In a history-making election, Epsy Campbell became the first Afro-Latina vice president in Costa Rica, as well as the first black female vice president in Latin America.
Winning alongside President-elect Carlos Alvarado Quesada, the two ran on a platform of “unity, infrastructure, and reducing inequality,” according to Jezebel.
Campbell, 54, is a co-founder of Costa Rica’s Citizen’s Action Party, of which Quesada is also a member. She also served in the legislature between 2002 and 2006, and was the head 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.
In the past, Campbell has called out racism in the country, and in the run up to the election, she spoke about reducing the pay gap in Costa Rica:
Speaking on her election, Campbell said:
“It would not be the first only in Costa Rica, but in Latin America. And eventually, if the president leaves the country, [would be] the first woman of African descent to assume the presidency in the entire American continent. It’s a big responsibility.”
Campbell joins a short list of women in places of privilege in Costa Rica politics, women like Thelma Curling, who was the first Afro-Costa Rican legislator (1982-1986), Victoria Garron, the first vice-president (1986-1990) and Laura Chinchilla (2010-2014) the first president.
“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,” added Epsy.
Campbell’s paternal grandparents migrated from Jamaica to Costa Rica, where she was born in 1953 and named after her grandmother, Epsy.