•Press Release Latin America and the Caribbean World
Washington, DC — Researchers and analysts from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) are in Colombia to observe the historic elections this Sunday, May 29. They will observe election preparation, voting on election day, and vote counting and tabulation after polls close. The CEPR delegates will be among hundreds of international observers present to monitor the first elections in Colombia’s modern history in which a left-wing candidate has a substantial lead in the polls, on a ticket that may also be the first to bring an Afro-Colombian woman to the vice presidency.
Many Colombia observers are concerned about the possibility of election-related violence, as well as the possibility of political actors refusing to accept the election results should the left-wing candidates Gustavo Petro and Francia Márquez win. Both Petro and Márquez have reported receiving numerous death threats and the top commander of the Colombian army has gone against constitutional restrictions by publicly attacking Petro. Twenty-four members of the US Congress have written to Secretary of State Blinken to “ask that the United States reaffirm its policy of respecting the outcome of free and fair elections while defending the safety and security of its participants.”
CEPR has monitored many elections going back almost 20 years, including in Bolivia, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, and Venezuela. CEPR’s analysis was instrumental in debunking baseless claims, promoted by the Organization of American States (OAS) and others, that fraud had changed the results of Bolivia’s 2019 elections; the election fraud narrative nevertheless was used as the pretext for the coup d’etat that ousted President Evo Morales two months before his term was set to end. CEPR was the first to show that the OAS had no basis for its claim of an “inexplicable” change in the trend of the vote count. CEPR’s research was later replicated by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and statistical analysis by scholars at the universities of Pennsylvania and Tulane, and the University of Michigan, and reporting by The New York Times, also came to similar conclusions in their independent analyses.
CEPR also showed that the OAS had no basis for overturning the results of the first round of Haiti’s 2010 presidential elections. And CEPR was among the first to note the statistically impossible shift in voting results in Honduras’s 2017 elections, which the OAS also called into question; these were widely seen as elections stolen by then president Juan Orlando Hernández who has since been extradited to the US to stand trial on drug trafficking and weapons charges.
An electoral observation mission from the OAS will be monitoring Colombia’s presidential elections, as well as missions from the European Union and the Carter Center.
The CEPR election observers will be available for interviews after polls close on election day, May 29. For interviews, please contact International Communications Director Dan Beeton at +1-202-239-1460, [email protected].