Samuel Moreno Rojas
Samuel Gustavo Moreno Rojas is a Colombian American politician, son of former congressman Samuel Moreno Diaz and former presidential candidate Maria Eugenia Rojas Correa, grandson of former Colombian military dictator Gustavo Rojas Pinilla. His brother Ivan Moreno Rojas is a former Mayor of Bucaramanga, minister and senator. In October 28 2007, Moreno Rojas was elected Mayor of Bogota representing the Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA) for the 2008-2011 term.
Moreno Rojas studied Economics and Law in the Universidad del Rosario in Bogota and obtained specializations in business administration from the University of the Andes, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Harvard University.
In 1982 Moreno Rojas joined the political party founded by his grandfather Gustavo Rojas Pinilla and then led by his mother, the National Popular Alliance (ANAPO). He became the coordinator of the ANAPO youth movement from 1982 to 1985. In 1985 he then became coordinator for Bogota until 1987 when he was appointed as the national coordinator, post that he served until 2003.
Public office career
He was elected senator of Colombia in 1991 and then reelected for three more periods; 1994, 1998 and 2002. After 2002 Moreno Rojas focused on consolidating the Independent Democratic Pole, a leftist political movement that integrated the ANAPO and in which he was made party president. In 2005 Moreno Rojas was defeated by Antonio Navarro Wolff during the Democratic Pole's convention to appoint a presidential candidate. He then decided not to run for a fifth term as senator to seek the Majorship of Bogota for 2008.
Candidacy for Mayor of Bogota and election
On July 8, 2007 he was elected front runner for the Alternative Democratic Pole (political movement joined by the Democratic Pole) after defeating polls favored candidate Maria Emma Mejia. [*]
Controversy during candidacy
On October 21, in a live TV debate, he was asked by Antanas Mockus if he would pay for 50 votes if that prevented someone who had already paid for 50,000 votes from winning, thus "saving Bogota". His response was "Yes, without doubt!". His answer was controversial and highly criticized. Later, he claimed that he had not understood the question and that the expression "saving Bogota" would lead him to give such answer.
During his campaign he proposed the construction of an underground rapid transit system to increase the passengers capacity of the city, reduce the commute time and increase the comfort of the trip by reducing the number of people per wagon, this proposition has been very controversial, because the city already has a mass transit system, the TransMilenio which is not finished yet, and the construction of this new system will make impossible to finish it, theres also the possibility that the city can't afford the construction and maintenance of the railway. President Alvaro Uribe mentioned that he would support the new system after proper analysis of the proposal and viability and suggested that the system must be financially self-sustainable if built. Uribe alleged that the Colombian government was unable to sustain through subsidies the maintenance of the rapid transit system.
Moreno defeated rival and former Mayor Enrique Penalosa in Bogota's mayoral elections in October 2007, with 43.7% of the votes against the 28.15% achieved by Penalosa. [*] He took office on January 1, 2008.
During his period in charge of the city, Moreno has been widely criticized by media, members of his political party, and a large proportion of his electors, due to his lack of results in terms of urban security, transit, and political promises made in his campaign. An initiative to revoque his mandate is currently under development.
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