Links: Click here for hi-res photos | Facebook photo album | Full webcast

Antonietta Ledezma, the daughter of former Mayor of Caracas and political prisoner, Antonio Ledezma addresses the 9th Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy.

9th Annual Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy, Main Event, Tuesday February 21, 2017

Antonietta Ledezma, daughter of imprisoned mayor Antonio Ledezma
Feb. 21, 2017

On the arrest of her father Antonio Ledezma, Mayor of Caracas:
  • “For the longest hours of my life, I didn’t know whether my father was being tortured, whether my father was alive and what was his situation…”
On being the daughter of a political dissident in Venezuela:
  • “The government has turned my house into a prison. We have 30 policemen constantly watching us and constantly recording every conversation. Twice a day, they photograph my father to make sure he has not escaped. We live in fear, never knowing when they will take him back to jail. Until today, he hasn’t had a sentence or a chance to defend himself. Because in my country there is no law, no separation of powers…”
  • “Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of the people. I grew up listening to this from my father. But I never understood the real meaning until I watched him sacrifice his own freedom for his people.”
On living under an authoritarian regime:
  • “I represent the youth of my country, I am 25 years old and I don’t know what freedom is… I had to leave my country because my life was in danger… I want to live in a country where I can have and build a family and I am not going to be treated differently because my father is a dissident…”

At UN Opening Event, Feb. 20, 2017:

  • “For Venezuelans it is very important to have this space [the Geneva Summit] to speak up because in our country we feel completely silenced, completely isolated. And for us to know that the world can listen to us is very very important.”
  • “Today in Venezuela . . . we are suffering the cruelest dictatorship we have ever suffered in my country’s history.”
  • “I want to talk also about more than 100 women and men who are innocent and today are being held behind bars just for speaking up to this regime.”
  • “Maduro is a man that has violated all democratic and human rights principles to maintain himself in power. . .”
  • “I feel the great responsibility when I am here at the United Nations to speak about this because . . . this is what my father has taught me about freedom, about democracy and about human dignity, something that, as Venezuelans, we haven’t been able to see for over twenty years.”
  • “Today, what I ask all of you is that when you think about Venezuela, think about Antonio Ledezma. Think about our political prisoners and think that today we are having a dictatorship in Venezuela.”
  • “I would like to know and I would like to understand how come a country like Venezuela whose leader is one of the worst human rights violators, is still on the U.N. Human Rights Council.”
  • “I will fight with my life and I will even sacrifice my own freedom to be able to say that I live in a free country.