History-making

Costa Rica elects Latin America’s first black female vice president

Costa Rica vice president-elect Epsy Campbell Barr. (Facebook)

The people of Costa Rica elected Carlos Alvarado as the country’s new president on Sunday — and his running mate, Epsy Campbell Barr, has made history by becoming the first black female vice president in the Americas.

According to Newsweek, Campbell is a highly accomplished economist who has written extensively about sexism, racism and people of African descent and economic participation. She is also the co-founder of Costa Rica’s ruling Citizen’s Action Party.

Alvarado, also a member of the party, won a solid majority over Fabricio Alvarado, an evangelical who ran on a vociferously anti-gay marriage platform. Carlos Alvarado and Campbell Barr, on the other hand, promoted unity, infrastructure and the bridging of inequality, Jezebel reports.

Campbell Barr has previously played leading roles in the Center for Women of African Descent, the Alliance of Leaders of African descent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Black Parliament of the Americas organizations. She also founded the Women’s Forum of Central American Integration. One of her central campaign promises was to reduce the wage gap in Costa Rica.

“It will be a responsibility not only to represent people of African descent but to represent all women and men in the country, a country that gives us all the same opportunities,” Campbell Barr told website crHoy prior to the election, according to Newsweek. “It would not be the first only in Costa Rica, but in Latin America. And eventually, if the president leaves the country, [I would be] the first woman of African descent to assume the presidency of the entire American continent. It’s a big responsibility.”

For more on Campbell Barr, watch the video below.

Read the full story at Newsweek and Jezebel.

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