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Mockus uses unconventional techniques to teach Colombians to be better citizens

BOGOTA, Colombia — Antanas Mockus, who leads most polls heading into the May 30 presidential election, has spent much of his career using unconventional techniques to teach Colombians to be better citizens.

As mayor of Bogota, Mockus put mimes on the streets to mimick and embarrass wreckless drivers. He donned a Superman-like costume, including tights and a red cape, and declared himself "Super Citizen" in a bid to improve civic behavior in the city.

His antics paid off. Bogota's streets became safer, the murder rate dropped, and Mockus won a second term.

But the Green Party candidate's most infamous stunt occurred in the 1990s when, as head of the National University, he mooned a crowd of unruly students in a successful attempt to gain their attention. Here's the video. (Warning: It ain't pretty!)

Mockus has a real shot at winning the presidency. But no matter what he goes on to achieve, he will always be known as the pol who dropped his pants.

Over the weekend, for example, Mockus's running mate, Sergio Fajardo, broke his hip while riding his bicycle. So, in today's El Tiempo, the political cartoon shows a couple watching a news report of the accident. The TV screen is filled with the image of a man's patched-up backside. But the wife asks her husband: "Is that Antanas?"