Policy Forum

The Venezuelan Student Movement for Liberty

March 12, 2008 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EDT

1st floor/Wintergarden

Featuring: Yon Goicoechea, Former General Secretary, Venezuelan Student Parliament; Gustavo Tovar, Author, Estudiantes por la libertad (Students for Liberty) (Caracas: El Nacional, 2007); and Gerver Torres, Senior Scientist, Gallup. Moderated by Ian Vásquez, Cato Institute.

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On December 2, 2007, Venezuelans rejected through a referendum constitutional changes proposed by President Hugo Chávez that would have turned their country into a socialist state. The Venezuelan student movement played the key role in that outcome. Student leader Yon Goicoechea will explain how and why students from public and private universities from across the country came together in defense of basic liberties. Author and human rights activist Gustavo Tovar will describe how the movement’s philosophy of nonviolence helped to forge an effective opposition. Gerver Torres will discuss the significant impact of the “No” vote on public opinion and politics in Venezuela and throughout Latin America. All three speakers will discuss the future of the student movement and of Venezuelan politics.