Canada helps Guatemala strengthen democracy
Guatemala - The Honourable Susan Whelan, Minister for International Cooperation, and the Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced a Canadian contribution of $287,600 to help support a peaceful, fair and transparent election process in Guatemala. Voting will take place on November 9, 2003.
"By supporting Guatemala's efforts in this area, Canada is demonstrating its commitment to promoting democracy and good governance," said Minister Whelan. "Peaceful and fair elections not only help to create a climate conducive to economic growth but can also promote national confidence in democratic institutions."
"Canada is concerned about incidents of violence and electoral intimidation during Guatemala's general election period," said Minister Graham. "The best practices of hemispheric democracy and transparency should prevail. The Canadian contribution to the Organization of American States Electoral Observation Mission will reinforce dialogue, citizen participation and a transparent electoral process."
Funding to the Organization of American States (OAS) in the amount of $102,000 will be provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to help organize a "Forum on Citizen Participation and the Secrecy of the Vote" and for general support to the Electoral Observation Mission.
Through CIDA, Canada is also contributing to the following local initiatives:
- $126,600 to the Tribunal Supremo Electoral, through the OAS, to purchase voting supplies and for training of election monitors;
- $39,000 to Mirador, a coalition of four Guatemalan non-governmental organizations, through the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences, for pre-election and election day activities such as voter registration verification, diffusion of information on the voting process, and quick voter counts;
- $20,000 to K'atin Nuestras Palabras, a Guatemalan non-governmental organization, to produce 12 one-hour TV programs to be televised on local television about the election process.
Funding for these initiatives was provided for in the February 2003 budget and is therefore built into the existing fiscal framework.