AKA Peter Miguel Camejo
Birthplace: Queens, NY
Location of death: Folsom, CA
Cause of death: Cancer - Lymphoma
Race or Ethnicity: Hispanic
Sexual orientation: Straight
Party Affiliation: Green
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Persistent Green Party candidate
Peter Miguel Camejo was born in 1939 to a wealthy Venezuelan couple. Because his mother felt more comfortable with the American standard of health care, she arranged to give birth at a New York hospital in the Bronx. Consequently, Peter was born with dual citizenship. He spent his early childhood in Venezuela, until his parents divorced when he was 7 and his mother took him to live on Long Island.
Peter earned a perfect score on the math portion of his SAT, then attended MIT for awhile but dropped out to pursue civil rights work in the American south. He marched in Selma, Alabama. Later resumed his studies at UC Berkeley, but was expelled for his vocal criticism of the Vietnam War. His official transgression was "unauthorized use of a microphone" after he used a public address system on campus as part of a Free Speech Movement demonstration. Then-governor Ronald Reagan included college student Camejo on his 1968 list of the 10 most dangerous Californians. "He had me expelled from Berkeley," Camejo said years later. "[Reagan] put one sentence down for each of the ten. For me he said, 'Present at all anti-war demonstrations.'"
Camejo ran for President of the United States in 1976 as the Socialist Workers Party candidate, and he got on the ballot in 18 states. The Progressive noted that he didn't just sit back and wait for election day: "Peter Camejo traveled 150,000 miles, crisscrossing the country twenty times, in his quest for the Presidency." But after spending all that traveling and $151,000 on campaign bills, Camejo received only 90,310 votes.
Four years later, Camejo was thrown out of the Socialist Workers Party after he criticized the party leadership for corruption. It would be another decade before the establishment of the California Green Party in 1991, and Camejo was one of its founding members. Nevertheless he always considered himself a Socialist at heart, calling himself a watermelon -- "Green on the outside, red on the inside." The watermelon went on to run for governor in 2002 as the Green Party's candidate, and again in 2003 during the recall election. He received 5% of the vote in 2002 and 3.1% in 2003.
Camejo ran for Vice President in 2004 as the bottom half of Ralph Nader's increasingly unpopular quadrennial campaign. At the press conference announcing his selection, Camejo had effusive praise for his running mate: "Ralph Nader is an historic figure in American history. And I don't think people understand who he is, yet. It may take ten, twenty years -- it may be way after he dies -- that it'll be understood."
Camejo was diagnosed with early-stage lymphoma in January of 2007. After a period of remission, he died from the disease in September 2008.
Father: Daniel Camejo Octavio
Brother: (younger, Republican)
Wife: Morella Camejo
Son: Victor Baquero (stepson)
Daughter: Alexandra Baquero (stepdaughter)
University: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1958-60)
University: University of California at Berkeley (1965-67, expelled)
California Recall Election Green Party candidate, received 3.1% of the vote
Merrill Lynch Stockbroker (1985-86)
Nader for President 2004
Socialist Workers Party
Expelled from School
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