Francia Elena Márquez Mina (born 1 December 1981) is a Colombian human-rights and environmental activist and lawyer, and the vice president-elect of Colombia. She was born in Yolombó, a village in the Cauca Department.
Interview with Earth Justice (2019) edit
2019 interview with Earth Justice
- Colombia is a country that has traditionally been run by wealthy families. When Black and Indigenous communities demand that large-scale mining be removed from our communities and we ask for protection under the rule of law, the ruling families say that we’re posing a hurdle to economic development. That’s when I ask, what kind of development are they referring to, especially when Indigenous and Black communities lack basic utilities? The community I live in has no drinking water, and our river has been polluted with chemicals used for illegal mining. Furthermore, the Colombian state does not invest in social projects. Their idea of economic development is to extract ore and territories from ethnic communities. This move is a sheer example of structural racism, and every time a social leader’s voice or mine is lifted up to demand rights enshrined in the Constitution, then we end up being military targets by armed groups in our territory, particularly right-wing paramilitaries.
- If there weren’t economic interests in these territories, we wouldn’t have to get up and fight in order to have a decent life. We’re risking our lives to stop harmful extractive industries, because the latter are enjoying benefits at the expense of the many people who have died.
- Humanity’s greatest challenge is to either work together to preserve this planet or destroy it. It’s up to us to assume our own responsibility and defend life. In Colombia, we’re creating campaigns to incentivize reforestation, as well as recycling. We want to raise awareness about the products that can be composted and how we re-use certain items. There is so much we can do.
Interview with Democracy Now (2022) edit
2022 interview with Democracy Now
- I think that more than making history, we are giving impetus to the idea that in Colombia a new form of government is possible, governance that is built up from the Black, Indigenous and peasant peoples from the very different sectors of the community, LGBTIQ+, from the youth, from the women, from the small farmers of Colombia, those who have been no one — that is to say, who have never had a voice in the government, who have never had a voice in order to put forward our grievances as a people. And today we need to put forward the nobodies, the people who’ve never had a voice, to step into the state so that we can write our own history, a history that will make it possible to live with dignity, with justice, with equity, with equality, that would enable each and every one of us to turn the page of violence of the armed conflict and to pursue agenda of social justice.
- This situation of armed conflict and abandonment in terms of no social investment, that needs to be brought to a halt. It’s not going to be brought to a halt by the privileged elites of white men who have historically governed our country. It’s the people who need to step forward to press their grievances.
- I have been proposing a program of agroecological productive projects and with the idea of food sovereignty being the top issue. There’s more than 21 million people in Colombia who don’t eat enough, who go to bed hungry every night.
- That is a history that is repeated day after day. Mothers go to work in the homes of other families, and they come home to bury their children. That is the history of our country.
- We’re tired of having to bury our family members and seeing women, mothers, burying their children. That is not just. We deserve a more dignified nation, a nation in peace, a nation with social justice, and an antiracist nation.
- Right now I’m here in the United States. And I know that the Black people here are assassinated, especially Black youth, in the same way as Black, impoverished Black youth, racialized impoverished Black youth, are assassinated in Colombia. Because of the color of our skin, they see us as criminals. But we are human beings. Our dignity must be respected and recognized.
- when I announced that I wanted to be president of Colombia, people said, “Francia, you’re crazy, because you think that” — they can’t imagine it. They think that’s reserved for white men who are privileged elites. But today, those of us who are nobody, those of us who haven’t had a voice, those who have been historically silenced and subjected to violence, are standing up to say that we are going to go forward from resistance to power until dignity becomes something that our country becomes accustomed to.
Interview with Latin America Reports (2022) edit
2022 interview with Latin America Reports
- The strength of my ancestors and the women who gave birth to freedom and taught us the path of dignity motivated me to start on this road to the Colombian presidency.
- We must dispel the myth that the main cause of violence is the “absence of the state.” On the contrary, in many territories where social leaders have been assassinated, the state, especially the armed forces, has been present defending the multinationals that extract our resources, carrying out forced eradication of crops, and displacing communities that are victims of the armed conflict. The elites have created this myth to avoid taking responsibility for the systematic violations of human rights.
- We want the peace we make to have opportunities for our economies so they can be strengthened by knowledge and productive applications based on our ecological and cultural diversity. This is so we can advance and transform global energy and decarbonize the planet.
- It is not enough to promote more jobs; there needs to be a guarantee of training, remuneration, and stability.
- We have spoken about building a program of employability with care. We must care for and restore our rivers, soils, rural and urban ecosystems, and care for people, children, and the elderly. Our economy is based on care, but we need to have the infrastructure for it; gardens, schools, colleges, parks, and sports arenas for children and recreational areas for the elderly population.
- A multimodal transportation revolution is required to decarbonize the economy. That means strengthening rail transportation, which Colombia abandoned as it surrendered to the vehicle and oil industries, naval transportation, cable transportation, and urban planning.
- Restructuring an anti-drug policy is a task for our nation and the region of Latin America. The “zero tolerance” policy to combat drug trafficking must end because it has failed. Complete criminalization has not diminished production, consumption, money laundering, or dismantled the political mafias that dominate our state, flooding the economy with illicit activity. We promote a social epidemiological approach to addictions, the regulation of the existing market, and the use of sacred plants for health and industry. We will embrace a new paradigm to face the phenomenon of the production, distribution, commercialization, and consumption of psychoactive substances since the current, stale paradigm lacks coherence, planning, and understanding of the problem.
- In our campaign for the presidency, we have built a feminist mandate that seeks to put an end to patriarchal politics, guaranteeing gender equality for women and people with different sexual orientations and gender identities. Our objective is to implement an intersectional public policy that promises sexual and reproductive rights, eradicates all forms of gender-based violence, promotes equal opportunities, and recognizes and redistributes care work.
- The biggest obstacle we face is the fear people have about their freedom, the fear of deciding for themselves, the fear of joining a transformative force. We are overcoming that fear.
- Hope means believing in ourselves, in our capacity to lead, in our potential to make a better world, country, and planet for everyone.
Quotes about Francia Márquez edit
- Colombia elects climate champions president Gustavo Petro and vice president Francia Márquez, pledging to put "the defense of life above the interests of economic capital."