Epsy Alejandra Campbell-Barr

Costa Rica’s Vice-President Has Jamaican Roots

The woman who will become the new vice-president of Costa Rica on May 8 has Jamaican heritage.

Epsy Alejandra Campbell-Barr was elected to the post after Carlos Alvarado won Sunday’s run-off election to beat right-wing evangelical preacher Fabricio Alvarado (no relation), for the job as head of state.

A 38-year-old former labour minister, writer and one-time journalist, Carlos Alvarado won 61 per cent of the vote, against 39 per cent for Fabricio Alvarado. Campbell Barr will be the first person of African descent to serve as the country’s vice-president.

“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 Barr was reported as saying on Sunday in an interview with CRHoy.com.

A story on QCostarica states that Campbell Barr’s grandmother reportedly migrated to Costa Rica from Jamaica with her husband.

“She’s named after her paternal grandmom and she’s proud of her Jamaican heritage,” the story said, adding that Campbell Barr is active in her community and served in the legislature between 2002 and 2006 before running for vice-president in 2006.

“She has also served as 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,” the story said.

According to the report, one of Campbell Barr’s major priorities is serving all the women of Costa Rica.

“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,” she is quoted as saying.

The story said that Campbell Barr took the grassroots approach to help her campaign by reportedly travelling in an RV around the country to get her anti-corruption and accountability message out to voters.