Name? Francia Márquez
Westphalian identity? Colombian
Why is she in the news? In a history-making day, Colombians just elected their first-ever left wing administration yesterday. Vice President-Elect Francia Márquez will be the first Black woman to ever hold the office in Colombia. Furthermore, she is an environmental rights lawyer and activist. Marquez has changed the status-quo of a winning ticket in Colombia. Her influence increased ideological and racial diversity within the presidential race overall, giving Petro the decisive share of the vote.
Why do we care? This election is one of several post-pandemic campaigns that have favoured the left in Latin America. We may be seeing a new and stronger ‘pink tide’ as with the case of Boric in Chile and a possible Lula comeback in Brazil. Márquez is hailing the arrival of this tide in Colombia. Overall, Latin America is swinging to the left which could affect regional and international cooperation.
Why should you care? Márquez is perceived as a hero in Colombia, having worked as a housekeeper, then lawyer/activist before becoming vice-president. She promises to represent the underprivileged classes of Colombia. Furthermore, she and a former-guerrilla-long-time-left-wing legislator like Gustavo Petro represent Colombia’s retribution against the right. You should care 4/10 about this refreshing rise to power.
Who else cares? Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso. He and outgoing Colombian President Duque, both right-wing leaders, worked closely to address mass flight from Venezuela and Lasso expecting the same from Petro and Márquez. Although Lasso congratulated them, the two administrations disagree on their stance of Maduro’s legitimacy as a leader.
Any further comments? This new administration will have to battle with the power vacuum left by the FARC militias, which the Colombian government was at war with for 60 years. Uribistas and Duque had a ‘law and order’ approach during a rise in violence post-2016. The left is now in the hot seat to bring peace to Colombia’s jungles and streets.