Despite the prevalence of anti-Blackness and racism in Latin America, actually addressing it remains an issue however a 62-year-old woman has now been convicted for discrimination in Colombia for her racist rant. Luz Fabiola Rubiano pleaded guilty to the charges and will be sentenced by the judge on May 30, the Associated Press reported. Rubiano’s comments went viral in September when she spoke up against Vice President Francia Márquez ,41, the country’s first Black VP, calling her an ape during protests in front of Colombia’s Congress.
The reporter from a local station shared that Rubiano (using the alias Esperanza Castro) said that Black people can’t govern because they “don’t study, they’re vulgar, and they all steal” according to the reporter. She added that, according to Rubiano, that is why someone like Márquez can’t be in a position of power.
Luz Fabiola Rubiano alias Esperanza Castro. pic.twitter.com/GiXvjP0Ydv
— Katina Mejía (@ktina_mejia) October 6, 2022
The small business owner from Bogotá is quoted by the AP as having said: “Apes are now governing us. “Francia Márquez is an ape … what education can Black people have, they steal, attack and kill.” Video footage has been censored though some are still available on Twitter and TikTok.
La Fiscalía acusó este 30 de enero a Luz Fabiola Rubiano de Fonseca, la mujer que agredió el pasado 26 de septiembre en la Plaza de Bolívar a la vicepresidenta Francia Márquez con insultos racistas. Ella aceptó cargos por los delitos de actos de discriminación y hostigamiento agravado. #luzfabiolarubiano #franciamarquez #discriminacion #fiscalia
Marquez became Colombia’s first Black vice president in 2022 after helping leftist Gustavo Petro win the presidential election. She was an environmental activist who was born in Yolombó, a town in the southwestern part of Cauca, where more than 250,000 Colombians of African descent live. When she had her daughter at the age of 16, she raised her on her own and was a domestic worker in Cali all while studying for a degree in law. In 2018 she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts to remove gold miners from the collectively owned Afro-Colombian lands near her hometown.
“This will be a government for those with calluses on their hands. We are here to promote social justice and to help women eradicate the patriarchy,” she said on stage while celebrating the election results, the AP previously reported.
Prosecutors launched an investigation into Rubiano’s comments after Marquez’s lawyers filed a complaint. During a hearing, they accused Rubiano of inciting hate, and damaging the reputation of Márquez and Colombia’s Afro-Colombian population, while compromising their right to not be discriminated against. Acts of discrimination are punishable in Colombia with up to three years in prison, though judges can replace prison time with parole or house arrest.
“I learned to proudly identify myself as a Black woman, to recognize my hair, my Blackness,” Márquez previously told NACLA, adding that “this country has made us feel ashamed of Blackness and has made us feel that we are solely responsible for the conditions in which we live in.”
According to the 2005 census, the government estimates that Afro-Colombians constitute 10.6 percent of the total population in Colombia.