Atlanta…At the invitation of Venezuela’s National Election Council, The Carter Center will send a small delegation to accompany the Venezuelan people during the April 14 presidential election.

The delegation includes former Panamanian President Martín Torrijos; former Colombian Governor Horacio Serpa; former Costa Rican Ombudsman Rodrigo Alberto Carazo; Carter Center Americas Program Director Jennifer McCoy; Carter Center representative in Venezuela Héctor Vanolli, and Carter Center Associate Director of the Americas Program Marcelo Varela.

“Our delegation reflects the high international interest in the election,” former President Torrijos said. “We hope that the electoral campaign currently underway will achieve a respectful tone to help create a propitious atmosphere not only for the elections but for political coexistence and understanding in the country.”

While respecting the norms of non-intervention in internal affairs of other countries, The Carter Center hopes the political parties will preserve an appropriate climate to hold constructive dialogue after the election.

The Center has followed the political and electoral process in Venezuela since the opposition primaries in February 2012, and sent a study mission of long-term international experts prior to the Oct. 12, 2012, presidential election. The mission produced a report analyzing Venezuelan perceptions of the process that reflects the growing confidence in the automated voting system and the National Election Council, as well as concerns about the inequities in the campaign and access to the media. In response to these concerns, the Center organized a seminar with international experts in November 2012 to give inputs to the Venezuelan debate. The seminar provided comparative analysis of efforts of various countries in the hemisphere to guarantee equity in electoral campaigns.

The Carter Center will present a report of its findings after the elections.