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Bogotos meras Antanas Mockus (Unicode)

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  • Andrius Kulikauskas
    Laimingų naujų metų! Pridedu straipsnį anglų kalba apie Bogotos merą Antaną Mockų. Tai bene vienas iš žymiausių ir idomiausių lietuvių pasaulyje.
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 1, 2005
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      Laimingų naujų metų!

      Pridedu straipsnį anglų kalba apie Bogotos merą Antaną Mockų. Tai bene
      vienas iš žymiausių ir idomiausių lietuvių pasaulyje. Jam visaip pavyko
      įtraukti, paveikti, išjudinti Venecuelos sostinės piliečius. Tikiu, kad
      ir Minčių sodo veikla kada nors bus tokio masto.


      Andrius Kulikauskas
      Minčių sodas




      Mime with sign: 'Incorrecto!'
      One of former Bogotá Mayor Antanas Mockus' many inspired strategies for
      changing the mindset - and, eventually, the behavior - of the city's
      unruly inhabitants was the installation of traffic mimes on street
      corners. (Photo courtesy of El Tiempo)
      Academic turns city into a social experiment
      Mayor Mockus of Bogotá and his spectacularly applied theory
      By María Cristina Caballero
      Special to the Harvard News Office

      Antanas Mockus had just resigned from the top job of Colombian National
      University. A mathematician and philosopher, Mockus looked around for
      another big challenge and found it: to be in charge of, as he describes
      it, "a 6.5 million person classroom."

      Mockus, who had no political experience, ran for mayor of Bogotá; he was
      successful mainly because people in Colombia's capital city saw him as
      an honest guy. With an educator's inventiveness, Mockus turned Bogotá
      into a social experiment just as the city was choked with violence,
      lawless traffic, corruption, and gangs of street children who mugged and
      stole. It was a city perceived by some to be on the verge of chaos.

      People were desperate for a change, for a moral leader of some sort. The
      eccentric Mockus, who communicates through symbols, humor, and
      metaphors, filled the role. When many hated the disordered and
      disorderly city of Bogotá, he wore a Superman costume and acted as a
      superhero called "Supercitizen." People laughed at Mockus' antics, but
      the laughter began to break the ice of their extreme skepticism.

      Mockus' seemingly wacky notions have a respectable intellectual
      pedigree. His measures were informed by, among others, Nobel
      Prize-winning economist Douglass North, who has investigated the tension
      between formal and informal rules, and Jürgen Habermas' work on how
      dialogue creates social capital. (Staff photos Jon Chase/Harvard News

      Mockus, who finished his second term as mayor this past January,
      recently came to Harvard for two weeks as a visiting fellow at the
      Kennedy School's Institute of Politics to share lessons about civic
      engagement with students and faculty.

      "We found Mayor Mockus' presentation intensely interesting," said Adams
      Professor Jane Mansbidge of the Kennedy School, who invited Mockus to
      speak in her "Democracy From Theory to Practice" class. "Our reading had
      focused on the standard material incentive-based systems for reducing
      corruption. He focused on changing hearts and minds - not through
      preaching but through artistically creative strategies that employed the
      power of individual and community disapproval. He also spoke openly,
      with a lovely partial self-mockery, of his own failings, not suggesting
      that he was more moral than anyone else. His presentation made it clear
      that the most effective campaigns combine material incentives with
      normative change and participatory stakeholding. He is a most engaging,
      almost pixieish math professor, not a stuffy 'mayor' at all. The
      students were enchanted, as was I."

      A theatrical teacher

      The slim, bearded, 51-year-old former mayor explained himself thus:
      "What really moves me to do things that other people consider original
      is my passion to teach." He has long been known for theatrical displays
      to gain people's attention and, then, to make them think.

      Mockus, the only son of a Lithuanian artist, burst onto the Colombian
      political scene in 1993 when, faced with a rowdy auditorium of the
      school of arts' students, he dropped his pants and mooned them to gain
      quiet. The gesture, he said at the time, should be understood "as a part
      of the resources which an artist can use." He resigned as rector, the
      top job of Colombian National University, and soon decided to run for mayor.

      The fact that he was seen as an unusual leader gave the new mayor the
      opportunity to try extraordinary things, such as hiring 420 mimes to
      control traffic in Bogotá's chaotic and dangerous streets. He launched a
      "Night for Women" and asked the city's men to stay home in the evening
      and care for the children; 700,000 women went out on the first of three
      nights that Mockus dedicated to them.

      Women's Night Out celebrants
      Bogotá's women enjoy the fruits of a Mockus idea, a 'Night for Women,'
      when the city's men stayed home and women police kept the night secure.
      (Photo by Martin Garcia/El Tiempo)

      When there was a water shortage, Mockus appeared on TV programs taking a
      shower and turning off the water as he soaped, asking his fellow
      citizens to do the same. In just two months people were using 14 percent
      less water, a savings that increased when people realized how much money
      they were also saving because of economic incentives approved by Mockus;
      water use is now 40 percent less than before the shortage.

      "The distribution of knowledge is the key contemporary task," Mockus
      said. "Knowledge empowers people. If people know the rules, and are
      sensitized by art, humor, and creativity, they are much more likely to
      accept change."

      Mockus taught vivid lessons with these tools. One time, he asked
      citizens to put their power to use with 350,000 "thumbs-up" and
      "thumbs-down" cards that his office distributed to the populace. The
      cards were meant to approve or disapprove of other citizens' behavior;
      it was a device that many people actively - and peacefully - used in the

      He also asked people to pay 10 percent extra in voluntary taxes. To the
      surprise of many, 63,000 people voluntarily paid the extra taxes. A
      dramatic indicator of the shift in the attitude of "Bogotanos" during
      Mockus' tenure is that, in 2002, the city collected more than three
      times the revenues it had garnered in 1990.

      Another Mockus inspiration was to ask people to call his office if they
      found a kind and honest taxi driver; 150 people called and the mayor
      organized a meeting with all those good taxi drivers, who advised him
      about how to improve the behavior of mean taxi drivers. The good taxi
      drivers were named "Knights of the Zebra," a club supported by the
      mayor's office.

      Yet Mockus doesn't like to be called a leader. "There is a tendency to
      be dependent on individual leaders," he said. "To me, it is important to
      develop collective leadership. I don't like to get credit for all that
      we achieved. Millions of people contributed to the results that we
      achieved ... I like more egalitarian relationships. I especially like to
      orient people to learn."

      Taking a moral stand

      Still, there were times when Mockus felt he needed to impose his will,
      such as when he launched the "Carrot Law," demanding that every bar and
      entertainment place close at 1 a.m. with the goal of diminishing
      drinking and violence.

      Most important to Mockus was his campaign about the importance and
      sacredness of life. "In a society where human life has lost value," he
      said, "there cannot be another priority than re-establishing respect for
      life as the main right and duty of citizens." Mockus sees the reduction
      of homicides from 80 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1993 to 22 per 100,000
      inhabitants in 2003 as a major achievement, noting also that traffic
      fatalities dropped by more than half in the same time period, from an
      average of 1,300 per year to about 600. Contributing to this success was
      the mayor's inspired decision to paint stars on the spots where
      pedestrians (1,500 of them) had been killed in traffic accidents.

      Mimes demonstrating proper rubbish disposal
      'Knowledge,' said Mockus, 'empowers people. If people know the rules,
      and are sensitized by art, humor, and creativity, they are much more
      likely to accept change.' (Photo by Gerardo Chaves/El Tiempo)

      "Saving a single life justifies the effort," Mockus said.

      The former mayor had to address many fronts simultaneously. In his
      struggle against corruption, he closed down the transit police because
      many of those 2,000 members were notoriously bribable.

      Mockus was a constant presence in the media, promoting his civic
      campaigns. "My messages about the importance of protecting children from
      being burned with fireworks, protecting children from domestic violence,
      and the sacredness of life reached many, including the children," he said.

      Once the mother of a 3-year-old girl called his office to say that
      meeting Mockus was her daughter's only birthday wish.

      But the meeting also revealed, said Mockus, that Colombian society has a
      long way to go. During the visit, the mother told him: "When I am going
      to hit her, she runs to the telephone and says that she is going to call
      Mockus. She doesn't even know how to dial a number, but obviously she
      thinks that you would protect her." Mockus, who has two daughters
      himself, was shocked at the woman's nonchalance about striking her daughter.

      Women's night and mimes

      There is almost always a civics lesson behind Mockus' antics. Florence
      Thomas, a feminist and a professor at Colombian National University,
      pointed out to Mockus that in Bogotá women were afraid to go out at
      night. "At that time, we were also looking for what would be the best
      image of a safe city, and I realized that if you see streets with many
      women you feel safer," Mockus explained.

      So he asked men to stay home and suggested that both sexes should take
      advantage of the "Night for Women" to reflect on women's role in
      society. About 700,000
      More of Mockus in Bogotá

      Here are a few more innovations from Antanas Mockus' two mayoral terms:
      # Mockus mobilized people to protest against violence and terrorist
      attacks. He invented a "vaccine against violence," asking people to draw
      the faces of the people who had hurt them on balloons, which they then
      popped. About 50,000 people participated in this campaign.

      # Mockus also embraced the concept of community policing. He tried to
      bring the community and the police closer together through the creation
      of Schools of Civic Security and local security fronts. In 2003, there
      were about 7,000 local security fronts in Bogotá. "It is very important
      to understand that the Schools and Fronts respond to a civic ideal. They
      have nothing to do with firearms but basically promote community
      organization," Mockus points out.

      # Voluntary disarmament days were held in December 1996 and again in
      2003. Though less than 1 percent of the firearms in the city were given
      up, homicides fell by 26 percent, thanks in part to the attention given
      to the program by the media. The percentage of people who think that it
      is better to have firearms in order to protect themselves fell from 24.8
      percent in 2001 to 10.4 percent in 2003.

      # In 2003, the Mockus administration provided 1,235,000 homes with
      sewage service and 1,316,500 with water services. The city's provision
      of drinking water rose from 78.7 percent of homes in 1993 to 100 percent
      in 2003. The sewage service rose from 70.8 percent of homes in 1993 to
      94.9 percent in 2003.

      # When Mockus assumed power, many city positions were distributed
      according to council members' recommendations. "I stopped that, and some
      called me an anti-patronage fundamentalist," Mockus said. He remembers
      that when he handed a text explaining his goals of transparency to one
      key council member, the council member first smiled, but later resigned.
      women went out, flocking to free, open-air concerts. They flooded into
      bars that offered women-only drink specials and strolled down a central
      boulevard that had been converted into a pedestrian zone.

      To avoid legal challenges, the mayor stated that the men's curfew was
      strictly voluntary. Men who simply couldn't bear to stay indoors during
      the six-hour restriction were asked to carry self-styled "safe conduct"
      passes. About 200,000 men went out that night, some of them angrily
      calling Mockus a "clown" in TV interviews.

      But most men graciously embraced Mockus' campaign. In the
      lower-middle-class neighborhood of San Cristobal, women marched through
      the streets to celebrate their night. When they saw a man staying at
      home, carrying a baby, or taking care of children, the women stopped and

      That night the police commander was a woman, and 1,500 women police were
      in charge of Bogotá's security.

      Another innovative idea was to use mimes to improve both traffic and
      citizens' behavior. Initially 20 professional mimes shadowed pedestrians
      who didn't follow crossing rules: A pedestrian running across the road
      would be tracked by a mime who mocked his every move. Mimes also poked
      fun at reckless drivers. The program was so popular that another 400
      people were trained as mimes.

      "It was a pacifist counterweight," Mockus said. "With neither words nor
      weapons, the mimes were doubly unarmed. My goal was to show the
      importance of cultural regulations."

      A bigger classroom?

      Mockus noted that his administrations were enlightened by academic
      concepts, including the work of Nobel Prize-winning economist Douglass
      North, who has investigated the tension between formal and informal
      rules and how economic development is restrained when those rules clash;
      and Jürgen Habermas' work on how dialogue creates social capital. Mockus
      also mentions Socrates, who said that if people understood well, they
      probably would not act in the wrong way.

      Luis Eduardo Garzón, the new mayor of Bogotá, is the first leftist who
      has been in charge of the second-most important political position in
      Colombia. Said Mockus, "His election expresses a consensus around the
      importance of addressing social issues. Garzón has the challenge of
      opening space to new political forces in a country that has been
      dominated by a 'bipartidismo bobo' (dumb two-party system)."

      Mockus - a sterling exemplar of the current vogue in Latin America for
      "anti-politicians" - says that transforming Bogotá's people and their
      sense of civic culture was the key to solving many of the city's
      problems. He is looking forward to returning to the classroom at
      Colombian National University after a sabbatical year. But Mockus is
      also considering the possibility of launching a presidential campaign -
      and perhaps being in charge of a 42 million student classroom.

      María Cristina Caballero, a native of Bogotá, is a fellow at Harvard
      University's Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School
      of Government.


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