Progressive Calendar 05.08.10
From: David Shove (
Date: Sat, 8 May 2010 11:05:54 -0700 (PDT)
             P R O G R E S S I V E   C A L E N D A R   05.08.10

1. Train day       5.08 11am
2. CUAPB           5.08 1:30pm
3. Climate lobby   5.08 1:30pm
4. Northtown vigil 5.08 2pm
5. Amnesty Intl    5.08 2pm
6. Pentel/party    5.08 5pm
7. Marv/Carol      5.08 7pm
8. Vandana Shiva   5.08 9pm

9. Danene Provencher - Don't repeal the MN nuclear power moratorium:
10. Missy Beattie    - Fools for politics/catastrophically ashamed
11. Russell Mokhiber - How oil companies cheat
12. W John Green     - Mockus' surprising run/Green is for Go in Colombia

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From: Andrew Hine <amhine2 [at]>
Subject: Train day 5.08 11am

National Train Day
May 8, 11a.m. - 6 p.m.
Amtrak Midway Depot, 730 Transfer Road, Saint Paul, MN
Why: to recognize and celebrate the significant past, present and future of
passenger rail in Minnesota.

Visitors and immigrants by the hundreds of thousands once boarded
passenger trains in the east and headed west to the Twin Cities. Some were
looking for adventure while others were looking for work, but together
they changed Minnesota and the world. We are building on that history
today as we move forward to expand the reaches of transit and passenger
rail in the metro and Minnesota.

Announcing the Inaugural Celebration of National Train Day in the Twin
Cities! Please join us for the first official local celebration of
National Train Day.

Highlights: Step into a brand new Burlington Northern Sante Fe Class 1
See the sleeping arrangements on an Amtrak Sleeper
Visit the past in 3 restored vintage rail cars
Drawing: 3 pairs of Round Trip tickets on the Empire Builder

Exhibits: Full size engines and other railroad equipment, historic rail
cars, model railroads of all scales and passenger rail enthusiasts.

Operation Lifesaver will be there with their crash car (a vehicle that was
involved in a railroad incident) to teach kids (and adults!) about safety
around trains and rail crossings.

FREE entertainment and give aways (including a drawing for 3 pairs of
round trip tickets to Chicago).
Children's activities: Kids of all ages will have an opportunity to become
Jr. Rangers and many of the exhibits have activities especially for kids.

Denise Niedzolkowski Secretary to the Superintendent Mississippi National
River and Recreation Area 111 Kellogg Boulevard East, Suite 105 Saint
Paul, MN 55101 651-290-3030 ext 238 651-290-3214

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From: Michelle Gross <mgresist [at]>
Subject: CUAPB 5.08 1:30pm

Meetings: Every Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Walker Church, 3104 16th Avenue

Communities United Against Police Brutality
3100 16th Avenue S
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Hotline 612-874-STOP (7867)

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From: Lydia Howell <lydiahowell [at]>
Subject: Climate lobby 5.08 1:30pm

Group Start Workshop
Free Event
Saturday May 8, 2010
Presentation from 1:30- 4:30 pm
Local Organic Refreshments will be served

Purpose: To form multiple Citizen Climate Lobby (CCL) Groups around the
Metro area to create the political will for a sustainable climate and to
empower ourselves and each other to make a difference by exercising our
personal and political power.

Edina Library-Meeting Room 22
5240 Grandview Dr. Edina MN 55436
(just south of Vernon Ave 1/4 mile west of Hwy 100)

Paul H.
Ph: 651-882-0671 -h
952-484-4534 -c

Contact: Paul Thompson 952-920-1547
<mailto:ptflydisc [at]>ptflydisc [at]  to register or volunteer

--------4 of x--------

From: Vanka485 [at]
Subject: Northtown vigil 5.08 2pm

Peace vigil at Northtown (Old Hwy 10 & University Av), every Saturday

--------5 of x--------

From: Ginny and Dick Bopp <ginbopp [at]>
Subject: Amnesty Intl 5.08 2pm

Amnesty International Group 315 cordially invites everyone to an Awards
Presentation to Winners of the 2010 AI Student Human Rights Essay Contest
at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, 3121 Groveland School Rd, Minnetonka, MN
on Saturday, May 8 at 2 pm.

Essay Topic:  Discuss the use of the sentence of "Life without Parole" for
offenses committed by children in the United States and why it should be

Guest Speaker:  Jody Kent, Director and National Coordinator, The Campaign
for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Washington, DC.
Come meet and congratulate the winners!   -Refreshments will be Served-

RSVP Requested to: Ginny Bopp (763) 546-1377, Contest Coordinator,
ginbopp [at]

--------6 of x--------

From: Ken Pentel <kenpentel [at]>
Subject: Pentel/party 5.08 5pm

Ecology Democracy Network May 2010 Report

Founding convention
The founding convention of the Ecology Democracy Party and endorsements
will take place on Saturday, May 8th:

Location: Golden Valley, Brookview Park, Large Picnic Shelter, Winnetka
Ave and Brookview Pkwy (Hwy 55 to Winnetka Ave, South to Brookview
Parkway, then turn right)
Time: 5pm-Dusk

 Donations: Whatever you can donate keeps the ideas the Network
circulating and all of us building a movement.
 Website: We will need someone to help manage the website for the Network
and/or the emerging party.
 Graphic Designer: We need somebody on-call
 Grant writer: Over the longterm we will need to have steady stream of

Network and/or political party

All of you have been part of building the Ecology Democracy Network. The
Network is a educational vehicle and is a foundation for developing a new
political party, as well as, challenge to others to start their own party.

Now that we are in the phase of starting a new party on May 8th some of
you may be conflicted on your role. You may already be in an existing
party or you may not want expand beyond the Network.

Either way is fine. But, for the mandates of the Network to go beyond an
educational loop to real transformation, the people who finance the system
and the people who are elected will need to be held accountable, or risk
losing power for the decisions that rationalizes the ecological and social
problems we have to deal with. The problems are systemic, and the Network
backed by a political party can offer the leverage for the structural
changes that will lead to greater balance with Earth.

Running for office

This is a reminder and challenge for you to run as a State candidate on
the Network mandates. You can run soft or hard. (Call me to find out what
that means.) Either way, you can express yourself, offer the voters a
meaningful vision, and hold the decision makers accountable.

If you are thinking of running for municipal office, you can inject the
idea of: Applying life-cycle costs to local budgets. This can ensure
long-term economic health and strength; Look to Minneapolis and St. Paul
for new voting method that reflect the people more honestly.; Propose
public funding system for local election too.

You don't have to win elections to win issues. By engaging new people and
getting votes you could swing elections, forcing the dominate two parties
to take notice, and this starts to move the political energy in our

The most intense period for State office will be between the 8th of May
and June 1st. Erin and Danene are completing a simple step-by-step
approach to running. Contact me for a short candidate screening. The
endorsement will happen just after the founding convention on May 8th.

Ken Pentel, Network Director Ecology Democracy Network P.O. Box 3872
Minneapolis, MN 55403 kenpentel [at]
(612) 387-0601

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From: Women Against Military Madness <wamm [at]>
Subject: Marv/Carol 5.08 7pm

Marv Davidov and Carol Masters Reading: You Can't Do That
Saturday, May 8, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Bohlander Arts Gallery, 3011 36th
Avenue South, Minneapolis.

As part of an evening of poetry, Activist Marv Davidov and his biographer
Carol Masters discuss his biography, You Can't Do That: Marv Davidov,
Non-Violent Revolutionary. "In this full-length biography, we follow the
career of Marv Davidov from his years in the Army (he received an
honorable discharge 'for the good of the army'), living among the Beats on
the U of M campus, participating in the Freedom Rides that helped bring
racial integration to the American South, and on to the rallies,
conferences and demonstrations in Minnesota, serving to raise public
awareness of locally- manufactured bombs and weapons designed to kill and
maim. 'I write good letters from prison,' says Davidov, who has been
arrested 50 times for acts of civil disobedience'" - book description.
Biographer Carol Masters is a long time anti-war activist and writer and
serves on the Board of WAMM. Endorsed by: WAMM. FFI: Visit .

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From: Eric Angell <eric-angell [at]>
Subject: Vandana Shiva 5.08 9pm

Level-headed Minneapolis Television Network (MTN) viewers:
"Our World In Depth" cablecasts on MTN Channel 17 on Saturdays at 9pm and
Tuesdays at 8am, after DemocracyNow!  Households with basic cable may

Sat, 5/8, 9pm and Tues, 5/11, 8am
"Dr. Vandana Shiva: Women and Water (pt. 2)"

World renown Indian physicist, ecologist, feminist, author and activist
Vandana Shiva speaks at the University of Minnesota about the intersection
of women and water rights. (part 2, includes Q & A).

---------9 of x--------

From: PRO826 [at] fwd by Danene Provencher
Subject: Don't let them repeal the MN nuclear power moratorium:

Dear Supporters of the Nuclear Power Moratorium:

This morning, I checked the bill status for SF 2971 (the House version of
which repeals the nuclear power moratorium, with conditions - the
so-called "Hilty Amendment"):

The following Senators were chosen as conference committee members:
    Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL) - telephone: (651) 296-4188; e-mail:
    Scott Dibble (DFL) - telephone: (651) 296-4191; e-mail:
sen.scott.dibble [at]
    Amy Koch (R) - telephone: (651) 296-5981; e-mail:
sen.amy.koch [at]
    Note: Senator Koch has been strongly in favor of repealing the
moratorium, without conditions.

The following Representatives were chosen as conference committee
    Bill Hilty (DFL) - telephone: (651) 296-4308; e-mail:
rep.bill.hilty [at]
    Kate Knuth (DFL) - telephone: (651) 296-0141; e-mail:
rep.kate.knuth [at]
    Bob Gunther (R) - telephone: (651) 296-3240;
e-mail: rep.bob.gunther [at]

   Note: Representatives Hilty and Knuth voted "For" the Hilty amendment
(to repeal the nuclear power moratorium, with conditions); Rep. Gunther
voted against the Hilty amendment (presumably because he
            wanted no nuclear power moratorium at all!)

I don't know when the conference committee will be scheduled.  I assume
that there be a very short advance notice.  (Stay tuned by placing SF
2971 on your "My Bills" page; and keep checking the "Combined Legislative
Meeting Calendar" on the Minnesota Legislature website.

We need to lobby them hard - to have Hilty amendment (that repealed the
nuclear power moratorium) DELETED and reinstate the current nuclear power

Therefore, these conference committee members must receive a STORM OF
PROTEST (via e-mail, telephone, attending conference committee meeting,
etc.), with the simple message:

Tom Casey
Board Member and Registered Lobbyist
West Metro Global Warming Action Group, Inc.
(952) 472-1099 (office)

Please forward to all interested parties. We need action now!

--------10 of x--------

Fools for Politics
Catastrophically Ashamed
May 7 - 9, 2010

As I write, two million people in Massachusetts are under a boil, baby,
boil alert after a water "leak". When I think of a leak, I hear a drip,
drip, drip. Like from a faucet that requires washer replacement. The word
"leak" minimizes what some are calling a catastrophe in the Boston area.

Same with the use of the word "spill" in the Gulf of Mexico. Let's place
the responsibility not just on British Petroleum's greed and our cavalier
consumption of oil but on all politicians whose bodies are bathed in
donations from Big Oil. This is an event of epic proportions, an
ecological and financial catastrophe whose ramifications will unfold for
decades, but it is not, as Texas Governor Rick Perry claims, an act of

Reports about the number of gallons gushing from the rig each day are
conflicting. One account says a million but another doubles this. If
there's a "blowout," 378 million gallons will spew. Or more, depending on
which statement is accurate.

Four hundred species of animals are at risk.

Yes, we are scalp deep in catastrophes. [All engineered by ruling class
bastards we are too timid/naive/stupid/gutless to squash. -ed]

The AfPak-Iraq war, also is spewing - blood, tears, and immorality - while
producing damaged DNA, destroyed lives, and environmental disaster.

Acknowledge, too, the criminal surges perpetrated by Israel's Zionists,
who with the unwavering support of the US government and the Zionists in
our midst, continue their genocide of the Palestinian people.

The botched Times Square vehicle bomb could have been catastrophic. Simply
put, this is retribution for our invasions and occupations. The suspect,
Faisal Shahzad, is a US citizen of Pakistani descent. According to an
article in the New York Post, Shahzad was living the American dream but
went to Pakistan where he was eyewitness to our drone warfare. Perhaps,
Shahzad had family and friends who were collateral damage when our aerial
vehicles unleashed their vengeance on a "terrorist target" and killed 60
or 70 civilians. How many chickens will come home to roost before we GET

We are living a multitude of catastrophes, whose genesis did not occur
with the inauguration of George W. Bush but, most certainly, escalated
when this infantile embarrassment was fighting his own demons, making them
our demons, and creating new demons.

Sure, Obama inherited Bush's legacy, a weapon of mass destruction, but
he's done nothing to amend the damage. Instead, the man who brought hope
to countless voters, who inspired a new generation of young people to work
on his behalf, has increased the demons for everyone except the power
elite whose privilege he's protected at the peril of the majority of the

During this time of international despair, Barack Obama, at the White
House Correspondents. Dinner, joked about Predator drones, eliciting some
positive reviews for his comedic skills. The audience salivated. Oh, those
funny drones - and silent, too, until they explode a missile, melting
civilians, babies, toddlers, teens. Hey Jonas Brothers, stay away from
Malia and Sasha or one of these absof**kinglutely hilarious machines might
hover above and, then, cremate your asses to bone fragments and dust.

Obama's stand-up is about as humorous as his oppressive policies - the
policies that are irrefutable proof he never intended to drive this big
machine away from the status-quo road. He'd never have won the party's
nomination if his agenda had REALLY been to travel the moral highway.

I haven't even addressed the catastrophes of healthcare, homelessness, the
bailout of banks and corporations, diminished quality of education, racial
profiling, and lack of employment opportunities. Or our abysmal one-party

Essentially, we are inundated with catastrophes and we are
catastrophically gullible. Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us over and
over, shame on us. Shame, shame, shame.

If the planet still exists when the next election is held, let's not be
catastrophically gullible and ashamed. Again. [Alas, I can see millions of
Dems lining up to vote dumb "hope" for Obama, because they don't want to
admit that BOTH parties are totally owned by sociopathic ruling class
bastards whose only joy in life it stealing everything from everywhere and
everyone;  such voters are guilty of collusion with evil. The bastards
have us exactly where they want us, and we are too chicken to move. -ed]

Missy Beattie lives in New York City. She's written for National Public
Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. An outspoken critic of the Bush
Administration and the war in Iraq, she's a member of Gold Star Families
for Peace. She completed a novel last year, but since the death of her
nephew, Marine Lance Cpl. Chase J. Comley, in Iraq on August 6,'05, she
has been writing political articles. She can be reached at:
Missybeat [at]

--------11 of x-------

Blowing the Lid Off of Rigged Blowout Preventer Tests
How Oil Companies Cheat
May 7 - 9, 2010

BP will not be happy with Mike Mason.

Mason is a 27 year oil industry veteran who worked on oil rigs at BP
facilities on the North Slope of Alaska.

He knows the ins and outs of blowout preventers.

And he says that cheating on tests for blowout preventers is widespread in
the industry.

He says he's witnessed BP cheating on such tests in the North Slope.

On January 21, 2005, Corporate Crime Reporter ran an article detailing
Mason's allegations of BP's cheating on blowout preventer tests.

At the time, Mason was working for Nabors Alaska Drilling Inc. - a BP
contractor on the North Slope.

Mason witnessed two blowouts of BP wells on the North Slope in 2003 - one
on July 3 and one on December 6.

At the time, Mason was feeding information to oil industry critic Charles

Hamel wrote to then Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), asking for an

"BP and Nabors Alaska Drilling are reported to be falsifying drilling
records and critical AOGCC (Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission)
required Blow Out Prevention tests as well as concealing from AOGCC and
ADEC (Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation) at least two
reportable blow-out/spills," Hamel wrote.

The Wall Street Journal followed up with a story on February 5, 2005.

As a result of the Corporate Crime Reporter and Wall Street Journal
articles, investigations were launched.

In June 2005, the Alaska Oil & Gas Conservation Commission (AOGCC) ruled
that a Nabors' employee had falsified blowout preventer tests.


Chart spinning.

What is chart spinning?

Well, to test a blowout preventer, you build up the pressure for five

And you record the pressure test on a chart.

The Commission found that the Nabors employee cheated.

They built up the pressure for only one minute.

Or two minutes.

And then manually moved the chart to show that it had been pressurized for
the required five minutes.

Nabors also investigated the situation and agreed with the Commission's

The Commission ordered Nabors to pay $10,000 in costs.

And according to Mason, Nabors fired the responsible manager.

But Mason says that that was just one instance.

He says that cheating on blow out prevention tests is a way of life in the
oil industry.

"They cheat to save money and time," Mason said. [There's that extra
mistress to finance. -ed]

Mason says he personally witnessed BP managers repeatedly cheating on
blowout prevention tests.

But BP was never charged.

Why not?

Mason says that he spoke with the Nabors manager who was fired.

And the Nabors manager who was fired said that he wouldn't tell
investigators who at BP was complicit.

Why did the Nabors manager take the fall for the BP managers?

"That's just the type of person he was," Mason says. "He wasn't the type
of person who was going to turn other people in".

Mason was fired from his job at Nabors on July 16, 2006, four days after
he wrote a letter to the editor of the Anchorage Daily News.

In the letter, Mason criticizes Nabors for incorporating in Barbados for
tax reasons.

"My son has made a commitment to his country, and I will see him off to
Iraq soon," Mason wrote. "All I can think about is he could end up making
the ultimate sacrifice for his country and at the same time Nabors is
avoiding their responsibilities as Americans. Forget Benedict Arnold.
Nabors Industries is the ultimate American traitor".

Mason says his son has done two tours in Iraq and is now home safe in

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.

--------12 of x--------

Mockus' Surprising Run
Green is for Go in Colombia
May 7 - 9, 2010

The amazing rise of Antanas Mockus and his Green Party in Colombia belies
the stereotype, common even among Latin America specialists, of a country
irredeemably plagued by violence and appropriately known for its "faux
democracy". Mockus and the Greens prove that Colombian democracy can be
real enough, though admittedly conflicted. The sudden surge of Mockus is
not completely surprising. It is, rather, a new chapter in an old struggle
between two powerful political currents in Colombia's societal evolution,
where controversial movements of popular mobilization and democratic
optimism have repeatedly had to face presidential administrations, now
embodied in the lvaro Uribe administration, one that is no stranger to
violence and intimidation. What is at stake is not just how Uribe will go
down in history, but whether the harsh realities of the Uribe presidency
will allow the White House to reverse itself and back the pending
U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (which it seems to want to do) that
President Obama opposed while he was a member of the Senate.

Yet, this is something new. Mockus, a popular two-term former mayor of
Bogota, is a mathematician, philosopher, and former rector of the National
University in Bogot. The flamboyant and eccentric child of Lithuanian
immigrants once mooned a student assembly to get their attention. As
mayor, he donned tights and a cape as "Supercitizen," and was married in a
circus tent while riding an elephant. In war-torn Colombia, he, on the
contrary, has pacifist tendencies.

Mockus teamed up with other former progressive mayors of Bogota, Enrique
Pealosa and Luis Eduardo Garzn, who collectively joined the Greens to run
in its presidential primary, with an agreement to support the victor. The
Green Party's rise was truly spectacular. Originally hoping to secure
500,000 votes in its primary, the Greens themselves were astounded when
1,822,856 Colombians voted. In the 3-way race for the party's presidential
candidate, the Greens chose Mockus. Columnist Daniel Coronell wrote in the
respected Semana magazine that a Green/Mockus government "would not look
like anything we've seen before". Jos Fernando Isaza, rector of Jorge
Tadeo Lozano University asserted that, unlike other recent governments
(namely, that of current President lvaro Uribe) a Mockus government would
not persecute political opponents.

Elected in 2002 by a citizenry angry over kidnappings by the FARC,
Colombia's largest guerrilla army, and other security concerns, President
Uribe slammed the door on almost twenty years of repeated attempts at
peace negotiations that were invariably thwarted amidst the mass murder of
leftist politicians and rightist hardliners, and those in between. Indeed,
since the late 1940s, Colombia has endured recurrent cycles of reform and
repression, in which attempts at political and economic change engendered
violent backlashes, in the time-honored Colombian way of dealing with such
pariah forces of the days. While the chances that Uribe's aggressive
approach would actually resolve Colombia's 60-year-long political
predicament have always been close to zero, it has nevertheless taken
eight years for the current faith in hardliner strategy to fade.

After President Uribe was barred by an unexpectedly feisty Colombian
Supreme Court from running for a third term, war hawk Juan Manuel Santos,
his former Defense Minister, became his anointed heir. Santos is the
stand-in for Uribe's "Democratic Security" policy, consisting of a
hard-line, no compromise nor negotiation approach toward the major
guerrilla movements, the ELN and the FARC. The current policy amounts to
placing the country on an eternal war footing. It cannot be gainsaid that
this strategy is still very popular with a sizable percentage of
Colombians, and until early April, Santos seemed to have a lock on
victory; yet the various scandals and abuses of the Uribe years were
rattling in the closet (especially the government and military connections
to the paramilitary movement) and finally took their toll.

The presidential election now suddenly looks like a potential game
changer, particularly after the Greens did surprisingly well in the March
Congressional elections, winning 5 Senate seats. Soon thereafter, Mockus
secured Sergio Fajardo, another popular former mayor (of Medellin,
Colombia's second largest city), as his vice presidential running mate.
Fajardo is also a mathematician and former academic. Their somewhat vague
program emphasizing anti-corruption and civic responsibility, turned out
to be a surprise winner. It is pro-growth, and enjoys ample business
support, with Mockus insisting that his government would not negotiate
with the guerrillas as long as they continue to hold kidnapped hostages.
He is clearly an "anti-politician" candidate, and he certainly shot up as
the "anti-Uribe" standard bearer. In response to questions about bombing
neighboring countries (as Uribe did in 2008 when he attacked FARC camps in
Ecuador), Mockus insisted that he would respect the Colombian Constitution
and international treaties. His supporters even turned his disclosure of
early stage Parkinson's disease into a strength when they joked that the
real shaking is taking place in the Uribe camp, and is driven by fear. By
early April, Mockus was surging into second place in polls ranking the
various presidential candidates. These polls also pushed aside
Conservative Party candidate Noem Sann. By the last week of the month,
polls showed Mockus pulling ahead, and indicated that he would likely
defeat Santos in a second round. Mockus has even claimed that he could
possibly win a majority in the first round of voting on May 30th.

Naturally, Mockus' critics stress fears over security. This approach began
at the top of the executive branch in early April, when a caterwauling
President Uribe faulted Mayor Mockus (who was in office when Uribe was
elected) for deploying feeble security measures during Uribe's 2002
inauguration, during which the FARC attempted a primitive mortar attack.
Weeks later, Uribe referred to "lame horses" not being up to the job of
protecting Colombians, in a not too subtle allusion to Mockus' Parkinson's
illness. This line was seconded by an Uribe devotee and would-be, if
witless, presidential candidate, former Agricultural Minister, Andrs
Felipe Arias, who quipped that the FARC "won't be defeated with mimes and
sunflowers". Sunflowers, of course, are the Green Party symbol, and as
Mayor, Mockus used mimes to shame traffic violators into responsible

Mockus, who repeatedly insists that he would not negotiate with guerrillas
until they release their kidnapped hostages, and pledges that he will
preserve the "advances in security" achieved under Uribe's
administrations, points out that Uribe might recall that the latter had
earlier praised his security work as Mayor, and even decorated him for it
(of which there is plenty of inconvenient video to preserve the point).

Forces of the progressive left believe that they are ready for a
resurgence, even by a win. They have demonstrated that they comprehend the
role of the new media, as in last year's Obama campaign. Mockus and
Fajardo are very popular on Facebook and Twitter, and can count on much of
the urban and youth vote; they are making 10,000 new "friends" a day,
rocketing from 200 a couple of months ago to 450,000 as of April 29. The
Mockus wave represents a new hope for Latin American left of center
politics, and, closer to home, a significant rejection of the Uribe years,
as well as promises to break with the policies of the recent past. Still,
this may not be an easy victory. Mockus must win support in the
countryside and on the Atlantic coast, where decades of paramilitary
cleansing of the population, as well as continued threats to left-leaning
voters and candidates, will make that trial difficult to tread.

As its core, the Green message stresses the ageless theme of the
redemption of morality in politics. This resonates with the most famous
presidential campaign in Colombian history, that of the martyred Jorge
Elicer Gaitn, who championed social and "distributive" justice, and ran in
1946 for the "moral and democratic restoration of the republic". Though he
split the Liberal vote and lost the election, historians widely agree that
Gaitn, if he had been spared, would have been elected president in 1950.
Gaitn's assassination in 1948 is generally viewed as one of the key
detonators of the "Violencia" period that lasted until the mid 1960s, and
in some ways, continues until today. Therefore, apprehensive Colombians
are well aware that plucky candidates like Mockus have a tendency to get
killed before they can be elected.

The victory of a united left and center under Mockus - now a strong
possibility - is refreshing, exciting, and potentially terrifying, given
the likelihood of violent reaction, as all of Colombia's woeful
traditional problems and dangers still remain.

W. John Green, one of this country.s most distinguished specialists on
Colombia, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Washington-based Council on
Hemispheric Affairs, which originally published this article. He is the
author of Gaitanismo, Left, Liberalism and Popular Mobilization in
Colombia (Gainesville: University of Florida Press. 2003)


   - David Shove             shove001 [at]
   rhymes with clove         Progressive Calendar
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