Colombia’s Vice President Francia Márquez Mina was the featured guest on the Saturday, Oct. 20 broadcast of the CNN en Español programCara a Cara.”

An activist-turned-lawyer, Francia Márquez took office Aug. 7, 2022, as vice president of Colombia—she is the first Afro-Colombian woman to serve as vice president in Colombia’s history.

During her interview on Cara a Cara,” Márquez was able to speak about her personal history and the larger place of Afro Colombians within the nation. 

Márquez was impregnated at age 16, and she noted that this is not unusual. Many young girls end up pregnant at a young age in Colombia. “Today [young girls are becoming] pregnant at 13 years old,” she commented, “because there is no education, there is no education about sexuality and about reproductive life here. Talking about it is still a taboo.” Sex education which would give young people better information about their bodily development is a necessity in the nation, she said. 

Márquez also spoke about how Colombia needs to advance with its teaching of history—particularly Black history: “During my childhood, I did not want to be referred to as Black,” she told Cara a Cara” interviewer, Fernando Ramos. “The references that I heard growing up showed me not to be proud of our blackness. In school, for example, the references when they talked about Black or Afro-descendant people, they would say, ‘Look, you come from Africa, and you are slave people.’ We were never told that we were free beings, that we had been enslaved. So, for me Black was synonymous with contempt, synonymous with something negative.

“Of course, for me, today, the answer to what does it mean to be Black is it means to be resilient and resistant, it means to have bravery. But also, joy. Because that is something that neither racism, nor violence nor exclusion has been able to take away from Black people in this country.”

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