There might be at least one hearty pirate in Thor Halvorssen’s ancestry, but there is definitely a king and the very first of Venezuela’s Presidents: Cristóbal Mendoza. He has a great legacy from both sides, his father’s and his mother’s family lines. He is also related to a most famous general and politician: Simón Bolívar. His father formerly advised Venezuela’s king during World War II. His Norwegian background and connections in the “old country” gave him a way to help Norway protect their whole merchant fleet during the battles of the 1940s. His success was complete.
Just as his great-great-ancestor Bolívar won Venezuela’s independence from Spanish rule, so Thor Halvorssen has worked to bring a true democratic government to his home country. He has been an outstanding activist for basic human rights, not only in Venezuela and throughout the world. His whole family has done their part, and often suffered for it. His father was illegally abducted and held without formal legal process by the government. While they had him they tortured him, because of his call for human rights in Venezuela. His mother was later shot and nearly killed, along with 11 other people injured, and one person murdered by an illegal government goon hit squad. She was attending a peaceful, legal, and very public meeting.
While presenting at a human rights conference in Seoul, the biggest city in South Korea, Halvorssen was busily firing out texts and emails, even though many of the recipients were in the West, in countries where it was the middle of the night. His dedication to human rights is contagious. He started the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) from Caracas, in the South American country of Venezuela.
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