Last week I attended a bit of the Oslo Freedom Forum — in New York — founded by a young libertarian friend, Thor Halvorssen.
You might not guess from his name that he is Venezuelan — related, several family tree branches back, to Simón Bolívar (a revolutionary far more in the mold of Thomas Jefferson than of Hugo Chávez, as he recounts here) . . . or that his mother was shot in a crowd of demonstrators by Chávez forces (relegated thereafter to a wheelchair) . . . or that his cousin Leopoldo would be Venezuela’s president today, rather than a prisoner, if the country were free.
But Venezuela is just one of the many foci of the Oslo Freedom Forum, which seeks to confront oppression wherever it is found — from Iran to North Korea to China to Russia, and beyond.
Chess champion and Russian dissident Garry Kasparov is its chair.Read a summary of his thoughts and of Oslo’s day in New York here, in the National Review.
Freedom is precious. Putin: one of its most effective, ruthless enemies. One speaker vowed:
“You will not see us run. You will not see us hide. You will not see us give up.” Russian democrats do not want outside help, he says. “We have to achieve democracy on our own.” But he does ask for help in this sense: “I say to you in the West, stay true to your values. Stop supporting Putin.” Stop making it easy for him. Stop welcoming him into the circle of legitimate leaders.
I wonder what the House “Freedom Caucus” members make of Trump’s great affinity for Putin / Lavrov / et al. (“What, you think our country’s so innocent?”) Should they not be the first people calling for him to be gone?