The Political Voice That Was Born In ‘Tricen’

The porrazos that sometimes gives life forced Daniel Quintero Calle to become a man being a child.

With 14 years of age he could not mourn the death of his mother Stella Calle, all to tell his brothers Miguel – 17 years old – and Juan David – 13 – that from that moment the future she invited them to dream every night instead of reading them a story, it became opaque, uphill, like some the streets of the Tricentennial – the neighborhood where he spent his childhood – which looks like a small city nestled between trees and avenues of hurried cars.

In those streets and putting aside his tragedy, Daniel sold incense sticks and desserts. It was the year 94 and the lags of an active drug trafficking in Medellín took the corners of the neighborhoods. The idea of ​​easy money filled the minds of many young people who preferred “weird” businesses, but Daniel made him remove all the violence that came from the front and preferred the promising future that his mother was talking about.


He took refuge in his brothers, in rock in Spanish and in the pets that accompanied his days of uncertainty, such as the cat “Sicario” or “Fufa” the dog, names that were born in the afternoon of laughter and loud music with friends. He surrounded himself with uncles who saw in him an intelligent child, who always carried a book in his backpack.

Luz Marleny Quintero, her aunt and christening godmother, tells that Daniel's creativity had no limits and one day "he arrived with a bag full of cocuyos because he wanted to make a flashlight." That same curiosity led him to disrupt the radio of his aunt Aura Quintero's husband.

“I asked him why Javier's radio was falling apart and he told me that he was going to look at how it worked inside, but that he would leave it the same,” Aura recalls.

And so it was: he turned wires, removed transistors and changed knobs, but when night came, before Javier arrived, he left it intact. "He told me he wanted to fix computers or large radios," he says.

With the idea of ​​accelerating the future to move forward with his family, he went to validate high school at the Metropolitan Institute of Education, IME. He graduated in 1995 and presented to the University of Antioquia. It didn't happen, he showed up again but the high cost of the tuition made him withdraw, until the third was overdue. “I came back stronger, willing to fight to study and also to change my country. When I was 17 years old, I went back to the University of A and I was able to study thanks to a scholarship, ”says Daniel, an aspirant to the Medellin City Hall today.

The green ones and the ripe ones

Daniel Quintero's time at the university was not so different from that of the school. Every day I walked an hour from the Tricentennial to the university citadel. The student's day was spent with a sandwich of cheese and sausage, a glass of milk and a banana that at that time gave University Welfare to those students who supported, with papers and certificates, not having financial resources.

On the university path he met Diego Alexander Flórez González, a neighborhood friend who today serves as director of technology in the campaign for the Mayor of Daniel. They recognized and strengthened a friendship interrupted in time.

“We made a great team. We got together for everything, for partials, for jobs. We were very creative and that we brought to life, ”says Diego, adding that the sense of responsibility was always so present that he never missed a class, not even the day he arrived as if a car had passed above.

But it was. Daniel got a bicycle to transport to the U. One morning, when they had a partial at 6:00 a.m., he did not appear and Diego began to worry. Minutes passed and Daniel entered the classroom with bruises and scrapes, "like a war hero," says Diego, "with his bicycle split in two." A taxi closed it and ended up crashing into the vehicle. Daniel picked up what was left and went to the partial.

He graduated in 2005 and without the idea of ​​doing politics, but with the leadership to get in that way, he created his company Intrasoft, dedicated to providing technological services to third parties. He fulfilled his first promise made to his aunt Aura the afternoon he broke the radio.

That year, the way up and down began to straighten. While eating hot dog in the Tricentennial he met Diana Osorio, his companion of challenges, the one who walks next to him today, the woman who when he met him did not feel an iota of love for him. "I liked his friend," says Diana, but over time, and knowing him more, "with his nobility and intelligence, I liked it."

Friendship became another feeling accompanied by admiration. “When he proposed a courtship, he gave me a very simple little heart and was already a successful businessman. He told me that he had achieved many things in life, but the only thing he needed, and changed everything, was to be with me. ”

Today Diana, who studied Finance and International Relations, and has a Master's degree in Post-Conflict studied in England, walks hand-in-hand with Daniel on the streets to campaign for the City Hall. It was she who a few days ago demanded respect from the former president and senator Álvaro Uribe for her husband, and it is she who reviews every morning that nothing is missing in the plan of the applicant.

“He knows how to cross the streets, he does it with courage. That leadership, that intelligence and that discipline have served him for the campaign, ”says Diana, who along with Maia, her daughter, and her dog Chabela make up Daniel's family, which together came to the registration of the mayoral candidate by the Independent movement.

As if it were a premonition, Daniel Quintero told his brother Miguel, at the age of five, that he would be president of Colombia. The teasing did not wait, and with the passage of time in the puerile games they called him "president."

Miguel remembers that while everyone was dreaming of being Batman or Superman, he already had his way in mind. "He spent reading or learning math," and part of his childhood discussions were about injustices, his brother adds. “He always defended vulnerable people and today we see him doing the same. Nothing has changed, Daniel has evolved. ”

22 years passed and that premonition of children to reach politics began to take shape. In 2007, with the desire to work for the people, Daniel launched himself to the Medellín Council for the Conservative Party. The campaign was marked by two individuals: the first, he did it for that party because of the affinity of his relatives with the ideas of that group, the second, he had to get on the buses with ceramic maranitos painted blue and with the conservative logo To ask for money.

“He did it because he had no support from anyone,” says Diana. He had more than 2,000 votes that did not reach the seat.

With the first defeat under his arm he went to study in the US, but with “the bug” of the embedded policy, he returned to the city, convinced his brother Miguel to quit his job at a company that takes pictures and will launch to the Council for the Green Alliance, quota that obtained with 5,777 votes.

Daniel Calaron's ideas in the political class and in 2012, being a member of the Green Alliance, he became more visible: he created the Piensa Verde Foundation, with the idea of ​​planting a million trees in the country. “These were moments of rebellion, I understand rebellion as revealing against the established, from the good sense of the word,” says Diana, who was part of that environmental movement.

But the outrage over corruption, the injustices he saw on the street and disgusted with traditional politics, he joined Juan Carlos Upegui and Elí Shnaider, young people who communed with Quintero's ideas and created the Tomato Party.

The public squares and the photos of the politicians on duty were taken, among them Álvaro Uribe, the ex-prosecutor Alejandro Ordóñez and even the former president Juan Manuel Santos (for whom he later worked) ended up being beaten. His movement, like many others in this country, became extinct and it was when he decided to transfer his political vein to the Liberal Party, with which he aspired to the House of Representatives for Bogotá. He burned with 16 thousand votes and in the midst of the outrage of the militants who did not understand how a paisa, who had never done politics in Bogotá, ended up endorsed by Simón Gaviria, president of that group at the time.

Diego says that Daniel never gives up. "He is very intelligent, very calm and when he has a problem he stops, analyzes the possible exits and sets out to solve the difficulties."

That was the path he chose in 2015 after burning in the congressional elections. With another defeat under his arm, the Casa de Nariño opened the doors to return to politics: he offered to be manager of Inpulsa, an entity of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism responsible for providing advice to small entrepreneurs. There he stayed until 2016 when he was appointed deputy minister of Digital Economy of the Ministry of Information and Communications Technologies, some say, pushed by the liberal minister, David Luna.

That same year he campaigned for the Yes in Antioquia, and in 2017 he resigned to be an advisor to the presidential campaign of Humberto de la Calle. With the burning of the liberal candidate, and the professed support of that group to the now President Iván Duque for the second presidential round, Quintero resigned and decided to return to Medellin to pay the land for his campaign to the Mayor's Office.

His uncle Alejandro Calle says that Daniel has that perseverance for politics. “He is like a lion, by the sign and by the personality. I see him as a leader with great force, since I was little, when I remember that he told me what the speed of light was. ”

With that same speed Daniel has managed to dodge the attacks launched by his opponents 14 days after the elections, like the tomatoes he once launched.

What is a Bogota countryman, who does not know in which party to stay, that is left or right and that has nothing independent, are the attacks that according to the same candidate denounced, have pulled him from other campaigns.

“The democratic exercise is being marred by lies, unsubstantiated attacks, montages, false news, decontextualized photos and videos,” says Quintero.

“The great advantage of this campaign is that it is from friends, many have known him for a long time, some of us are from the same neighborhood. He is very believing, believes in God, and many of us knew what was going to happen, ”says Diego.

Daniel insists that he will not faint before the attacks and will continue with the hand of his wife Diana, his daughter Maia and his dog Chabela walking the streets, the same ones he once walked to sell desserts and which are the same that he uses today to win votes and reach Medellin City Hall.