Former Medellín mayor and current mathematics professor Sergio Fajardo Valderrama said this week he plans to be a presidential candidate whether current president Álvaro Uribe runs or not.
I’m “in this out of conviction and not calculation,” Fajardo, who earned his master’s and doctorate in mathematics from the University of Madison, Wisconsin, told El Heraldo. “I’m a presidential candidate with or without Uribe in the dance.”
Fajardo, known as mayor for his public works projects and transparent style of government, has swept the country during the past seven months, attempting to raise his profile beyond the Antioquian capital.
But despite the tour, he says that voters will get a student not a master of the country.
“To say that I know it all would be very pretentious. But that I have a good piece of the country in my head, under my skin and in my heart, of that I have no small doubt,” he said in the interview. “Still there’s a lot I have to learn about Colombia.”
Asked about what was the most memorable thing he’d seen on his travels, he was less doubtful.
“The pain of the displaced, a phenomenon that exists in all of Colombia, is stunning. It is the same photo in each city: the people, due to the violence, have turned to the capital cities,” he said. “That is the challenge we now have to confront.”
Whether heartfelt or calculated, the comment plays into the popular wisdom of Uribe and Fajardo: the former the president for making war, the latter a president for recovery. That is, if elected.