Colombia: Vice-President Marquez will have her Ministry of Equality

The left-wing government in Colombia has announced the official creation of a new ministry in charge of equality, which will be headed by the Afro-descendant vice-president Francia Marquez, whose stated ambition is to make it a “ministry of people”.

President Gustavo Petro signed Wednesday evening, during a ceremony in a locality of the Department of Choco (west) in the presence of Ms. Marquez, the law establishing the creation of this ministry.

“This ministry (…) will guarantee the right to equality and equity for all Colombians, and give a voice to those who have been historically excluded and marginalized”, commented Mr. Petro on Twitter.

“It will be the ministry of the people”, promised the emblematic vice-president Marquez, announced for months at the head of this new institution which was one of the campaign promises of Gustavo Petro, elected in the summer first president of the left in the country’s history on the theme of “change”.

“If we don’t work for equality and equity in Colombia, we will have failed as a government,” said Ms. Marquez, a personality who played an important role during the electoral campaign, notably by mobilizing minorities while by arousing international sympathy.

“This ministry is essential, it is an instrument to strengthen the policies (…) of transformation in the territories, in the communities”, she added, welcoming an “institutional framework which, for the first time, is interested in marginalized and excluded territories”.

“It took 200 years” for a state entity to be created for the specific purpose of helping vulnerable populations, however regretted the one who embodies the most left wing of the government.

Colombian Vice-President Francia Marquez (L) during a forum aimed at resolving a territorial dispute in Guachene, in the department of Cauca (west), on October 7, 2022 (AFP – JOAQUIN SARMIENTO)

“My task as minister is equality for the women of Colombia, we want women to have economic autonomy, (…) political autonomy, we want women to have guaranteed rights, and we want women have the right to participate in the political process,” she added.

During this same ceremony, organized in a territory, Choco, mainly inhabited by Afro-Colombians but also one of the most isolated in the country and devastated by violence, President Petro undertook to give the new ministry “the ability to be efficient, fast and energetic, so that he can carry out the tasks that will allow the majority of the Colombian population to no longer be excluded in their own country”.

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