In anticipation of the electoral observer delegations arriving in the coming weeks, Sister Cities together with four other Solidarity organizations held a press conference today to announce the arrival and mission of the observers, as well as to reiterate the neutrality of the United States in El Salvador´s presidential elections, coming up on February 2nd. The press conference was attended by representatives of seven different radio stations, television stations, and newspapers, including El Diario Co Latino and Mayavision. Through this and other media coverage, we hope to generate confidence in the Salvadoran people that they will be able to vote according to their own opinions, without the pressure of US intervention or fraudulent practices at voting sites.
The text of the press release, translated to English, is below:
We represent five international solidarity organizations: SHARE Foundation, The Center for Exchange and Solidarity (CIS), Solidarity Committee with the Salvadoran People (CISPES), Sister Cities, and Cristosal. We come together today to inform you about the missions of the international electoral observers who will be monitoring the Salvadoran presidential elections on February 2nd, 2014, and working to ensure the transparency of said elections. Between these five organizations we will bring more than 295 observers to the country, including representatives from National Lawyers Guild, CARECEN, Veterans for Peace, SOA Watch, England Environmental Network for Central America, and various churches, universities, and other institutions. The groups will be distributed in the departments of San Salvador, La Libertad, Cuscatlán, Santa Ana, La Paz, Usulután, Cabañas, Chalatenango, and San Vicente in more than 30 municipalities. They will be installed in dozens of voting centers, both rural and urban, including the Center for Exterior Voting, to guarantee the success of the electoral process.
As organizations, we have observed elections in El Salvador for more than 20 years, and we recognize that these presidential elections are historic for the country. The Residential Vote has facilitated greater access to voting centers for each Salvadoran, opening more than 1,593 voting centers, and the Exterior Vote has created new suffrage opportunities beyond the borders of the country. These changes have generated greater need for observation and electoral vigilance, and we are committed to respond to these needs with all our ability, and with neutrality and responsibility that we have always practiced during these two decades of experience.
We are very satisfied to inform you that some of our organizations have already started their observational work, and with the presence of observers during the process of preparation and the sending of electoral packets for the Exterior Vote. In these preliminary operations, we have perceived an electoral process that is transparent and democratic, and it is our hope that the electoral apparatus continues to fulfill its role for the citizens of El Salvador.
At the close of the count on February 2nd, each organization will elaborate various reports detailing any observation, recommendation, or denunciation that comes up, and we will present these reports to the public. As international electoral observers, we will be working with great care and rigor to ensure a transparent and functional process. As we have done in years past, we will accompany the democratic process of El Salvador with the hope to continue moving forward for the good of all Salvadorans.