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Colombian political icon Piedad Córdoba passes amid health speculation

The recent demise of Piedad Esneda Córdoba Ruíz, a distinguished figure in Colombian politics, has sparked considerable public interest, fuelled by speculations surrounding her health prior to her passing. Piedad Córdoba, who hailed from Medellín, Colombia, and was born into the world of politics and law, carved out a significant role for herself within the country’s political landscape. Throughout her career, she was aligned with the Liberal Party and later emerged as a leading figure in the leftist Poder Ciudadano organisation.

Córdoba’s commitment to advocating for human rights, as well as the rights of women, racial, and sexual minorities, earned her widespread recognition. Her distinctive turban became a symbol of her Afro-Colombian heritage, and her candid manner of speaking resonated with many in the traditionally conservative Antioquia region.

Amid her tenure as a senator, following the 2022 elections, murmurs began to circulate about Córdoba’s clandestine struggle with cancer. These speculations seemed to stem from an incident where she was hospitalized due to hypotension shortly after assuming her Senate duties. However, the narrative of Córdoba’s health challenges was not confined to a singular ailment. In the months that followed, she was admitted to healthcare facilities on several occasions for symptoms that raised concerns, including heart arrhythmias, respiratory infections, and general weakness that necessitated physical therapy sessions.

The precise details of Córdoba’s health remained largely undisclosed to the public, suggesting that the cancer rumours were potentially just one element in a complex medical picture. Despite the health challenges she faced, Córdoba’s dedication to her political work and her social justice endeavours in Colombia showed no signs of waning. She confronted her health issues with characteristic tenacity and determination, acknowledging broader health concerns yet dismissing the cancer speculations, even as she underwent hospital treatments and rehabilitation efforts. Her unwavering spirit in the face of health struggles was a testament to her resilience throughout her lifetime.

As the years progressed, Córdoba’s health increasingly influenced her capacity to engage in public life. Her hospitalization in July 2022, brought on by low blood pressure and arrhythmias, marked a notable moment in her later years, underlining the growing impact of her health on her public role.

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