The election of Carlos Alvarado to the presidency of Costa Rica will also mark another milestone in the country’s political history: Epsy Alejandra Campbell Barr, one of the founders of the Part ido Accion Cuidadana (PAC), will be the first person of African descent to become the country’s First Vice-President on May 8.
“It would not 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 in the entire American continent. It’s a big responsibility,” Campbell said Sunday in an interview with CRHoy.com.
Campbell joins a short list of women in places of privilege in Costa Rica politics include 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 is named after her paternal grandmother, who migrated from Jamaica to the Costa Rican Caribbean coast with her husband. Epsy Campbell Barr was born in San José on July 4, 1963 (54) while her parents Shirley Barr Aird and Luis Campbell Patterson were living in San Francisco de Dos Rios. She is the fourth child of a family of five daughters and two sons. She married at a young age and became mother when she was just starting her university studies. She has two daughters, Narda and Tanisha.
Epsy Campbell has been 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.
After serving in the legislature for four years (2002–2006) and running for vice president in 2006, Campbell decided to seek the nomination of the PAC. She traveled the country in an RV, taking her anti-corruption and accountability message to PAC voters. Three other candidates vied to represent PAC in the 2014 national elections: Juan Carlos Mendoza, Luis Guillermo Solís, and Ronald Solís Bolaños.