GENEVA, February 23, 2016 — Antonietta Ledezma, the daughter of imprisoned Caracas mayor and co-recipient of the Geneva Summit Courage Award 2016 Antonio Ledezma, today addressed a room of human rights victims, dissidents and activists as well as hundreds of members of the public, at our 8th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

Below are some of the highlights of her speech:

On her father:

“A loving father, a loving friend, who is today illegally arrested in Venezuela.”

On her experience living through her father’s ordeal:

“I want to share with you how my life changed forever. 120 armed policemen smashed into my father’s office without a warrant […] was this an arrest? Was this a kidnapping? We didn’t know what was happening […] for the longest 7 hours of my life, I didn’t know if my father was being tortured, if my father was even alive […] this has been a terrible year for myself and for my family.”

On her decision not to give up in the face of adversity:

“We were followed, we were threatened – but that wasn’t reason enough for us to shut down […] I decided to choose courage over fear. I am the voice of the 77 political prisoners in Venezuela. I am the voice of the people who have to line up to feed themselves. Chavez and Maduro left a legacy of hatred in my country. They destroyed my country.”

Antonietta Ledezma also addressed diplomats, journalists and human rights defenders at Monday’s opening session of the Geneva Summit, held at the UN:

Information and multimedia on the 2016 Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy



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Photos (high resolution)

Facebook Photos (quick uploads)

Blog Post Summaries of the Speeches

Webcast: Live on Feb. 23rd from 9:15 am to 5:30 pm CET at

Videos (to be posted after the panels)

Media Coverage of the Geneva Summit