Green Party presidential candidate Antanas Mockus reaffirmed on Friday that education is the foundation upon which is campaign is based, and vows to “bet” on it for Colombia’s future.
Mockus, speaking at the Medellin Museum of Modern Art alongside his running mate, former Medellin Mayor Sergio Fajardo, compared his focus on education to current president Alvaro Uribe’s focus on security.
“President Uribe placed a bet on security,” Mockus said, arguing that the country is at a critical point in which it must now “place a bet on education” for Colombia’s future.
Mockus criticized the priorities of the current government, saying that he would take the money from Uribe’s scheme to “pay 1,000 teenagers to become government informants” and instead “pay for 2,000 of them to go to school.”
The Green candidate said that he seeks to use a similar tax to that used by Uribe “to make an investment into security” but use it instead to “invest in education,” adding that he vows to put “15% of the stocks of Ecopetrol [Colombia’s government-owned oil company] towards an investment” in Colombia’s education system.
Mockus explained that his vision of a better Colombia comes through education, “With education and culture, we can defeat illegality, corruption, poverty, inequality, informality, destruction of the environment and regional imbalances.”
“What we did in Bogota and Medellin we can do in the whole country,” Mockus, a former Bogota mayor, argued.
According to his campaign team, Mockus “increased seven-fold Bogota’s investment in education and ten-fold in culture,” while Fajardo in Medellin “dedicated four out of every ten pesos to education.”
Goals for Mockus’ educational investments, according to Fajardo, include “constructing at least 100 new schools per year, creating at least 400,000 spaces that are lacking in order for everyone to be able to graduate through high school.”
Mockus, who won 21% of the national vote in the first-round presidential elections on May 30, will face a run-off election with first place finisher Partido de la U’s Juan Manuel Santos on June 20.
In the most recent poll, released earlier Friday, 28% of respondents said that they would vote for Mockus and 65% for Santos.