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Carter Center Announces Assessment Mission To Venezuela

CONTACT: Dr. Jennifer McCoy
678-612-8788; or
Deanna Congileo

ATLANTA, GA….In response to a request last week from the Venezuela government to former U. S. President Jimmy Carter to facilitate a national dialogue, The Carter Center will send a small assessment team to Caracas June 24-29, 2002, to form a recommendation to President Carter on whether to accept this invitation. The team plans to meet with government leaders, political parties, labor and business leaders, nongovernmental organizations, media representatives, and the church leaders. The team includes: Dr. Leonel Fernandez, former president of the Dominican Republic; Dr. Jennifer McCoy, director of the Carter Center Americas Program; Dr. Benjamin Hoffman, director of the Carter Center's Conflict Resolution Program; Dr. Francisco Diez, an international mediation expert; and Laura Neuman, J.D., senior program associate of the Carter Center Americas Program. Dr. Fernandez is a member of the Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas, a group of former heads of state working to promote peace and democracy in the hemisphere and headquartered at The Carter Center.

The team will assess the interest of all of the major actors in having The Carter Center help facilitate a national dialogue, a process in which social and political groups work to achieve consensus on issues dividing a country. The Carter Center delegation also will evaluate the agenda and design of the current Venezuela dialogue process and suggest ways to make it more effective. After the visit, the team will recommend to President Carter whether he might play a role at this time. "Venezuelans alone must decide the future of their country, but in polarized situations, neutral outside actors can often help to facilitate a climate in which opposing sides can come together to search for mutually agreeable solutions," said Dr. McCoy. "Dialogue can help overcome political tension and distrust when all of the major actors participate and desire to find peaceful outcomes to political conflicts."


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