Finally this weekend it was confirmed: 39-year-old newsreader Claudia Hoyos is running for mayor of Cartagena on October 2007 local elections. Hoyos hosts a “political gossip” section on CM& newscast (broadcast on weeknights at 21:30 on state-run Canal Uno; the above video shows last Friday telecast). She made the news several weeks ago, when it was rumoured that she was having an affair with top politicial Germán Vargas Lleras (grandson of former Colombian president Carlos Lleras Restrepo, who ruled the country between 1966 and 1970) and leader of the Radical Change party.
I posted this morning an article on equinoXio digital magazine where I say that, while I don’t want to tarnish her qualities and skills as a journalist, I feel that, though she could easily win at the polls because of her fame and her image, she has not enough experience at public charges to aspire to such an important position. Cartagena is a very troubled city. It has a small zone “to show”, where important events such as Miss Colombia or this week’s Inter American Press Association meeting, where Bill Gates showed up (and said some corny things such as “I wish when I was growing up there were been the internet […] I would have been smarter”), are held. At this zone, wealthy people can enjoy themselves, while at the other side of the town, at Nelson Mandela neighbourhood, other people… most of them black people, starve and have no access to public services. Sometimes the government tries to “hide” them or prevent them to get close to the Historical Centre, by picking them up into trucks and taking them to “special” places, so foreigners “think Colombia is like Monaco”. Corruption is another big issue in this Caribbean city.
Hoyos is a big supporter of President Álvaro Uribe (I called her the “Uribe’s cheerleader”), so she will likely run for one or all the “uribista” parties and factions, even though she has said she will run as an independent. Given the discredit of traditional parties, a lot of political candidates who claim to be “transparent” and “clean” call themselves “independent”, no matter they eventually get support from strong political factions. And I must clarify that Colombia has a tradition on TV stars or athletes becoming politicians and running for governorships and Congress.
I strongly support the idea of have more women on top political positions. But why must them come from the media universe or political clans? Should they be pretty (like Hoyos) or have a strong support because of their last names, no matter if they have no experience at all? Anyway, if she becomes elected, I wish her the best of luck, because she really needs it. If she doesn’t go well, it will be a problem not just for her, but for the entire city.