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The following is a statement released last week by EsLibertad (SFL in Latin America). You can view the original Spanish statement here

Ines-Gonzalez-300x214Inés Margarita Gonzalez Arraga is a bright Venezuelan with a Master of Chemistry from IVIC Venezuela and a Chemistry PhD from Akron University in the United States.

Inés was also an avid Twitter user (@inesitaterrible), one of many unafraid to express their thoughts against the authoritarian Venezuelan regime, initially led by Hugo Chavez, and now led by Nicolás Maduro. With more than 70,000 followers, she managed to draw the attention of the authorities.

On October 4, 2014, Inés was called to the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) facilities, the Venezuelan political police state, from where she has not yet returned. “Public incitement, insulting public officials and violent outrage” are the charges against her, for writing on social networks, especially Twitter, and she now faces a prison sentence of 3 years.

After a year of imprisonment, still without a fair trial, Inés Gonzalez is currently locked in the Helicoide, a place where there have been reports of human rights violations and torture, including physical, psychological and sexual assault.

Since July, she has needed an emergency operation: a total hysterectomy (i.e. a total removal of her reproductive organs). It’s not clear whether this condition is a result of physical aggressions, but it is the case that Inés was in perfect health when she was called in by the SEBIN.

In light of all this, we in Estudiantes por la Libertad express our solidarity with the Venezuelan political prisoners in all the abuses to their freedom and integrity, especially the case of Inés Gonzalez, still imprisoned in the Helicoide. We also hereby declare that:

  • We condemn any restriction of freedom of expression, especially of the personal opinions people express about their governments.
  • We condemn the lack of due process and the fact people have to spend years in jail without a fair trial. In addition, we advocate for a correct proportionality of penalties and condemn that prisoners are subjected to mistreatment by the authorities.
  • We repudiate torture and aggressions made to political prisoners.
  • We empathize with Inés Gonzalez, for the surgery she will be submitted to urgently, especially considering that at the time of her arrest by the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (SEBIN) she had the good health typical of a person her youth.
  • We call on international public opinion, the media and multilateral organizations, for solidarity with this case, and to not allow “Inesita Terrible” to lose her life in the attempt to protect the freedom of her country.

For more information on this case and how you can help, please contact Milica Pandzic, Presidenta de Estudiantes por la Libertad  at mpandzic@eslibertad.org.


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47.7% of federal inmates serving time for firearm possession in the U.S. are black, painting a vivid picture of the victims of gun control — low-income, minority communities.

Young Voices Advocates Meg Arnold and Nathan Kelly sat down to tell a tale of gun control that often goes unheard on the Young Voices podcast. Click here to tune in.

Far from just a niche cause of rural conservatives, the right to bear arms is an important protection measure for many communities. Efforts to deny these rights have only created opportunities for the state to inflict violence on these very people they claim to protect.

That’s precisely why SFL launched our #NotJustaGun activism grants: to change the narrative surrounding gun rights from scaremongering to a discussion of safety. If you are student leader willing to stand up for gun rights, apply now for a $100 activism grant.

16555455822_2a794a1fb8_mIf you’ve been a libertarian for very long at all, chances are good you’ve heard of Professor Deirdre McCloskey. Whether you’re familiar with her groundbreaking book seriesBourgeois Virtue, Bourgeois Dignity, and Bourgeois Equality – saw her speak at the last ISFLC, or have even been lucky enough to sit as her student, you know why her mastery of free-market economics has dazzled a generation of pro-liberty advocates.

Now, Learn Liberty is releasing an unprecedented new video series with Prof. McCloskey on a subject near and dear to Deirdre’s life, but previously overlooked by the liberty movement at large. Students For Liberty is more than pleased to bring you an exclusive sneak peek of this new series from Learn Liberty, Trans Talks: (more…)

bernardo vidigalThe Brazilian branch of Students For Liberty in Brazil, Estudantes Pela Liberdade (EPL), has really been making waves this fall! From a successful recruiting drive that brought in over 600 Local Coordinators to the success of the Free Brazil Movement, it’s hard to deny that their efforts are changing the Brazilian political landscape for good. Today, EPL was featured in two separate articles on the Pan-Am Post.

One, written by SFL’s Brazilian Programs Associate, Bernardo Vidigal, highlighted EPL’s epic fight against taxi unions for the right to use services like Uber and relates the scare tactics the drivers have resorted to: (more…)

MarijuanaOn Tuesday, Ohioans chose not to adopt Issue 3, which would have legalized the recreational sale of marijuana in the state. The ballot initiative had ten major funders (former 98 Degrees star Nick Lachey among them) and included language that limited cultivation to their own companies.

Despite widespread support for ending marijuana prohibition in Ohio and nationwide, the measure faced major opposition and was decisively defeated.

Some opposition is to to be expected. The state legalization efforts in Colorado, Alaska, and Oregon faced strong opposition from opponents citing community health and safety as their main argument. They claimed that marijuana legalization would increase drug use among kids and implored voters to “THINK OF THE CHILDREN!”

Issue 3’s opponents, however, were different. They weren’t called “Protecting Children from Marijuana” or something else implying that marijuana itself was dangerous. The main opposition group was called Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies, indicating that their problem wasn’t marijuana itself but the oligopoly that would be created as a result of Issue 3.

Although no major marijuana advocacy organizations opposed the measure, most of them were neutral or only vaguely supportive. Betty Aldworth, the executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), wrote that the organization chose to remain neutral on Issue 3, in part, because “an oligopoly controlled by 10 companies with opaque ownership structures designed to obstruct investigation is not likely to be accountable, transparent, nor particularly good examples of integrity.” (more…)