WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 29, 2004) –Venable LLP Senior Advisor and former Congressman Robert Garcia is traveling to Panama to monitor the May 2nd national elections on behalf of the Organization of American States. Mr. Garcia will be part of a team of international observers from various countries all serving under the auspices of the OAS.
This is Mr. Garcia’s 5th invitation to serve as an election observer for the OAS. He has observed other elections in Panama and Peru. Election observers are not informed of their local assignments until they arrive in the country. On earlier trips to Panama, Mr. Garcia, who is fluent in Spanish, was stationed in poor rural and mountainous areas of the country.
"I am looking forward to being able to help the OAS and Panama," said Mr. Garcia. "It is gratifying to come to the polls at 7 in the morning and see a long line of people participating in democracy."
The OAS began observing elections in the Americas in 1962. OAS electoral observation missions are present during the days or weeks leading up to an election, where observers meet with leaders of the political parties, candidates, government officials and citizens. They observe the voting and follow the ballot count to the final outcome. OAS electoral observation missions usually remain until the new elected officials are sworn in. Since 1990, OAS has observed over 70 elections.
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