When we think of activists we usually conjure a picture of people throwing fake blood at someone wearing a fur coat. Most people don’t jump to the life threatening activism of people fighting against corrupt governments and risking torture or death. This kind of work requires someone with a deep history of activism and a guiding force. Thor Havlorssen is one of these unique people that has chosen to dedicate his life to fighting this kind of horrible corruption. His parents also had the same dedication to fight against this government corruption. His father was captured, tortured, and held in a Caracas jail due to his investigation in the Medellin cartel. His mother was also shot and wounded while protesting at a Venezuelan recall rally. These actions of his parents have brought him to the same career choice of carrying on the family tradition.
Thor Havlorssen started his activist group called the Human Rights Foundation in New York. Since its creation in 2005, the group has led the charge against many unjust happenings in the world. Just two are the incarcerations of a band in Russia for speaking out against Putin and visiting the government shutdown Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam. These risky maneuvers to uncover the story behind what was going on ended up badly after being assaulted by police, but he was able to get the story on both. His kind of dangerous and direct reporting coupled with real action to help is what shows Havlorssen commitment to his work.
Probably one of his best works is with the surviving defectors of North Korea. He has been able to travel and meet some of the people that have escaped the terrible concentration camp that North Korea basically has become. During these interviews, he has been able to relay the horrors that happen behind the closed borders of the country. By doing this he has been able to help expose the genocide that the world has let continue within the country. These pieces, along with his other great work, have helped to reveal what is happening in our world.
Venezuela’s politic has been quite heated up for some time now. Last year, the opposition won parliamentary elections and this brought hope to the economy and political situation of the country. However, the victory didn’t last long.
Following the election, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his unpopular government set to strip the National Assembly of its powers. According to the news published in The Washington Post (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/venezuela-is-in-desperate-need-of-a-political-intervention/2016/04/12/d7071d98-00c9-11e6-9203-7b8670959b88_story.html), the Supreme Court has rejected every notion that the opposition majority have passed. This court is fully packed with allies of Maduro.
Monday 11th this week saw the rejection of the amnesty bill passed by the National Assembly. This bill if passed would have resulted in the release of 76 opposition activists including Leopoldo Lopez the opposition leader. This release according to analyst Danilo Diaz Granados would have helped in stabilizing the tense political environment of Venezuela through reconciliation.
The country’s citizens are already suffering from lack of food and medicine. Moreover, the government has blocked the parliament’s efforts which include measures that would help revive the economy of the country. Recently there has been severe shortage of water and electricity and the only way the government sought to rectify the situation was by decreeing lesser workweek of 4 days. On top of the sufferings of the citizens, the country’s inflation is soaring higher and it is very close to a foreign debt default.