Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fajardo to run for governor

I don't normally delve into Colombian politics, but it appears Sergio Fajardo, the former mayor of Medellin, is planning to run for governor of Antioquia, the province in which Medellin is located. He is planning to announce his run in February.

This is good news for the province. Fajardo, a US-educated journalist/teacher/mathematician-by-training turned politician, is widely credited for having turned Medellin around between 2003 and 2007. Of course it's far more complex than that; he had serious help from Paisas (as Medellin residents are known) themselves, as their entrepreneurial spirit helped give the city the economic boost it needed. But Fajardo did institute social programs, invested in public works/parks etc to improve day-to-day life, and raised the city's international profile.

It needed this last effort badly: before I wrote about Medellin's comeback in 2004 (link in title of post), I remember looking into past news clips about the city. Given its notoriety during the era of hometown hoodlum Pablo Escobar, I wasn't surprised to find little positive written about Medellin during the 80s. But I was astounded to see that not one positive piece had been written about Medellin in the English-language press since the 1930s, when some travel writer had visited the surrounding countryside.

Good press, especially realistic and balanced good press, can do amazing things for a city that requires foreign investment and foreign interest in its exports to survive and thrive. Fajardo's main claim to fame may be the cable car system he built in order to connect one of Medellin's shantytowns to the city, but personally, I think it's his comfort and success on the international stage that has done the most to boost Medellin's image. I hope he can continue to do the same for the entire region as governor of Antioquia. And maybe someday in the future, he'll be president of Colombia.

No comments:

Post a Comment