Some things may be comical when you see them in movies, yet somewhat worrying when they are part of the democracy you count on.
Such is the case with María Fernanda Valencia, Candidate for the Partido de la U, who made it to the front cover of the Colombian magazine Soho (a classier version of the U.S. Maxim) by promising to appear naked in the issue after the March 14 elections if she is elected to the House of Representatives. In the interview with Soho she seems sharp and witty as she explains that getting naked is only the first step to “undressing a political reality.” She argues that getting naked is not bad, especially when compared to all the other promises and negotiations politicians are making in the run up to the elections. While the interview makes it hard to entirely dismiss her, her main campaign promise may not be the brightest in a country that already suffers from a delegitimized Congress.
Valencia is not the only candidate that seems to be betting mostly on her looks. Former model and actress Aura Cristina Geithner is running with the Partido Liberal for the Senate with a theme song that repeatedly describes her as a ‘bizcocho,’ slang roughly translated as ‘hottie. ‘The Facebook group “Aura Cristina…A Goddess” has about 3 times as many members as the group “Aura Cristina…for the Senate,” perhaps reflecting her voter base. Geithner apparently believes, and she may not be wrong, that the theme song and her pictures are all she needs to win. Most of her website, less than two weeks before elections, is still under construction.
Meanwhile negative campaigns have also shown their face. Cambio Radical’s House of Representatives candidate Santiago Morales has run with the slogan “Bogotá Does Not Have a Mayor,” promising that he will work to remove the city’s mayor. His website hosts a Facebook application that allows you to throw tomatoes at the mayor. The Partido de la U’s Nicolas Uribe, whose winning feature may just be sharing the president’s last name (his radio ads state, “Would you like to see Uribe in the Senate?”), has jumped on the bandwagon, hosting a web-based game on his site in which you first wake up the mayor and then can try to make him build a metro, fix potholes, or even pick up your trash.
Will these candidates get a seat in Congress? I’ll update you after the March 14 elections.