Thor Halvorssen, the half-Norweigan, half-Venezuelan human rights leader comes from good stock. Civil rights runs in his blood. His family has a who’s who list of people who have fought for the rights of others. His paternal grandfather was the counsel to the President of Venezuela during WWII, his mother, who was shot at a protest, is a direct descendant of Venezuela’s first president, Cristobal Mendoza.
One thing Thor Halvorssen has in common with his ancestors is that they all believe in the tenets of human rights and individual liberty for all citizens. His father was sent to prison and tortured for standing up against governmental corruption in Venezuela. He has a cousin who is serving time in a Venezuelan jail for challenging the Chavista regime.
Thor fully understands the price that can be – and often is – paid for standing up for what you believe. Despite the perils of his family situation, Thor doesn’t sit on his laurels feeling sorry for himself. He does what his family expects: continue to fight.
“I love people!” Thor proclaimed. “Defending them against tyranny is what I was brought here to do.”
And he has suffered physically for his stance. While traveling in Vietnam, he was badly beaten by authorities in Ho Chi Min after visiting a holy man under house arrest. The patriarch of Vietnam’s Buddhist church has been under house arrest for 28 years. Sneaking into the monastery to get an interview was a bad idea that Thor concedes now. He was briefly detained and released after some fast talking.
To support his cause, Thor Halvorssen takes money where he can get it. Sometimes it comes from sources that are not exactly liberal-leaning. He was mistakenly labeled a conservative after receiving money from the right-wing Bradley Foundation. “I’m not a conservative by any stretch,” says Thor.
According to The Huffington Post, Thor has no intentions of laying low anytime soon. He is on a mission to expose corruption, shine a light on abuse perpetrated against children, authoritarianism, political misdeeds and any other wrongdoings he can find.
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