BOGOTÁ, Colombia — A 62-year-old woman was convicted Monday of discrimination and harassment for making racist comments 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 prison with probation or house arrest.
The Bogotá small business owner went viral in September after criticizing Vice President Francia Márquez in a video posted by a local news site. Rubiano was protesting outside the Colombian congress and responded to a journalist’s question by hurling insults at Márquez and Afro-Colombians.
“The apes now rule us,” Rubiano said in the video, which is still available on Twitter but has been censored by other platforms. «Francia Márquez is an ape… what education can blacks have, they steal, attack and kill.»
Prosecutors launched an investigation after Márquez’s lawyers filed a complaint.
During a hearing, they accused Rubiano of inciting hatred and damaging the reputation of Márquez and Colombia’s Afro-Colombian population, 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. He has often spoken about racism in Colombia, which he says is part of the legacy of colonialism and slavery.