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Colombia: Mockus-Fajardo Alliance for Presidential Elections

Colombian Presidential candidate Antanas Mockus, of the Green Party [es], sealed an alliance with the Medellín's ex-Mayor, Sergio Fajardo, who will be his Vice-Presidential running mate for the May 30, 2010 elections. Both men were mayors of Colombian's two largest cities, Bogotá and Medellín, respectively. Many Colombians believe that they led transparent administrations during their time as Mayors.

This alliance has been met with approval by many Colombians, as demonstrated in opinion polls. However, the virtual world in blogs is also not alien from this. Here are some reflections on how this alliance is seen online.

Photo of Antanas Mockus by Gó Me Z and used unde a Creative Commons license.

Photo of Antanas Mockus by Gó Me Z and used unde a Creative Commons license.

To begin, Álvaro Ramírez in the digital magazine EquinoXio [es] writes about the importance of working as a team:

La renuncia que ha hecho Fajardo a su ambición individual de ser presidente ahora, es significativa porque revela con mayor claridad el revolcón que está transformando a estos ex-alcaldes en políticos cada vez más sagaces e inteligentes. Entendieron que sin estructuras sólidas, sin organizar a sus seguidores y sin tomarse el tiempo y el esfuerzo de construir movimientos políticos y partidos con perfiles ideológicos coherentes, no era posible hacer los cambios profundos que Colombia necesita.

Fajardo has resigned his personal ambition to become president now, which is significant because it reveals more clearly the turn of events that are transforming these ex-Mayors into politicians more and more sagacious and more intelligent. They understand that without solid structures, without organizing their supporters and without taking the time and effort to build political movements and parties with coherent ideological profiles, it would not be possible to make the profound changes that Colombia needs.

Juanita León from the site La Silla Vacía [es] provides an analysis of the upturn that will benefit the supporters in the Mockus campaign and reiterates the identification of the 2 sides because there are no marked ideological differences:

Antanas Mockus y Sergio Fajardo tienen muchas afinidades: ambos son matemáticos, fueron alcaldes exitosos, creen en la importancia de la transparencia de los medios para conseguir los fines en la política. Pero tienen menos complementariedades.

Antanas Mockus and Sergio Fajardo have a lot of things in common: both were mathematicians, both were successful mayors, they believe in the importance of transparency as a means to the ends in politics. However, they have less complementarity.

The Koestler collective blog, Reflexiones Desde Lebrija [es] is pleased with this alliance, but at the same time launches criticism at the manipulation that is being seen in the polls that are taking place in Colombia:

Un claro ejemplo es el de Datexco, que repitió la encuesta… hasta que aparecía ganándola Juan Manuel Santos.

Sí: es que definitivamente hasta en eso se tiene que engañar a la gente. Porque la encuesta de Datexco la ganó Mockus, pero había que ocultarlo al pueblo.

A clear example is that Datexco, which repeated the survey… until it showed that (candidate) Juan Manuel Santos was winning.

Yes: they definitely do this to trick the people. Because in the Datexco survey, Mockus won, but they wanted to hide the result from the people.

Earlier in 2010, Mockus announced that he has Parkinson's Disease, an illness that he says he is controlling with medication and which is in its early stages. However, some opponents have been drawing a lot of attention to his illness. Víctor Solano in his blog ¿Comunicación? [es] analyzes the news that the journalists from the Caracol station [es] wanted to handle in detriment to Mockus’ image, coinciding with the avalanche of supporters of the alliance led by Mockus, and questioned:

Sinceramente me sentí muy triste, no tanto por la salud del candidato porque sé que Mockus es fuerte, gallardo, honesto y porque con medicación podrá atenuar los efectos de su padecimiento; me sentí triste al ver que tengo colegas en la radio que atentan contra la dignidad de los candidatos, que buscan los presuntos talones de Aquiles en la necesidad de menoscabar a las personas y no a los hechos.

Honestly, I felt sad, not so much for the candidate's health because I know that Mockus is strong, gallant, honest, and because with medication may mitigate the effects of his condition; I felt sad knowing that I have colleagues on the radio that undermine the dignity of the candidates by looking for the alleged Achilles heel in the need to undermine the people and not the facts.

Superuser in the blog Tu Web Florida [es] analyzes the pros and cons of this alliance. However, he concludes its favorability in the end:

Hay quienes interpretan eso como una debilidad a la hora de administrar un país, pues las funciones son más complejas. Por ejemplo, la política de relaciones exteriores es de manejo exclusivo del Gobierno central; la actuación del Presidente y del Banco de la República es determinante en la economía; a esto se suma que la seguridad y la defensa de la nación son del fuero del más alto nivel del Ejecutivo. En otras palabras, una cosa es administrar una ciudad y otra un país.

Sin embargo, las ciudades en las que fueron alcaldes Mockus y Fajardo son las más importantes del país, y en buena medida, sus administraciones representan desafíos debido a la complejidad de sus problemas.

Some people interpret this as a weakness when administering a country, because the functions are more complex. For example, foreign relations politics are exclusively handled by the central government; the roles of the President and the Bank of the Republic are crucial in the economy, to this one adds security and national defense are under the jurisdiction of the highest levels of the Executive Branch. In other words, one thing is administering a city, an another thing is administering a country.

However, the cities of which Mockus and Fajardo were the mayors, are the largest in the country, and largely present challenges to their administrations due to the complexity of their problems.

In the social networks, this alliance has been receiving a lot of support from its followers who form different groups. Among the most representative, is the one on Facebook titled “Antanas Mockus and Sergio Fajardo for the Presidency of the Republic [es]” with has more than 65,000 followers. The site is managed by volunteers supporting the virtual campaign. Two comments appear on the site, one in favor of Mockus and the other against:

Juan Daniel Cruz Podríamos ahorrarnos 60.000 millones de pesos: lo que vale la segunda, si elegimos a Antanas en primera vuelta. Pongamos esta información en el estado de Facebook este sábado 17 de Abril, tener el mejor presidente nos sale muy económico, igual que la campaña que manejo durante su candidatura, manifestémonos y apoyemos esta campaña el 17 de abril.

Aragon de gondor. nadie habla del contrato de Mockus, en su primera alcaldía con Ica de México para repavimentar la malla vial de Bogotá. No se ejecutó ni el 40% hoy no se ha recuperado el dinero del distrito, sigue el pleito y el experto estadista, de candidato a la presidencia….ver más ilusos.

Juan Daniel Cruz: We can save 60,000 million pesos: which is what a runoff election costs, if we elect Antanas in the first round. Let's put this information as a Facebook status on April 17, to have the best president comes out very economical, as is the campaign that has been managed during the campaign, let's state and support this campaign on April 17.

Aragon de Gondor: No one talks about with Mockus’ contract with Ica of Mexico during his first term as Mayor. The contract was to re-pave Bogota's road network. Not even 40% was implemented and the money from the district has not been recovered, the fight continues and the expert statesman, from candidate to the presidency…see more delusions.

Even though many Colombian bloggers are in favor of this alliance, there are some exceptions such as Saúl Hernández, who published in his blog Opinet [es], and which also appeared in El Tiempo. On his personal blog, he had to close comments because the supporters of Mockus-Fajardo responded in large numbers responding to Hernández’ harsh criticism of the Colombian youth for supporting the campaign, calling them immature:

Esos inconformes, entre ellos muchos jóvenes con su típica inmadurez política, buscan algo peor que el mesianismo y el caudillismo que tanto critican, como son las salidas utópicas. Buscan el Obama colombiano que acabe con la corrupción, la pobreza, la violencia, el desempleo y la ignorancia; que legalice las drogas, que haga las paces con Chávez, que haga el intercambio humanitario, firme la paz con las guerrillas y logre otras enormidades de ese calibre.

Those nonconformists, among them many young people with their typical political immaturity, look for something worse than messianism and the caudillism that they criticize, like their utopian journeys. They look for the Colombian Obama, who will end corruption, poverty, violence, unemployment and ignorance. They want to legalize drugs, to make peace with (Hugo) Chávez, to make humanitarian exchanges, to sign peace deals with the guerrillas, and achieve other enormous tasks of that caliber.

Jorge Luis Rocha, 19 years-old, is very enthusiastic, something that is reflected in many of Colombia's youth about this alliance. He writes in his blog CP ¡Cuántas Palabras! [es]:

Por estas pocas razones (comentemos muchas más!) la unión Fajardo-Mockus da aires de esperanza para vivir en otra Colombia y sentirse (personalmente, por primera vez) orgulloso de esta tierra. No sería raro que, como Barack Obama, Mockus gane inesperadamente la presidencia en Colombia. Tenemos con qué ganar. Tenemos monopolizados las redes sociales, trabajamos con bajo perfil, le hacemos ver otras cosas a la gente… somos activos. Somos activos en medio de otros políticos que se dedican a darle largas a peleas mediáticas infantiles. Sé, y tengo la ilusión, de que a partir del segundo semestre de 2010 habrá un presidente no conservador, no Uribista, sino independiente.

For these few reasons (let's count many more!) the union Fajardo-Mockus gives us hopes to live in another Colombia and feel (personally for the first time) pride in this land. It wouldn't be strange that, like Barack Obama, Mockus wins the presidency of Colombia unexpectedly. We have the ability to win. We must monopolize the social networks, work with a low profile, let's make others see the other side…we are active. We are active in the middle of the other politicians that dedicate themselves to become involved in large childish fights in the media. I know, and I have the hopes, that starting in the second half of 2010 there will be a non-Conservative president, non-Uribe, but rather independent.

Finally, the two candidates have not invested much in this campaign, and have attempted to take full advantage of the virtual media. The volunteer organizers of this campaign have been sending emails with the phrase, “Under the Motto – Unity Makes Us Stronger, the 2 Ex-Mayors announce key points in the campaign will be citizen culture, education, and dignity for life in the rural areas.”

The campaign for presidential elections will become more competitive and interesting, and there are hopes that there will be a lot of citizen participation for exercising their right at the ballot box on May 30.

Translation by Eduardo Ávila
  • http://intlaffairs.wordpress.com Roberto

    Lully,

    This is an excellent summary of opinions found online regarding the Mockus-Fajardo “independent presidential ticket”. I your second to last paragraph you cite that “key points in the campaign will be citizen culture, education, and dignity for life in the rural areas.” I believe that, if Mockus-Fajardo make it to the second round (which seems quite possible according to the latest polls), they will have to work especially on the last point of this statement. They are very well known in Bogotá and Medellín for their achievements during their respective terms as mayors, and they will certainly gain an important amount of votes in these cities. However, if the want to overtake Santos in the second round, it will be crucial for them to make themselves more known in the rural areas, since their public exposure so far has rather been limited to the cities. Convincing the rural population about their strengths and achievements will be the key to at least have the opportunity to compete with Santos.

    Best regards,
    Roberto

  • http://reflexionesaldesnudo.equinoxio.org/ lully

    “However, if the want to overtake Santos in the second round, it will be crucial for them to make themselves more known in the rural areas, since their public exposure so far has rather been limited to the cities”.
    Very important your coment and I agree with you. I hope that they think seriously in that for the sake of Colombian citizens.
    ¡Hugs!

  • Pingback: Colombia: alleanza verde Mockus-Fajardo per le elezioni presidenziali | gli italiani

  • Antonio Sosa

    It’s hard to believe any thinking Colombian may consider voting for a green clown like Mockus, but I guess Chavez’s money and manipulations work on some naïve Colombians.

    Chavez is investing millions stolen from Venezuelans to demonize Santos and support his candidate, Mockus. “Economy, not security” as a key Colombian issue is typical of the campaigns organized by Chavez to FOOL people into Marxism. That’s how he convinced Bolivians to vote for Morales and Ecuadorians to vote for Correa.

    Mockus is Chavez’s candidate and, therefore, the LAST thing Colombians need to achieve prosperity AND security. Venezuelan Peña Esclusa is warning Colombians not to make the same mistake Venezuelans made http://www.unoamerica.org/unoPAG/noticia.php?id=904

    Colombians are being manipulated, just like Bolivians and Ecuadorians were manipulated, to vote for a minion of Chavez. We hope Colombians are smart enough and learn from the tragedy of their neighbors, Venezuelans and Ecuadorians.

    Voting for Mockus, a candidate of Chavez, is voting for Chavez and the AIDS of socialism/Marxism that destroys people and countries, as it has destroyed Cuba and Venezuela and is destroying Ecuador and Bolivia.

  • Pingback: Global Voices in English » Colombia: Presidential Election and Campaigning in Citizen Media

  • Pingback: Global Voices in English » Colombia: Mayor of Bogotá isolated amidst corruption allegations

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