Colombia: Election campaigns undermined by racism and misogyny | News

Colombian election observers have highlighted the potential violence resulting from hate speech directed at presidential candidates, especially Gustavo Petro.

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On Monday, vice-presidential candidate Francia Marquez said she had received three death threats in the past month. The “Aguilas Negras”, a far-right group loyal to former President Alvaro Uribe, are behind the death threats.

Aguilas Negras’ latest statement threatened to kill Petro and Marquez and some other members of their party’s elected lawmakers, supposedly to avert a “catastrophe for the country”. The threats came following an increase in hate speech against Marquez, a black woman who became Petro’s running mate in March.

Marquez had complained last month about the National Protection Unit’s failure to provide adequate protection, saying she was struggling to campaign. The Election Observation Mission (EOM) said racism and misogyny are exposed by using opinion leaders and social media users who “legitimize violence”.

The Ministry of Education has expressed concern about hate speech by prominent opinion leaders in the national media whose aim is to hinder the political exercise of women and people of color by dehumanizing them, delegitimizing their discourse by reducing their positions and proposals to the stereotypes and prejudices that have historically suppressed these population groups.

The Ministry of Education called on politicians, opinion leaders, journalists and ordinary citizens “to ensure that this type of hate speech is not permitted or reproduced in any scenario and in any context”.

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