Woman sentenced over racist rant against Colombia’s first black vice president

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — A 62-year-old woman was found guilty of discrimination and harassment on Monday for making racist remarks about Colombia’s first black vice president during an anti-government protest last year.

Luz Fabiola Rubiano pleaded guilty to the charges and will be sentenced by the judge on May 30. In Colombia, acts of discrimination are punishable by up to three years in prison, although judges can replace the prison sentence with parole or house arrest.

The Bogotá small-business owner went viral in September after denouncing Vice President Francia Márquez in a video posted by a local news site. Rubiano was protesting outside the Colombian congress and responded to a reporter’s question by hurling insults at Márquez and Afro-Colombians.

“The monkeys rule us now,” Rubiano said in the video, which is still available on Twitter but has been censored by other platforms. “Francia Márquez is a monkey… what education can black people have, they steal, attack and kill.”

Prosecutors opened an investigation after Márquez’s lawyers filed a complaint.

In a hearing, they accused Rubiano of inciting hatred and damaging the reputation of Márquez and the Afro-Colombian population of Colombia, while compromising their right not to be discriminated against.

Márquez became Colombia’s first black vice president last year after helping leftist Gustavo Petro win the presidential election. She has often spoken out against racism in Colombia, which she says is part of the legacy of colonialism and slavery.

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