IFES Congratulates 2014 Charles T. Manatt Honorees
Congressman Steny Hoyer: “I was proud to work for passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 and later to sponsor the Help America Vote Act in 2002. Both of these laws have helped countless Americans cast ballots in free and fair elections without having to worry about lack of accessibility or voting system irregularities in their polling places. Sadly, though, there are still communities in this country where this work is unfinished, and I am committed to completing this mission. Even as our nation champions democracy and free, fair, and open elections abroad, we must do more here at home to ensure that all who are eligible to vote are able to exercise that right. A bipartisan bill to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down last year is languishing in Congress – and I will keep fighting to bring it to the Floor.”
Senator Jerry Moran: “Freedom is a basic human right and history has shown us that the expansion of freedom is our best hope for peace in the future. All citizens should have the right to live freely and participate in the decision making process of their society. But those freedoms do not come about simply because an election is held. The important work of building a sustainable democracy extends far beyond Election Day.”
Henrique Sosa Machado: “It is a great honor for me to receive this prize on behalf of my mother, Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado, who was not permitted to stand in front of you today. Both as a her son and as a Venezuelan, I want to express my gratitude for this recognition, which is a testament not only to my mother’s resolute commitment to obtaining freedom and democracy in our country, but also that of the Venezuelan people at large.”
Andrés Pastrana: “Maria Corina is a unique recipient of this award. She embodies on the one hand the most noble struggle for freedom, for democracy, for good governance, and on the other she forces us to reflect on all that still needs to be done to ensure that democratic gains are not eroded by the whim of individuals who believe there are no limits to their misdeeds. When courageous people like Maria Corina Machado risk it all, we have to be ready to listen, to accompany them, to make their struggle our struggle. If we fail to do this we might as well close our shop. The defense of democracy cannot be part time or partial. We have to be consistent, we have to be constant, we have to be true to our beliefs. This does not mean victory is assured, but it does mean that we have lived up to our principles."