Mercedes De Freitas
Fellow Since 2000
This profile was prepared when Mercedes De Freitas was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2000.
The New Idea
Mercedes created a non-partisan movement for citizen participation in government to popularize Venezuelan democracy. She is helping citizens understand their role in governance and, taking advantage of a historic moment when Venezuela's new Constitution aims to promote citizen participation, Mercedes is trying to ensure just that - that Venezuela's citizens play a key role in the design and implementation of the most significant electoral and municipal governance laws and mechanisms, currently in the process of formation. By researching the state of elections and funding for political parties, publicizing legal issues through the press, and arranging alliances between citizens and officials, Mercedes deters reliance on partisan politics and makes people central to legal reform. Rather than support one political party, she is working to strengthen political parties in general to further reinforce the democratic system. She is leading the general population toward a more transparent and effective democracy in Venezuela.