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Though Kevin Spacey insists that he isn’t interested in ever running for office — as noted just outside The Hollywood Reporter’s April 2 cover story — the actor took a political stance in defending protesters in Venezuela with a blog post published Saturday.
The actor, theater head and THR cover star commented on the ongoing protests against president Nicolas Maduro, the successor to the late Hugo Chavez. He publicizes his support for opposition party Voluntad Popular and leader Leopoldo Lopez, writing that the country continues to endure chronic food shortages, record-breaking inflation and media censorship.
“These students were standing for basic human freedoms and engaging in the right to protest, which is a sacred right whether in Boston, Belarus, or Venezuela,” he wrote on his newly established blog. “The government of Venezuela responded with heavy-handed repression.”
After quoting Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, Spacey declared, “I support all of the Venezuelans who peacefully and non-violently claim their right to self-determination and protest. I hope you will join me in asking them not to give up and to not become numb to the violations and abuses committed against them. We who are fortunate enough to live in freedom must stand up to oppression and injustice and remind the Venezuelan people that they are on the right side of history.”
Spacey’s stance is in opposition to that of others in Hollywood, including Danny Glover and longtime Chavez supporters Sean Penn and Oliver Stone. Madonna and Cher have also voiced their support for the nation’s political dissidents via social media, and best supporting actor Oscar winner Jared Leto mentioned the protesters in his acceptance speech: “To all the dreamers out there watching this in places like Ukraine and Venezuela, as you struggle to make your dreams happen and live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight.” (Spacey noted in his post that last month’s Academy Awards was barred from local broadcast for the first time in Venezuelan history.)
Read the post in full below.
For many weeks now, tens of thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets in protest.
These students were standing for basic human freedoms and engaging in the right to protest, which is a sacred right whether in Boston, Belarus, or Venezuela. The government of Venezuela responded with heavy-handed repression. Within two weeks Leopoldo Lopez, the leader of the opposition party, Voluntad Popular, called for nationwide peaceful demonstrations to address the problems facing the country. These problems include chronic food shortages, the highest inflation in the world and ongoing censorship of the media. Even the Oscars were not allowed to be broadcast – for the first time in Venezuelan history.
More than 1,400 students were arrested, there are more than 40 confirmed cases of torture and Leopoldo Lopez still sits in a Venezuelan military prison. He has urged the students to exercise their legal rights to peaceful protest and free speech and he repeatedly emphasized they must do so without violence. President Maduro has blamed Lopez for the violence that has beset the country and ordered his arrest on charges of murder, arson and terrorism. To date, the government has presented no evidence of the charges against him and their legal case is falling apart.
Amnesty International said the charges against Lopez recall “politically motivated attempts to silence dissent.” Human Rights Watch says “the Venezuelan government has openly embraced the classic tactics of an authoritarian regime: jailing its opponents, muzzling the media and intimidating civil society.”
I support all of the Venezuelans who peacefully and non-violently claim their right to self-determination and protest. I hope you will join me in asking them not to give up and to not become numb to the violations and abuses committed against them. We who are fortunate enough to live in freedom must stand up to oppression and injustice and remind the Venezuelan people that they are on the right side of history.
Please show your support in whatever way you can: #SOSVenezuela
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