Thor Leonardo Halvorssen Mendoza, more commonly known as Thor Halvorssen, is a 39 year old president of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) based in New York which he started in 2005. Being half Norwegian and half Venezuelen, he comes from interesting stock, including swashbucklers and heads of state.
His paternal grandfather was part of the Norwegian king’s consul in Venezuela during World War II. His mother is a descendant of Cristóbal Mendoza, the president of Venezuela as well as Simon Bolivar, the military leader that helped Latin America win their freedom from Spain. Read more: Thor Halvorssen | Facebook
After exposing government corruption, Thor’s father was tortured in a Caracas prison. His first cousin, a continual challenger of the Chavista regime, is currently serving time as a political prisoner in a Venezuelan jail. Instead of being bitter, Thor claims he loves people, mostly people who are dissidents and defectors. The kind of people that challenge authority.
According to Crunchbase and Forbes, in 2010 Thor Halvorssen and a cameraman snuck into a monastery and secretly taped an interview with Thich Quang Do, the patriarch of the Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam whose church has been banned. Thich Quang Do was serving 28 years under house arrest. On the way out of the monastery, the authorities had Thor beaten up.
He was arrested and detained, all the while claiming he was a Buddhist seeker. His cameraman got out a side door with the video card, strategically hidden. Thor doesn’t just talk human rights, he gets right in there and gets involved.
Thor rejects being called a conservative. He prefers to think of himself as a “classical liberal.” He stands against any dictator. He says, “Why discriminate?” All he wants to do is rid the world of tyranny.