Media Center



  November 18, 2003

The Organization of American States (OAS) and The Carter Center will observe the two scheduled collections of recall signatures in Venezuela, from November 21-24 and November 28-December 1.

“As international observers, we support the democratic process, and it is ultimately the will of the citizens of Venezuela that will decide the direction of their country,” said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. “They have voiced a clear commitment to a peaceful resolution, and we urge both the government and opposition to maintain calm and patience during this time.”

OAS Secretary General César Gaviria, who will arrive in Caracas on Saturday, November 22, reiterated that “this effort to collect signatures is an essential part of the agreement reached by representatives of the government and opposition last May to help resolve the political crisis in a peaceful, democratic, electoral and constitutional manner.”

Invited by the National Electoral Council (CNE) to serve as observers, the OAS and The Carter Center will deploy more than 40 experts in and around Caracas and several other cities. Fernando Jaramillo of the OAS, and Jennifer McCoy of The Carter Center will head the mission. In the coming days they will meet with political party leaders and CNE officials.

Since September 2002, the OAS and The Carter Center, at the invitation of the government and the opposition Democratic Coordinating committee, have worked to help resolve Venezuela's political crisis. Under the facilitation of Secretary General Gaviria and with the support of The Carter Center and the United Nations Development Programme, an agreement between the government and opposition was reached in May 2003 to assure respect for human rights, freedom of expression, and the right to petition for recall referenda of elected officials. The National Electoral Council invited the two organizations to observe the signature collection process in the context of the May agreement.


Javier Montes

Kay Torrance The Carter Center, 404-420-5129

Reference: OAS-CARTER