Venezuelan Opposition Leader to Receive 2014 IFES Democracy Award
Maria Corina Machado Recognized by IFES for Commitment to Freedom and Democracy
WASHINGTON — (June 11, 2014) — The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) will honor Venezuelan opposition leader and Congresswoman Maria Corina Machado with its 2014 Charles T. Manatt Democracy Award. Machado has been the target of numerous unproven accusations by the Venezuelan government and death threats since calling on citizens to publically demonstrate against President Nicolas Maduro.
Upon traveling to Washington, D.C. in March to denounce Maduro's administration at the Organization of American States, Venezuela's National Assembly barred Machado from serving as a legislator and accused her of treason.
"IFES' recognition of Machado's relentless efforts to defend freedom and democracy against all odds in her native Venezuela resonates throughout Latin America as others look at her example of courage and determination to safeguard the principles of political rights and civil liberties," said IFES Board Director and former Colombian President Andrés Pastrana.
"I am honored to receive the IFES Democracy Award,” said Congresswoman Machado. “I accept this recognition on behalf of the democratic people of Venezuela, who struggle every day to restore democracy in our country.”
Machado will receive the award on October 1, 2014, at a special dinner in Washington, DC. IFES’ annual Manatt Democracy Award recognizes men and women who demonstrate a commitment to advancing freedom and democratic values.
"This award symbolizes IFES' support to building sustainable and inclusive democracy," said IFES Board of Directors Chairman Peter G. Kelly. Echoing Chairman Kelly, Vice Chairman William J. Hybl added, "Machado's unwavering commitment to giving people a voice in the way they are governed speaks to IFES' core mission of advancing democratic rights and empowering those who have been marginalized from the political process."
Machado represents the state of Miranda in the National Assembly of Venezuela and ran as an independent presidential candidate in the opposition primaries held in February 2012. She is also a co-founder and former Chairwoman of SUMATE, Venezuela’s leading watchdog for electoral transparency.
The Charles T. Manatt Democracy Awards are presented each year to a Democrat, a Republican and a member of the international community who demonstrate the dedication to democracy and human rights embodied by the award’s namesake, former IFES Board of Directors Chairman Charles T. Manatt. Past recipients include former President of the Federal Electoral Institute of Mexico Dr. Leonardo Valdés Zurita, gender advocate Maimuna Mwidau of Kenya, Judge Johann Kriegler of South Africa, former United States Agency for International Development Administrator M. Peter McPherson, and Lebanese Minister of Interior and Municipalities Ziad Baroud.
For more information about the awards, please visit www.IFES.org/DemocracyAwards.
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As the global leader in democracy promotion, IFES advances good governance and democratic rights by providing technical assistance to election officials; empowering the underrepresented to participate in the political process; and applying field-based research to improve the electoral cycle. Since 1987, IFES has worked in over 135 countries, from developing democracies, to mature democracies. For more information, visit www.IFES.org.
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