Gabriel Gonzalez, one of the winners of Human Rights First’s annual Human Rights Award, was featured in the Huffington Post today.
Thanks in large part to thousands of activists who urged the State Department to grant him a visa in time, Gonzalez was able to come to New York to receive the award, and go to D.C. for meetings on the Hill, and with Diane Tucker, the author of this article. Tucker describes his trip here, to receive our award and conduct advocacy, but also what he can expect upon return to Colombia:
Last week in Manhattan, veteran journalist Tom Brokaw presented the 2009 Human Rights Award to Gabriel Gonzalez, a young activist who opposes the inhumane treatment of Colombian prisoners. The thoughtful young man then flew home to Colombia, where he is charged with being a terrorist and faces seven years in prison.
Call it one heck of an identity crisis for Gonzalez, or better yet, call it “same old, same old” in Colombia, where the difference between “hero” and “rebel guerrilla” can be a matter of opinion, and all too often a matter of life and death. Last year, 11 human rights workers were murdered in Colombia. So far this year, at least nine have been killed, despite increased government protection.
Watch the video we showed at our awards dinner:
Read more about Colombian defenders and what Human Rights First is doing to help.