Despite a significant population of Afro-Colombians, the country has maintained a long history of colorism both in and outside the political field. The government estimates that Afro-Colombians make up 10.6% of Colombia’s total population, with 3.4% of the population identifying as indigenous.
Márquez entered politics in 2020. The new vice president did not shy away from her roots during the race for office. Proudly sporting vibrant African prints and bold accessories, her mission was clear…representation.
“I am an Afro-Colombian woman, a single mother of two who gave birth to her first child at the age of 16 and worked in households to pay the bills. But I am also an award-winning environmental activist. And above all, a lawyer who could become Colombia’s first Black vice president,” she said while on the campaign trail.
Márquez enters the office alongside Gustavo Petro, a former rebel and the country’s first-ever leftist president. Petro is focused on boosting the country’s economy. More than 40% of Colombians live in poverty.
Climate change will also be a key priority of the Petro-Márquez administration.
“There is a point of dialogue there,” he said. “Because saving the Amazon rainforest involves some instruments, some programs, that do not exist today, at least not with respect to the United States.”