A racist woman faces three years in a Colombia prison for saying racist things towards the country’s first Black vice president during an antigovernment protest last year.
Sentencing for a 62-year-old woman named Luz Fabiola Rubiano, who got convicted of discrimination and harassment on April 10, will begin on May 30 after she pleaded guilty to the charges.
Although she faces up to three years in prison, her punishable offense can be replaced with parole or house arrest.
In September, while Vice President Francia Márquez was in Bogota, a video published by a local news site showed Rubiano protesting in front of Colombia’s Congress and responding to a journalist’s question by hurling racist insults at Márquez and Afro-Colombians.
“Apes are now governing us,” Rubiano said in the video. “Francia Márquez is an ape … what education can Black people have, they steal, attack and kill.”
Prosecutors opened an investigation after Marquez’s lawyers filed a complaint.
During a hearing, they accused Rubiano of inciting hatred and damaging the reputation of Márquez and Colombia’s Afro-Colombian population, while jeopardizing their right not to be discriminated against.
Marquez became Colombia’s first Black vice president last year after helping leftist Gustavo Petro win the presidential election. She has often spoken out about racism in Colombia, which she says is part of the legacy of colonialism and slavery.
Márquez is a social and environmental leader from Colombia, who has been recognized for her work defending the rights of Afro-Colombian communities and advocating for environmental conservation.
In 2018, she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize, one of the most prestigious international awards for environmental activism, for her leadership in the struggle to stop illegal mining in the Cauca region of Colombia, which was causing environmental damage and displacing local communities.
In March 2022, Márquez announced her candidacy for Vice President of Colombia in the 2022 elections, as part of the coalition “Esperanza por Colombia” (Hope for Colombia). Her platform focuses on social and environmental justice, as well as the protection of the rights of marginalized communities.
Márquez’s candidacy is seen as historic, as she is the first Afro-Colombian woman to run for Vice President of the country. Her campaign has gained widespread support from social and environmental organizations, as well as from many Colombians who see her as a symbol of hope and change.