Attempted assassination of Francia Márquez, Colombia’s first Black vice president, foiled
Colombian Vice President Francia Márquez, seen here at a ‘popular and spiritual’ inauguration ceremony presided over by local Indigenous groups in Bogotá last August, was the target of an assassination attempt this week. | Ariana Cubillos Francia Márquez / AP

Colombia’s vice president said on Tuesday that her security team found more than 7 kg (15 lbs) of explosives buried next to a rural road that leads to her home in the southwestern province of Cauca.

Francia Márquez posted on Twitter: “Members of my security team found a device with more than 7 kilos of explosive material on the road that leads to my family residence in the village of Yolombo, in Suárez, Cauca.”

Márquez said a sniffer dog found the bomb, which was made of ammonium nitrate, powdered aluminium, and shrapnel, and that anti-explosives officers blew it up in a controlled explosion on Monday.

The vice president said considering the characteristics and location of the device there was “plenty of evidence that it was a new attempt against my life.”

Márquez, who has faced a number of previous threats, insisted she “will not stop working day by day to achieve the total peace that Colombia dreams of and requires.”

Márquez is Colombia’s first Black vice president. She was elected last September along with President Gustavo Petro, an economist and former guerrilla fighter, who is attempting to raise taxes on the wealthy, increase government spending, and start peace talks with the nation’s remaining rebel groups.

Before she entered politics, Márquez led protests against mining companies and illegal miners operating in Cauca and was forced to leave her home village of Suárez due to numerous death threats.

The environmental activist rose to fame last year when she participated in presidential primaries, and helped Petro secure votes in the nation’s Afro-Colombian communities and also among women and young people inspired by her life story.

Márquez currently heads the Ministry of Equality, a new agency that seeks to ensure women and ethnic minorities have equal access to the government’s social programs.

The assassination attempt comes after the killing of three people in the Alfonso Gómez neighborhood in the city of Cúcuta in the Norte de Santander department of the country on Monday.

The latest victims were José Francisco Quintero Robles and Darkis Lorena Acevedo Villamizar, while the other man remains unidentified.

The killings were the second major massacre this year after four people were murdered in a gun attack on the night of Jan. 1 in the municipality of Río de Oro, part of the Cesar department.

There were 94 massacres recorded last year, while in 2021 the figure was 95.


Morning Star
Morning Star

Morning Star is the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. Morning Star es el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña.