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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.”