ATLANTA – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that he's feeling fine after doctors advised him to cut short a weekend election observation visit to Guyana because of a bad cold.
Carter gave a nearly 20-minute speech at a two-day summit focused on ending sexual exploitation before taking questions from reporters at the Carter Center in Atlanta.
The 90-year-old ex-president said he came down with the cold while traveling to Guyana, on South America's northern rim, to mark the center's 100th election observation visit and his 39th trip. Carter said he was supposed to have traveled extensively during Monday's election in that country and joked that doctors were afraid "I would spread my virus to all the people in Guyana."
"I was supposed to go to 22 different polling sites, so in consultation between the doctors there who wanted to protect the old people and doctors in Atlanta who wanted to protect me, they decided that I should come back home against my will," he said.
Official results of the Guyana election were not expected until Wednesday.
Carter walked into a chapel on the center's grounds before the session began and shook hands with five other panelists who presented recommendations about how to progress toward ending sex exploitation by 2025. He posed for photos with others when the session concluded.
In his remarks, Carter challenged election officials globally and at all government levels to participate in that work. The cause isn't a new one for the former president. Carter's 2014 book "A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power," and he has called violence against women and girls a human rights issue.
"These things prey on my heart and not much is being done about it because most world leaders, at the local, state, national and international level, are men," Carter said. "It's accepted in this country, condoned and enjoyed."