It is clear from all the dead-of-night texts, emails and encrypted Wicker messages that have been sent, that Thor Halvorssen, who seems to almost keep vampire hours, is not the average clock punching worker Halvorssen, at the age of 39, is the president for the Human Rights Foundation, based out of New York, which was launched by him in 2005. Thor has said that he loves people, and those that he loves the most have been defectors and dissidents, and the freedom’s troublemakers who have been blowing spitballs at the authoritarians while they have been standing up against the tyranny. Vaclav Havel has served as the chairman, for Thor, for the HRF until he had died in 2011. Following this, he was replaced by Garry Kasparov, who is a Vladimir Putin/Political Activist and Russian chess grandmaster. The daily toil that
the staff of just 12 is involved in is to shine a light on authoritarianism, cover various corners of the globe, and lend a megaphone to the dissidents and the political prisoners. The HRF annual Oslo Freedom Forum has now became it’s signature, as it is now a can’t miss event for the human-rights beat reporters.
Thor Halvorssen’s knowledge on the subject of Human Rights is not just theoretical. Being exposed to the government corruption while he was working as the drug czar in Venezuela, his father had been tortured by the Caracas prison. His mother had also been shot by an anti-hugo Chavez demonstration, and one of his first cousins Leopoldo Lopez, who was a perpetual challenger of Chavista regime that had failed to die with the namesake, is now waiting out a sentence as a political prisoner of a Venezuelan jail. But unlike many who focus on human-rights, Thor has not spent any time with playing the stereotypical sad-sack activist.
In his early life, Thor Halvorssen was born and raised in Caracas, and speaks American English with no accent. He is half-Venezuelan and half-Norwegian, and he has descended from heads of state and assorted swashbucklers. Oystein, who was his paternal grandfather, served as the Norwegian king’s consul within Venezuela during World War II, where he diverted all of the merchant fleet from Norway to the Venezuelan ports, after the Germans had invaded his homeland. His mother was a descendant of the first president in Venezuela, who helped Spain to gain independence for Latin America from Spain. Because all of these factors have played into Thor’s life, individual liberty and human rights should not be something to be on the table for discussion, but rather they should be the table for which all other discussions are made.