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Leopoldo López’s Cousin: Opposition Martyr Still a Thorn in Chavismo’s Side

By: Fergus Hodgson - @FergHodgson - Mar 27, 2014, 11:09 am
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Source: Human Rights Foundation.

The president of the Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorssen, also happens to be the first cousin of Leopoldo López — the jailed opposition leader in Venezuela — and he is more than familiar with the viciousness of the Chavista regime.

Chavismo, he wrote recently in the New York Times, “operates on the basis of exclusion and political apartheid.” The HRF has denounced the military imprisonment of López and made known that he is a political “prisoner of conscience.”

This week, Halvorssen sat down with Fox News Latino for an in-depth interview, and you can watch that here.

As he notes, HRF represents people from all over the world, but his own parents were victims of political oppression in Venezuela — prior to the rise of Chavismo — so this particular episode is more personal to him.

Regarding López’s incarceration, Halvorssen notes a litany of condemnation from various human rights advocacy groups, in addition to his own, including Human Rights Watch. They cite no evidence against him and obvious political motives.

However, the Chavistas are “absolutely not” going to release him, Halvorssen says, since Nicolás Maduro and Diosdado Cabello, president of the National Assembly, are dead set on punishing him. The fact that they held his hearing on a bus — what an embarrassment — says it all.

At this point, his big concern is that the Chavista regime will establish a permanent stranglehold on power, since they’ve already eliminated term limits and taken control of the courts. Further, “there is no free press in Venezuela” to hold these people accountable, and that is according to “every major [free press] organization from across the spectrum.”

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Eva Golinger, author of The Chávez Code. Source: PRN.fm.

Perhaps most interesting, though, is Halvorssen’s response to the international loyalists for Chavismo.

“Everyone is entitled to an opinion … but you’re not entitled to your own set of facts.” And he accuses the apologists of doublespeak that muddies the water of coverage.

He then identified Eva Golinger specifically, after her own appearance on the network, as a paid agent of the Venezuelan government. Even her office, he says, is inside the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry. She also violates the Foreign Agent Registration Act, given that she does not sign up as a lobbyist, which is what her paycheck affirms.

The endgame, according to Halvorssen, is a matter of economics, given the ineptitude of those in power. They promote based on loyalty to the “revolution” rather than any matter of merit, and Venezuela already has the world’s highest inflation rate and severe shortages of basic necessities. This means that tension is only going to rise, as those in power play favoritism amid worsening conditions.

Fergus Hodgson Fergus Hodgson

Fergus Hodgson was the founding editor in chief of the PanAm Post, up until January 2016, and he now studies finance at Tulane University in Louisiana and Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala. Originally from New Zealand, he has also lived in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Ireland, and the United States. Follow @FergHodgson and his Facebook page.