Antanas Mockus, the son of Lithuanian immigrants, was a precocious child and a young eccentric man who became a reknown mathematician. He also mastered in philosophy in France and returned to Colombia to become a professor of the National University, and eventually principal of the same institution. He would have probably devoted his life to academy, had not one day, exasperated with a large group of art students who would not let him talk, ‘mooned’ in front of them (and a day later in front of every TV because a student taped him and these images were on national TV). (More)
In the middle of the scandal, he was forced to resign. But with this unsolicited notoriety, a year later, he was elected Mayor of Bogotá. He won with an original campaign based on symbols: he wore costumes as Super-citizen, as a cricket or as an apostol to send a message to people in Bogota about the importance of cultural change. In a city plagued with all the problems of a large Latin-American capital: chaotic traffic, poverty, street vendors and high homicide rates, his unique leadership transformed Bogotá. It went from being one of the most violent cities in the continent to having a homicide rate similar to an average city in the U.S., Bogotá became a livable place.
In 2010, he convinced three former successful mayors to accompany him in a the newly created Green Party. He won the primaries of the party, and run for President of Colombia with a very innovative campaign.
Antanas Mockus represents a unique leadership style based on rationality more than on an emotional connection; rellying more on collective action than on the typical Latin American caudillo style; reflecting more feminine than masculine values; based more on a life example than on a marketing strategy; depending more on citizens’s support than on movilizing the political machinery; appealing to hope and dreams instead than to fear and to rallying against an enemy.
Mockus´s campaign represented a historic moment in Colombia, because for the first time in decades a political project broke through the status quo, without using arms, without using fear as a weapon and with the possibility of changing people inside out instead of outside in.
Mockus campaign also represented a worldly phenomenon: that special time in a country when young people feel for an instant that if they unite they can change history for the better. It was Obama’s time in the U.S. It was Mandela’s time in South Africa. It was the Orange Revolution in Ukraine. It wasn’t Colombia’s. Mockus lost the elections to Juan Manuel Santos, the new President of Colombia. (Close)
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The Green Wave is the social movement ignited by Antanas Mockus campaign. Mockus’s young fans took his campaign in their own hands and organized spontaneusly around Facebook. His supporters designed the political posters, and led an imaginative campaign with public flashmobs, green bike rallies and word-of-mouth with one message: Mockus’s idea to obey the law and understand that life and public resources are sacred. (More)
They organized themselves, put out artistic performances to bring out the vote, and were incredibly disappointed when they lost in the first-round. But very rapidly, the reorganized themselves to win the run-off. After Mockus lost the Presidency, the Green Wave kept organizing, and are now preparing local and regional development plans for their towns and cities for the elections in 2011. All done in an open-source way, using Mockus’s vision as the ‘code’. (Close)
The 2010 Presidential Elections were very important because they were the first ones after 8 years of Alvaro Uribe’s Presidency. Initially, the elections were thought to be marked: Uribe’s successor, Juan Manuel Santos was going to win the elections. (More)
The Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the Left Party all had good candidates but were seen as very weak compared to the immense popularity of President Uribe and whoever he chose to replace him. Nonetheless, three months before elections, Antanas Mockus and the newly created Green Party showed up and changed the whole political scenario.
With an innovative campaign and a fresh message of fighting corruption and changing culture to make the country citizens obey the law, Antanas Mockus soared in the polls leaving behind all candidates but right-wing Juan Manuel Santos.
Neck to neck in the polls, Santos and Mockus represented two completely different alternatives. While Santos was running a highly-controlled campaign with American advisors, Mockus ran an open-source campaign run by his followers; Santos’s campaign was a highly expensive professional enterprise while Mockus was a low-budget artisanal campaign. Santos promised more of the same, Mockus a radical change.
Although Mockus led during the last month the polls, his campaign was slowed down by a series of gaffes made by the candidate and by rumors started by the other campaign. At the end, Juan Manuel Santos won the run-off by a big margin and became the 52th President of Colombia.(Close)