Colombia VP says assassination bid foiled

Colombian Vice President Francia Marquez said Tuesday that her security detail had foiled an attempt to assassinate her.

Marquez, the first black vice president in the South American country, said on Twitter that her security people had carried out "the deactivation and destruction of a high-capacity explosive device" in the road leading to her family home in Colombia's southwest.

"It is another attempt on my life," added the 41-year-old, who survived an attack in 2019 linked to her work as an environmental activist in her home department of Cauca.

The latest bid, she said, involved "a plastic bag containing a high-powered explosive substance made of ammonium nitrate, powdered aluminum and... nails."

Her security team discovered the bag after being alerted to suspicious behavior by "outside elements" along the road leading to the village of Yolombo in the Suarez municipality where Marquez was born.

She is part of Colombia's first ever left-wing government, led by President Gustavo Petro, a former insurgent of the M-19 urban guerrilla movement that laid down its weapons in 1990.

Petro has attempted to end decades of armed conflict by negotiating with left-wing rebels and armed groups such as drug traffickers.

In August, a few days after Petro was sworn in, a vehicle in the presidential motorcade came under gunfire in the northeast of the country.

His predecessor, conservative Ivan Duque, also survived an attack when gunmen fired on a helicopter transporting him.

Marquez suffered a major scare at a campaign appearance last year when a laser pointer singled her out on stage. A security team carrying shields leaped to protect her.

An 18-year-old later admitted that he'd bought the laser pointer online.

Marquez, who was brought up poor and became a single mother at age 16, fled Cauca a few years later after receiving death threats.

She eventually got a law degree and entered politics.

In September, prosecutors opened an investigation into a woman who called Marquez "an ape" at a rally of opponents of the government.