Wednesday, April 1, 2009

"Take off the 'Cold War’ glasses concerning Latin America"

Below is an article written by Ollie Jefferson, one of 19 members of the National Lawyers Guild that participated as a delegate in SHARE's Election Observation Mission. The article, published in the Star Telegram, talks about her experience observing the Presidential Elections in March.

Joined by other members of the National Lawyers Guild, I was part of a delegation of international election observers who went to El Salvador to witness its March 15 presidential elections.

The delegation was sponsored by the SHARE Foundation, which has programs in El Salvador designed to meet basic human needs and build long-term solutions to poverty and social injustice.

Our participation, independent of the U.S. government, was an effort to see whether the elections were fair. While I have had hundreds of Salvadorans as clients and empathize with what they have suffered, my participation as a certified presidential electoral observer required objectivity.

At 5 a.m. election day, our group and the poll workers arrived to set up for what was a long-awaited event: the presidential elections in this Central American country. Their procedures are numerous and highly bureaucratic, developed over time to prevent fraud.

The first voter at my table was no more than 5 feet tall, minute, rather stooped over — an old woman coming to have her say...

To read the rest of Ollie Jefferson's article, click here.

- Leslie O'Bray, SHARE Grassroots Education and Advocacy Intern

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