The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today inaugurated the photo exhibition "Snapshot of Democracy - 50 Years Observing Elections in the Americas," together with the Permanent Representative of Costa Rica to the OAS, Ambassador Edgar Ugalde Álvarez, in the Museum of the Americas in Washington, DC.
The Secretary General in his address praised the "visionary attitude of the OAS in 1962 to carry out an electoral observation mission" in Costa Rica. "Next weekend, with the municipal elections in Nicaragua, we will mark 200 Electoral Observation Missions (EOMs) - 80 of them carried out in the last seven years, in which we have gained tremendous experience and knowledge," he continued. "I hope we continue working on this, and I hope that we expand and enlarge our missions in the future," said the Secretary General.
The representative of Costa Rica, the country that hosted the first Election Observation Mission of the OAS, explained the circumstances surrounding the 1962 presidential election in his country, which featured as candidates Dr. Rafael Angel Calderon Guardia, journalist Otilio Ulate Blanco, and Francisco José Orlich Bolmarcich, the eventual winner. "The campaign was aggressive," recalled Ambassador Ugalde Álvarez, "but the day of the election there was a great calm: the reason for that calm was the presence of the Electoral Observation Mission of the OAS."
After the opening remarks, Secretary General Insulza presented the awards to the winners of the photo contest organized to mark the anniversary, whose photos feature in the exhibition.
Present at the ceremony, among others, were the Chair of the OAS Permanent Council and Permanent Representative of Mexico to the organization, Joel Hernandez and several other representatives of Member States; the Secretary for External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez; the Secretary of Political Affairs of the OAS, Kevin Casas-Zamora, and the Acting Director of the Department for Electoral Cooperation and Observation (DECO), Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian.
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.