biographical data

Francia Marquez biography: 13 things about activist born in Yolombo, Cauca, Colombia


Francia Elena Márquez Mina is an Afro-Colombian woman born in Yolombo, Cauca, Colombia. Here are 13 more things about her:


  1. She grew up on the shores of the Ovejas River in La Toma, Suárez, Cauca.
  2. She is an advocate for human rights and the ancestral rights of the land in her community in La Toma. Agricultural development was forcing her and her fellow residents in the community from their homes.
  3. She is an environmental activist.
  4. In 1994, a construction of a dam threatened her community, which urged her to become an activist.
  5. From 2010 to 2013, she was the president of the Asociación de Mujeres Afrodescendientes de Yolombó.
  6. While raising her two children as a single mother, she decided to leave La Toma and go to law school. But in 2014, she decided to leave her studies and return to La Toma because thousands of illegal miners started operating 14 backhoes on the banks of the Ovejas River. She mobilized the women of La Toma to march 350 miles to Bogota, Colombia to protest. 
  7. Because of the protest that she led in 2014, Colombia created a national task force on illegal mining for the first time in 2015.
  8. In 2015, her work as a human rights defender was awarded by the  Premio Nacional a los defensa de los Derechos humanos en Colombia and the Swedish organization Diakonia.
  9. In 2018, she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in San Francisco, California, United States for her work to stop illegal gold mining on her community of La Toma.
  10. Amid the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020, she earned her law degree from Santiago de Cali University in Cali, Colombia.
  11. In 2021, she attended Universidad ICESI in Cali to study creative writing.
  12. On March 23, 2022, she accepted the nomination for vice president on the ticket for the Historic Pact, joining presidential candidate Gustavo Petro, for Colombia’s presidential election to be held on May 29, 2022.
  13. She was 40 years old when Petro picked her on March 23, 2022 as his running mate.

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