electing its first Black (and leftist) vice president.
Francia Marquez, a single mother and former maid,. Her running mate, leftist Gustavo Petro, a former guerrilla ,defeated a real estate millionaire in a runoff victory that marked the end of Columbia being governed by conservatives or moderates, France 24 reported.
“This will be a government for those with calluses on their hands,” Marquez said while celebrating the election results.
“We are here to promote social justice and to help women eradicate the patriarchy.”
Marquez and Petro won 50.4% of the vote in Sunday’s election, Reuters reported. She touched on the groundbreaking election and what the victor means for the country.
“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 said.
Marquez donned brightly colored Afro-Colombian garments paired with big jewelry on the campaign trail. She boasted of plans to end inequality against marginalized communities. As an environmental activist from the remote village of La Toma, Marquez had already been working to combat projects that disrupt the country’s ecosystem.
As a politician and activist, Marquez has faced countless death threats while becoming a respected spokesperson for Black Colombians and other underrepresented communities, NBC News reported. In her new role, Marquez is expected to receive a mandate to work on gender issues and policies affecting the nation’s Afro-Colombian population.
“She’s completely different than any other person that’s ever had a vice presidency in Colombia,” said Gimena Sanchez, the Andes director for the human rights group Washington Office on Latin America.
“She comes from a rural area, 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,” Sanchez added.