Junior champions for human rights in Venezuela


Galipoli speaks with fellow supporters at a Voluntad Popular event.

By Lindsay Collier, Cypress Ranch High School


For most, the concepts of flagrant government corruption, violent repression of outspoken citizens, and torture of opposition leaders would seem more in place in a fantastical dystopian novel than reality.

For junior Juan Galipoli, however, these ideas are far from fictional—in fact, these are things he has experienced firsthand.

Galipoli was born and raised in Venezuela at the start of what many deem an era of disintegrating democracy.

Following Hugo Chávez’s election to office in 1998, political and human rights group Freedom House declared that the country’s freedom rating dropped by almost half in just two years, indicating a lack of protection for civil liberties and political rights.

There are a multitude of parties clamoring for an end to the abuses suffered at the hands of the government, and among them is “the strongest opposition party in Venezuela” – Voluntad Popular (People’s Will).

Galipoli is the coordinator of the Houston sector of the party, and at 18 years old, he’s the youngest leader in the party to date.

Read the full story here.