The Afro-descendant population in Colombia represents between 20% and 30% of the population, a figure that represents between 10 and 12 million people in a country with more than 50 million inhabitants.
Most of these are in a situation of poverty and extreme poverty, being, after the indigenous, the most vulnerable population of the nation of New Granada, as shown by the UNHCR report which shows that only Afro-descendants represent 12,3% of the displaced in Colombia.
This situation of poverty of a population that is found in its vast majority in the coastal regions of the Pacific and the Caribbean, places them outside the dominant political sphere where blackness had no place until this June 19, when France Marquez she became vice president-elect for the next 4 years.
Image of black Colombia
Márquez, who is a native of the small town of Suárez, located in the department of Cauca, has stood out for being a fighter against mining exploitation and the defense of human rights.
Born on December 1, 1981, her humble origin prevented her from developing her studies in the small village of Yolombó where she managed to achieve basic education through difficulties. At the age of 16, she became a single mother, which forced her to look for work, becoming an artisanal miner.
Due to her position in defense of human rights and complaints against the indiscriminate exploitation of workers and land by mining companies, she is forced to leave Suárez after receiving death threats.
After being away from her homeland and settling in Cali, she dedicates herself to offering her cleaning services in homes, thus managing to obtain income to complete her secondary education and begin university studies, which she had to abandon on several occasions due to not having the resources. to pay.
Leadership born of the conjuncture
Her activism as a leader began in 2009 when the mining company that was active in the Cauca region presented a project to divert the Ovejas River, which was the main source of livelihood for the residents of Suárez.
Márquez along with others decides to file a tutela action that was denied twice until they got the Supreme Court to review it and rule in favor of the community. But the actions continued and it is there that the current vice president of Colombia, together with several women from the community, set out on a march to Bogotá where, after several days, they were attended by officials from the Ministry of Justice.
His name began to resonate in the New Granada press after this case and his recrimination against then President Juan Manuel Santos, whom he accused of failing to keep his promises to the Afro and indigenous community.
All this environmental struggle and in defense of the human rights of vulnerable communities earned him the Goldman Environmental Prize and the Joan Alsina Prize, respectively.
All this activism and her participation as a victim in the Peace Dialogues promoted by Santos with the FARC-EP, led her to be elected member of the National Council for Peace and Coexistence in 2020, of which she was president.
Márquez has been the victim of two attacks, the first in 2014 and the second in 2019, both in Cauca, the latter being the one with the greatest impact, registering injuries as a result of the launch of grenades and multiple shots.
Dances, songs, smiles and even tears were the images derived from those regions where Colombian blacks came out to celebrate the victory of Márquez, who arrived under the promise of closing the inequality gap, for which he has proposed creating the Ministry of equality.
In addition, his proposal for the comprehensive plan to restructure the Colombian State's politics and estates, marked by classism and racism, is to promote the Pacific coast where the black population lives, for which he has the support of the now president-elect. Gustavo Petro.
"So the women of Colombia, the excluded territories and the peoples excluded because of their skin color or because of their historical and cultural ancestry are the three functions that the vice president will have as the axis of development of the country's first popular government," he said. Petro when she announced her annexation as a running mate for the vice presidency.
In the midst of the dirty war that the presidential campaign went through, Márquez was the center of a racist and classist fury fueled by social networks.
Several local personalities launched attacks on him related to his skin color and poor background.
Since April, Márquez has received more than a thousand racist comments and messages in the media and networks, according to the Racial Discrimination Observatory at the Universidad de los Andes.
On the platform, together with his family, he celebrated the "historic" victory this Sunday: "Together we are going to defeat structural racism in Colombia," he assured.
“We women are going to eradicate the patriarchy of our country, we are going for the rights of the diverse LGBTIQ+ community, we are going for the rights of our mother earth, of the big house,” she announced during her speech.
In the primaries of the left-wing coalition Historical Pact, the environmentalist obtained the second best vote (785.000) after Petro (4,4 million).
France, together with Petro, will take office on August 7, in a country characterized by violence promoted by drug trafficking, paramilitarism and a military establishment dominated by the presence of 9 US military bases and where the social gap between the center of the country and the periphery seems impossible to eradicate after 200 years of existence.
Despite this, more than 11 million Colombians trust that Petro and Márquez will give a I turn to this reality where the now vice president must play the role of the vulnerable people in power.