Despite the additions of Saade and Perez, Francia Márquez remains in the Pacto Histórico

Francia Márquez, Colombian presidential candidate for the Pacto Histórico movement, spoke with LatinAmerican Post about the entry of Luis Pérez and Alfredo Saade into its ranks

France Marquez

One of the figures who has stood out the most in recent months is the activist Francia Márquez, who aspires to the most important position in the country through the Historical Pact, a coalition of left-wing parties and movements. Photo: TW-FranciaMarquezM

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Pese a ingreso de Saade y Perez, Francia Márquez se queda en el Pacto Histórico

The political game for the next elections in Colombia is already starting. The candidates, the coalitions, and the new figures are beginning to gain strength and to prepare for what will be one of the most special presidential elections in recent years.

One of the figures that has stood out the most in recent months is the activist Francia Márquez, who aspires to the most important position in the country through the Pacto Histórico, a coalition of left-wing parties and movements. The environmental activist rose to national fame in 2018 when she won the Goldman Prize, considered the Nobel Prize for the Environment, for her fight to end illegal gold mining in the country.

However, in recent weeks, the entry of characters politically distanced from progressivism to the Pacto Histórico, has caused many critics to warn about the contradiction that the movement is creating. In fact, the former presidential candidate of 2002 and today a member of the Coalición de la Esperanza, Íngrid Betancourt, invited Márquez to leave her movement and join the ranks of the center.

Francia rejected Betancourt's invitation and assured her that "I am a woman that doesn't switch sides like a puppet."

Who are the questioned characters?

Basically, they are two political leaders from different political currents that have caused all this controversy: Alfredo Saade and Luís Perez . The first is a leader of the Christian movement Caribe Levántate, according to La Silla Vacía . Beyond his political ties, the homophobic and anti-abortive positions that Saade has expressed in the past stand out, positions that distort a progressive discourse that has accompanied the Colombian left.

There is also the role of Luis Pérez, a recognized politician from Antioquia, who was one of the bastions of Uribism. Pérez, not only was mayor of Medellín, he also held the Government of Antioquia. While the Liberal party held the second most important mayoralty in the country, Operation Orion took place, the military takeover of Commune 13 by the Armed Forces. This event is remembered as one of the most tragic in the history of the city and to this day hundreds of disappeared are being searched.

In addition to Saade and Pérez, there has also been some controversy (although less than the first two) when congressmen Roy Barreras and Armando Benedetti entered the Historical Pact, both close to the Governments of former President Juan Manuel Santos and the Peace Process. However, both Barrera and Benedetti, at the time, were close to former president Álvaro Uribe, at the political pole opposed to the movement in which they are currently active.

Also read: "We have to keep walking and carry on", Francia Márquez

In an interview with LatinAmerican Post, the environmental leader also referred to the rapprochement that the Pacto Histórico and the favorite of the polls, Gustavo Petro, have had with controversial figures. Márquez assures that she does not intend to deny the entry of people to the movement. "(…) I have been a woman who comes from a town to which this country has historically closed its doors, which historically has not had a voice and, above all, in political settings. I represent that. And I know what exclusion is. So, it would be hard for me to say no to the people who want to join this project, to say no, the doors are closed for you, "said the candidate.

However, she added that although there are people with ideals so different from her in the Pacto Histórico, she prefers to fight from within: "The arrival of people who, in some way, have been part of the violence we have experienced cannot mean that they end up being rewarded for the events of the past,  but if people are willing to recognize that their action did harm we are willing to work together. If they cannot do that, then I, Francia Márquez, am willing to fight with anyone. "

Francia Márquez is one of the 3 women who still continue in the struggle to be the first president in the history of Colombia . In addition, she would be the second black person to fill the position, after Juan José Nieto Gil in a brief period in 1861, who for a long time was excluded from the history books. Only until the administration of Juan Manuel Santos, the painting of Nieto Gil was included in the presidential gallery of the House of Nariño.

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