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Antanas Mockus

Antanas Mockus Sivickas (born 25 March 1952 in Bogota), is a Colombian mathematician, philosopher, and politician. The son of Lithuanian immigrants, he left his post as principal of the National University of Colombia in Bogota in 1993, and later that year ran a successful campaign for mayor. He proceeded to preside over Bogota as mayor for two terms, during which he became known for springing surprising and humorous initiatives upon the city's inhabitants. These tended to involve grand gestures, including local artists or personal appearances by the mayor himself — taking a shower in a commercial about conserving water, or walking the streets dressed in spandex and a cape as Supercitizen.

Under Mockus's leadership, Bogota saw improvements such as: water usage dropped 40%, 7000 community security groups were formed and the homicide rate fell 70%, traffic fatalities dropped by over 50%, drinking water was provided to all homes (up from 79% in 1993), and sewerage was provided to 95% of homes (up from 71%). When he asked people to pay a voluntary extra 10% in taxes, over 60,000 people did so. His market-oriented social policies were much less successful. Poverty and unemployment levels were high throughout his tenures and continue to be a pressing issue in Bogota's social life.

In between his two terms as mayor, Mockus ran an unsuccessful 1998 bid for the presidency, first in his own name and later as Noemi Sanin Posada's running mate. In the meanwhile, Enrique Penalosa replaced him as mayor. Penalosa worked in a similarly way instituting popular new bike paths and bus systems. When Mockus ran again for the 2001 mayorship, he held a ceremony in a public fountain "to ask forgiveness for leaving the mayor's office in an unsuccessful bid for the presidency."

Related websites

CITIES ON SPEED - Bogota Change





Confianza Electoral

Symposium participant biographies


Democracia a distancia: Elecciones 2006 (Portalcol.com)

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