Costa Rica Elects Epsy Campbell Barr, 1st Black Female VP In Latin America

by Kim Boateng Posted on April 3rd, 2018

San José, Costa Rica: Economist, author, and cofounder of Costa Rica’s power-to-the-people Citizen’s Action Party, Epsy Campbell Barr, 54, the granddaughter of Jamaican immigrants, will be the first person of African descent to become Costa Rica ’s First Vice-President on 8 May. “It would not be the first only in Costa Rica, but in Latin America,” Campbell Barr reportedly said Sunday.

The ticket of President-elect Carlos Alvarado Quesada, 38, and First Vice President elect Epsy Campbell Barr won a landslide victory on a platform of unity, restoring infrastructure, and reducing inequality – defeating evangelical singer Fabricio Alvarado who ran an anti-same-sax-marriage campaign.

Campbell-Barr specifically wants to reduce Costa Rica’s gender pay gap, and is known for being very outspoken regarding the country’s racism and saxism issues.

She has been quoted championing women’s contribution to the development of Costa Rica, noting that “women have the capacity to contribute to the state,” according to Telesur.

“It will be a responsibility not only to represent people of African descent,” Campbell Barr said to CRHoy prior to the election, “But to represent all women and men in the country, a country that gives us all the same opportunities.”

Campell-Barr was a former leader of 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.

She was named “Epsy” after her paternal grandmother, who hailed from Jamaica. Campbell Barr was born in Costa Rica’s capital city of San José on July 4, 1963. She’s the fourth child in a family of two sons and two daughters. She has two daughters, Narda and Tanisha.

She has served as a deputy representing PAC in the Legislative Assembly since March 2014.

She was president of the Citizens’ Action Party (PAC) from February 2005 to February 2009. She was also a deputy for the PAC in the national legislature from 2002 to 2006, and the head of its parliamentary faction from 2003 to 2005.

She was a vice-presidential candidate in 2006.

Campbell Barr ran for president in 2010 and 2014. Campbell announced her intention to run in the PAC presidential primary for the 2018 presidential election, but withdrew from the race on 27 March 2017 and was subsequently selected by nominee Carlos Alvarado Quesada as one of two joint running mates, alongside Marvin Rodríguez.

She joins the ranks of such other trailblazers as Victoria Garrón, the country’s first female vice president (1986-90); Thelma Curling, the first Afro-Costa Rican legislator (1982-86); and Laura Chinchilla, who became the first female president in the Central American nation (2010-14).

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