Mimes, Sunflowers, and Good Governance An Examination of the Political Philosophy, Pedagogic Policies, and Campaign Strategy of Antanas Mockus Through the Lens of Colombian Electoral Politics

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Cory Siskind


The initial success and subsequent failure of Green Party candidate and former Bogotá mayor Antanas Mockus in the Colombian presidential elections of 2010 exemplifies the duality of Colombia’s modernizing political culture and taste for tradition. This paper will provide a brief overview of electoral politics in Colombia, including a discussion of clientelism, political violence, the 1991 Constitution, expansion of political parties, and placing Antanas Mockus and the Green Party in historical context. Next, it will outline the specifics of Mockus’s Bogotá-tailored philosophy of governing. The paper will advance into an analysis of Mockus’s policies in Bogotá, including disarmament, battling corruption, reforming drivers, expansion of public space, transportation, and infrastructure, water conservation, and voluntary taxes. This paper will then argue that the qualities that made Antanas Mockus initially appealing to the Colombian people, such as his honesty, academic nature, and break with politics as usual, ultimately proved his downfall in the 2010 election. This paper will conclude by looking to the future of the Colombian party.

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