The First Black, Female Vice President In The Americas Celebrates Her Historic Win

Epsy Campbell Barr just made history.

Costa Rica chose Epsy Campbell Barr as its next vice president on Sunday, making her the first Black woman to ever be elected vice president of a country in the Americas.

Barr, an Afro-Costa Rican, is a politician and economist who made history when her running mate Carlos Alvarado Quesada won the presidential election in a landslide victory. During her run, Barr reached out to Black Costa Ricans and urged them to vote for a more inclusive country, according to The Washington Post. 


"I wouldn't be the first only in Costa Rica, but in Latin America and eventually, if the president leaves the country, [I would be] the first woman of African descent to assume the presidency of the entire American continent," Barr told Costa Rica Today . "It's a big responsibility."

Barr was named after her grandmother, and throughout her career as a politician has been outspoken about the rights of women and the LGBT community. She co-founded the Citizens Action Party in 2000, led the Center for Women of African Descent, ran the Alliance of Leaders of African Descent in Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the Black Parliament of the Americas, according to Essence.

During the election, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that same-sex marriage should be allowed, making the issue a major topic. Religious conservatives rallied around Fabricio Alvarado, who wanted to stop same-sex marriage from becoming law. Ultimately, Barr's tolerant stance and that of her running mate prevailed. 

In 2010, Laura Chinchilla became the first female president of Costa Rica. Elsewhere in the Americas, though, female vice presidents or presidents have been much rarer. The United States is still searching for its first female president and vice 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," Barr told Costa Rica Today.

Barr celebrated her win on Twitter, writing simply: "Muchas gracias, Costa Rica"

Cover image via Mihai-Bogdan Lazar /


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