Three cheers for embattled Venezuelan student leader Yon Goicoechea, who has been awarded the the Cato Institute’s Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.
Since early 2007, Goicoechea and his classmates have publicly opposed the violations of human rights by the Venezuelan government. Prompted by the shutdown of public broadcasting station Radio Caracas Television, they organized a prolonged student protest in support of safeguarding individual rights and preventing the expansion of unchecked government power. Goicoechea says he will use the $500,000 cash prize to start a foundation to advance student activism for democracy.
Thor Halvorssen, president of the Human Rights Foundation (which has reported on the students’ case and similar ones throughout Latin America), calls Goicoechea “a symbol of hope and courage.”