In praise of Goicoechea

Rarely does an op-ed piece move me as Yon Goicoechea’s piece in El Universal did today.

First, a bit of back-story: Goicoechea was the leader of the student movement in 2007. I wasn’t much of a fan, but a lot of people were. Upon graduating, he entered politics and joined Primero Justicia, insisting that party politics had to be changed from within.

Goicoechea announced he wanted to compete for the spot in his home district of San Antonio de los Altos. The MUD had other plans: that seat had been assigned to Alfonso Marquina of AD. A mini-crisis ensued, but ultimately the MUD stuck with Marquina and Goicoechea was placed on the roster for the Latin American Parliament. Nobody knows what they do, but that’s where he’s headed.

Today, Goicoechea talks about the experience in a positive way. His themes – giving up personal aspirations for the sake of unity, the importance of democracy within parties, not losing sight of the common enemy – are universal, and the way he talks about his experience in personal terms strikes me as very sincere and even, gulp, mature.

The money quote:

"It has been hard for me to turn the page because I feel attacked by the MUD and I wonder if the STATUS QUO is capable of transforming the country, but the time for that debate will be in 2012, with the election of the presidential candidate. Politics is not about serving oneself, but serving others. Because of this, we will work for the unity candidates, knowing that their victory will be a victory for all of us."

Words to live by.