The issue of Uribe’s backing of
Peñalosa has been creating fissures within the Green Party since it was first made public a few months ago, with Mockus being the most outspoken and unwavering in his public urgings for
Peñalosa to reject Uribe’s support.
For Mockus, it was a case of the scandals that emerged toward the end of the Uribe administration, such as “false positives,” false demobilizations and wiretapping, causing him to feel that any association with Uribe would be a betrayal of everything the party stands for.
Although recognizing the achievements of Uribe’s government, Mockus stated that many things were done “at the expense of limits established in the constitution,” he told El Espectador after his resignation Thursday evening, adding that, ultimately, “there are things I cannot digest.”
He said that he does not wish to offend or reproach anyone but expressed his dismay that the question of Uribe’s support was never discussed internally by the party, constituting what he deems as a lack of “loyalty to the [Green Party] community.”
Peñalosa himself lamented the resignation of Mockus, stating that “I feel sad because it would have been very valuable to count on him in the campaign,” before urging the party to concentrate upon winning the elections.
“In times of crisis the public will notice the difference [if you work hard]…Bogota would be very different today if four years ago I had won the election and not Samuel Moreno, [the Bogota mayor suspended for corruption],” said
Peñalosa, who is seeking his second term as mayor.
Sergio Fajardo, the Medellin gubernatorial candidate who was on the ticket during Mockus’ presidential campaign, used stronger words to describe the resignation as “a mistake,” and that “to leave in that way is not responsible to all the people [that support you]. He only thought of himself.”
“It is a shame, Mockus is a valuable person for this country, he became a symbol of alternative politics. I think it is an error what he is doing, because we inside this process promised ourselves to work together,” said Fajardo.
Acknowledging that Mockus’ departure is a “severe blow” to the party, he also noted it could damage
Peñalosa’s candidacy, despite him currently leading the polls, before adding wryly, “It’s up to [U.N. General Secretary] Ban-Ki Moon to resolve the dispute between Mockus and
Peñalosa,” referring the U.N. visit that starts today.