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Thor Halvorssen Champion of the Downtrodden

Thor Halvorssen, hopefully, will soon become a household name. At 39 he is dedicated to the cause of individual justice and freedom. Halvorssen came from a privileged background in Venezuela. His father a diplomat and successful businessman and his mother an activist. His family has deep connections in Venezuela that trace back to the “Liberator of Venezuela” Simon Bolivar, whose sensibilities were aligned to the founding fathers of the United States of America. Thor Halvorssen comes from good, very good, stock. Halvorssen saw the injustices first hand in Venezuela when his father was held by the Chavez Government, virtually a political prisoner, and his mother was shot while she demonstrated peacefully against the regime.

Halvorssen was a brilliant student, graduating Phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania. In 2005 he formed the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and serves as its director. One of his first targets was apartheid in South Africa, but he has protested any government that eliminates freedom and justice by their political actions.

To understand this charismatic, intelligent champion of the downtrodden an in-depth interview was conducted by The Weekly Standard and written and researched by Matt Labash. Read the complete story here: link

Halvorssen as an advocate for political justice has written and offered criticism for print and televised media. There has been an unfair branding of him as a conservative due to his fierce opposition to a socialist government that mistreated his family in Venezuela, but that appellation is incorrect. Halvorssen rails at any injustice and on a recent Fox News broadcast, he shocked the network by his fresh and learned views on socialism as a political movement in the world. Fox was dismayed by his answer, hoping to land a criticism of Bernie Sanders but instead found that Halvorssen was a supporter.

Halvorssen does not have a political agenda to advance. He is a man seeking political justice in the world. A man to be respected and listened to in matters political.

Thor Halvorssen on Human Rights in Bolivia

Thor Halvorssen created the Human Rights Foundation in 2005. One of the very first projects that the foundation worked on was human rights violations in Bolivia. The foundation was very concerned about reports of lashing, stoning, burning, hanging, beating and lynching coming out of the country. The foundation working alongside others was able to get Cuban exile Amauris Sammartino political asylum in Norway even though he had chosen to spend the last seven years living in Bolivia.

In the eight years since their initial report little has changed under the leadership of President Evo Morales. Human right supporters still have to be very careful in Bolivia about the way that they speak out. A national vote did not pass that would have allowed Evo to run for a fourth term as president, so there is hope that the May 2019 election will bring reform.

The political system within the country continues to be undermined by corruption, delays and political interference. This is especially true in the military. A National Justice Summit was held in 2016 resulting in a call for more supervision of court judges. Many human rights advocates, however, remain unconvinced that there will be any real change.

Over 69 percent of the people held in Bolivia’s prisons have not been charged with any crime. Over 4,500 people have seen a reduction in the amount of time that they are waiting before sentencing according to official documents.

The government has passed laws that they can withdraw the permit of any nongovernmental organization that they do not like. The government has said that some organizations are not acting in the best interests of the Bolivian people, but they refuse to say which ones. The government has also stated that some journalists are spreading lies.

Thor Halvorssen continues to watch the situation in Bolivia very carefully. He is an outspoken critic of human right violations wherever they occur. Thor is proud to work alongside men like Amauris Sammartino who have spoken out about conditions in his native Cuba and in Bolivia.






Thor Halvorssen on Human Rights Foundation’s Presentation to Congress

As the leader of the Human Rights Foundation, Thor Halvorssen has assembled a well-respected team of experts. On February 16, 2017, team member Garry Kasparov had the opportunity to testify before a subcommittee of Congress about the need for leadership from the United States to protect and promote democracy and human rights around the world. Garry discussed the worrying rise of authoritarianism globally.

Thor understands the need to protect human rights from personal experience. His father was imprisoned by the Venezuelan government for uncovering government corruption there. His mother was shot at a protest over her husband being held in prison.

Garry Kasparov was joined at the subcommittee hearing by Danilo “El Sexto” Maldonado Machado. El Sexto is a graffiti artist who was imprisoned several times under the regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba. He was just released on January 21, 2017, from being held without charges for two months in a maximum-security prison in Havana.

During his remarks, El Sexto called for the United States government to call for free elections in Cuba before building any strong ties with the government there. He says that over 85 percent of all people held in prison in Cuba would be found innocent if they were given a fair trial. He also calls on the United States government to encourage Cuba to change its policy on artist creation. In Cuba, artists may be arrested for creating works of art not supporting the government.

The two men were joined during the subcommittee hearing by Saudi Arabian women’s health researcher Dr. Halah Eldoseri who is a visiting scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute. She is responsible for promoting women’s rights around the globe.

The subcommittee meeting was presided over by Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio. Additionally, representatives from the National Endowment for Democracy, International Republican Institute, and National Democratic Institute were present during the meeting for more.