|'Against the Free Trade Agreement, the gringos and the fatherland's sell-outs.'|
|Luis González campaigning, |
one voter at a time.
Colombian politics is already buzzing about next year's presidential campaign, in which Pres. Santos looks likely to seek reelection, and Time Magazine says that his most likely opponent is his relative, ex-Vice Pres. Francisco Santos. Either one would likely support free trade agreements, a close alliance with Washington, a continued military campaign against the guerrillas and a privatized economy.
González, 52, would take a very different route if he makes it into the Casa de Nariño, which he's sure he'll do. In his administration, foreign military advisers would be expelled from Colombia, the state would nationalize all public services, health and education would be free and everybody would be guaranteed a job.
But before getting elected or even getting onto the ballot, González needs to collect the signatures of 520,000 voters. He's is planning a cycling campaign tour of the coffee region.
|González motions toward the memorial for his hero, |
Jorge Eliecer Gaitan.
Would González's policies work? Will he get the chance? González doesn't have any political parties behind him, nor money (he survives off of donations and by selling CDs of Gaitan's speeches). But, he says, he does have 'the people' behind him, and that's all he needs. Neither does his political history bode well. He ran multiple times for city council and mayor, mostly in his native Santander Department, and lost every time. Those failures don't disappoint him - he's sure that the only political position which matters is the presidency, so why not go directly there?
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours