Former Costa Rican President and FIU professor Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera is in Guatemala this week to lead an independent team charged with observing the nation’s elections.
Solís, who served as president of Costa Rica from 2014 to 2018, was chosen by the Organization of American States (OAS) to head its independent electoral mission to Guatemala, which will hold general elections for president and Congress on Sunday.
The electoral mission is made up of 84 observers from 23 nations.
The group of specialists will conduct an analysis of key themes: electoral organization; electoral technology; financing of campaigns; electoral justice; women participating in politics; participation of indigenous and Afro-descended communities; foreign voting and the political party system.
OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro announced the appointment on social media, saying it was a “priority of the OAS” to support the “strengthening of democracy” in its member states.
“This important mission will take place amidst a context of political instability in one of the key actors of the Central American community,’’ said Solís, who began his tenure as professor at FIU’s Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC) in August 2018. “It demonstrates the continued international recognition of Costa Rica in the promotion and defense of democracy. It is my privilege to uphold, defend and reflect the democratic principles and values which we all hold dear.”
Electoral missions of the OAS provide local support and impartial observation of the electoral process to help ensure free and transparent elections and strengthen democracy in the region.
“I cannot think of a better person to navigate through the challenges presented by this year’s election in Guatemala than President Solis,’’ said Frank Mora, director of LACC and a former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Western Hemisphere. “His leadership and commitment to democracy and the rule of law in the hemisphere will provide the OAS delegation with the credibility needed to have its judgments respected by all parties.”