Colombia’s Green Party Candidate Antanas Mockus

In Colombia, polls show that young people and Afro-Colombians support Antanas Mockus, whose full name is Aurelijus Rutenis Antanas Mockus Šivickas. Among 18-24 year olds, Mockus has a favorability rating of 67 percent, an eleven-point lead over former Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos. Quoted in Miami Herald article “Youngest voters may sway Colombian election,” Jaime Durate, a political analyst at the Universidad Externado de Colombia says that Colombia hasn’t seen “this kind of enthusiasm for a candidate–particularly among college students–since the 1980s.”

Born in Colombia (1952) of Lithuanian parents, Mockus is a mathematician and philosopher with degrees from the University of Bourgogne and the National University of Colombia, where he worked as a professor and researcher since 1975. He has also been the National University’s vice-president and president. He served as mayor of Bogotá for two, non-consecutive, terms, during which he became known for humorous initiatives and campaigns, such as taking a shower in a commercial about conserving water or walking the streets dressed in spandex and a cape as Supercitizen, to promote non-violence. During his two terms as mayor of Bogotá, Mockus earned a reputation as an unconventional and honest leader, a pacifist who believes in adherence to the law, transparency, education, and environmental protection. He also made strides in urban planning to greatly reduce the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions through the installation of over 300 kilometers of bike paths, pedestrian bridges, and a highly efficient bus route known as the Transmilenio.

When he was vice-president of the National University, students once planted a bomb at his mother’s house, he was forced to travel with bodyguards, and he once mooned an auditorium of hecklers to stun them into silence. Now, with Colombia’s presidential elections just days away, students are rallying around the man they call “El Profesor.”

Giovanni Camargo López, 19, a student interviewed at a Green Party rally waving an oversized pencil–one of the symbols of Mockus’ candidacy, which emphasizes education—summed up the opinions of other young people. He said that he appreciated the Uribe administration’s focus on safety, but it was time to turn the page: “You need more than war to bring security. We have to look at education, healthcare and poverty relief . . . Santos would be more of the same.”

A pro-Mockus political commercial focusing on diversity (see below), stresses the Green Party’s emphasis on unity and team work, adherence to the constitution, respect for public resources, the power of education, reparation, gender equality and equal opportunity, a non-discriminatory Colombia, “clean” politics, non-violence, and most of all, change.

For full article, see  http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/05/25/1648168/youngest-voters-may-sway-election.html

For a Green Party political commercial focusing on diversity and non-violence, see

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