The Vice President of Colombia, Francia Márquez, among the 25 most influential women of 2022 according to the Financial Times

(CNN Spanish) — The Vice President of Colombia, Francia Márquez, was selected as one of the 25 Women of the Yearaccording to the Financial Times newspaper, which explores the achievements of women in different cultures, industries and the world of the arts.

Márquez (Yolombó, Cauca, in 1981) is the first black woman to hold the position of vice president of Colombia, along with the country’s first left-wing president. She appears on the list along with other women like Sanna Marin, the Prime Minister of Finland; Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, of the US Supreme Court; the former American tennis player Serena Williams, the philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, and the winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize for Literature, Annie Ernaux, among others.

Márquez’s profile for this issue highlights his struggle from an early age as an environmental activist and his commitment to defend his community and the river that ran through his territory.

“Lawyer, environmentalist, vice president, France represents all the people silenced during the five centuries in which the history of America was written with black and indigenous blood,” wrote the Brazilian congresswoman Marina Silvawho was a presidential candidate and the country’s Minister of the Environment.

Silva highlights Márquez’s environmental work as a fight for “humanity, for other forms of life and planet earth itself.”

Francia Márquez talks about what it’s like to be black in Colombia 1:32

Márquez’s presence in politics “tells the world that we exist, as a denunciation of the slavery that has marked us as the seed of our abundant hope of life on earth,” Silva wrote.

“His voice announces a future dreamed of by our ancestors, where we can all, with dignity, savor the best flavors of life,” Silva pointed out, referring to the environmental work and in favor of the rights of black people in Colombia by the current vice president from Colombia.

Francia Márquez is sworn in as vice president of Colombia 2:07

Márquez’s arrival in politics

Francia Márquez is a lawyer and activist. While her work on the environment has been around for years—in 2018 won the Goldman Prizeknown as the ‘Nobel for the Environment’— in 2022 this woman from Cauca became an electoral phenomenon in Colombia when, in an internal consultation of the left-wing parties, she managed to just under 800,000 votes when he launched himself into the political arena for the first time. After that, she was key to the campaign of Gustavo Petro, who ended up choosing her as the vice-presidential formula and between the two they obtained more than 11 million votes, a voting record so far in Colombia.

She describes herself as a “black, Afro-descendant, native of the most impoverished regions” of Colombia.

During months of campaigning, Márquez toured a large part of the country to, according to her, dignify politics and make visible “the nobody”, the violated women and the victims of violence in this country.

“I come from the land of nobodies and nobodies, I come from forgotten territories in terms of social investment, but violated by a policy of death,” Márquez told reporters in March.

She is originally from the Cauca region, in the southwest of the country, and from a very young age she learned about mining, agriculture and fishing, something that led her to lead spaces in her community from a very young age, and to empower her own, even from the recognition of its blackness, in a highly racist country.

The story of Francia Márquez as a single mother 0:53

His fight has not been and is far from easy. Despite reaching an important position, the vice president has spoken of racism of which she continues to be a victim, the most recent by a woman who uttered racist insults that were revitalized on social networks. Her attacker labeled her and the black community as primates and criminals.

“I felt pain, a lot of pain, but it hurt me more to see my mother and my children complaining about seeing this so painful for us,” he said on CNN.

Márquez says her family and the people around her have been an inspiration.

“Many people inspired me, but the one who has inspired me the most is my own mother. For me, a woman who raised two children alone, who lost her handprints and has struggled,” concludes Márquez.

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The Vice President of Colombia, Francia Márquez, among the 25 most influential women of 2022 according to the Financial Times