Maria Corina Machado, Opposition Leader, Venezuela
The International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) honored 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 publicly demonstrate against President Nicolas Maduro. She is banned from leaving Venezuela and sent a video message featured at the 2014 Democracy Awards dinner discussing the importance of citizen confidence in voting and democratic processes.
“In a moment of deep economic, social, and political crisis, I’m with no recourse to channel discontent through institutional means,” says Machado in the video message. “Venezuelans once again have asserted their trust in people power. Venezuelans have taken to the streets in peaceful protests and organized in order to bring change by constitutional means, because Venezuelans have not lost trust and confidence in democracy. Thank you again for this honor and recognition to the people's power of all Venezuelans”