BOGOTA, Colombia — A 62-year-old woman was convicted of discrimination and harassment on Monday for making racist comments about Colombia’s first Black vice president during an antigovernment 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 with up to three years in prison, though judges can replace prison time with parole or house arrest.
The small business owner from Bogota went viral in September after she railed against Vice President Francia Márquez on a video published by a local news site. Rubiano was protesting in front of Colombia’s congress and responded to a question from a journalist by hurling insults against Márquez and Afro-Colombians.
“Apes are now governing us,” Rubiano said in the video, which is still available on Twitter, but was censored by other platforms. “Francia Márquez is an ape … what education can Black people have, they steal, attack and kill.”
Prosecutors launched an investigation after Marquez’s lawyers filed a complaint.
During a hearing, they accused Rubiano of inciting hate, and damaging the reputation of Márquez and Colombia’s Afro-Colombian population, while compromising their right to not be discriminated against.
Marquez became Colombia’s first Black vice president last year after helping leftist Gustavo Petro win the presidential election. She has often spoken out about racism in Colombia, which she says is part of the legacy of colonialism and slavery.