Claudia López Becomes First Woman and Lesbian to Hold Mayoral Office in Bogotá

Claudia Lopez Bogota BELatina

Over the weekend, the people of Bogotá elected Claudia Lópeztheir mayor. She becomes the capital city’s first woman to hold mayoral office. As a lesbian, Lópezalso happens to be the city’s first openly gay mayor, in a country where an overwhelming majority of its citizens identify as Catholic. Lópezwon the race for mayor with just over a third of the vote, edging out her rival Carlos Fernando Galán by a few percentage points. She will assume office at the beginning of 2020.

The BBClikened the position of Bogotá mayor as the country’s “second-most important” post, with only the president holding a more consequential title in Colombia. A member of the Alianza Verde party, López ran on a platform of anti-corruption and social justice issues, something that she emphasized in her acceptance speech. Bogota voted so that through citizen culture, quality education and equality we will defeat, overcome and unlearn machismo, racism, classism, homophobia, and xenophobia.” Her visibility as a female leader and as an openly gay politician will serve to amplify any symbolic or substantive progress she is able to achieve while in office, something that she alluded to as she celebrated the results. “This is the day of the woman,” Lópezdeclared upon her victory. “We knew that only by uniting could we win. We did that. We united, we won and we made history!”

López has also broken historical precedent by becoming Latin America’s first lesbian mayor of a capital city, according to the Associated Press, a feat that has already resonated beyond the bounds of Bogotá. Blanca Duran, an openly gay politician who has served the city in the past, told the publication that López’s win “is showing that it is a city with respect, with diversity, in which we can advance rights.”

López’s election comes just days after Evo Morales clinched the presidency in Bolivia for his fourth presidential term — something that he was able to achieve after doing away with term limits while in office. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Morales’s victory as a fourth-term president was accompanied by accusations of corruption.

Argentina also has wrapped up its presidential race with the election of Peronista Alberto Fernández, who like López ran on a campaign of social justice. “Argentines must know that any commitment I made is an ethical commitment,” said Fernández after his win. “We are going to build solidarity and egalitarian Argentina that everybody dreams.”