Saturday, May 31, 2008

Yon Goicoechea receiving the Milton Friedman award

Please open this link and listen Yon Goicoechea receiving the Milton Friedman award ($500,000), on the name of the venezuelan students.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Venezuelan Student Movement for liberty

If you like how Yon Goicoechea talks see this video. Gustavo Tovar, Gerver Torres also talk. vdebate reporter
The Venezuelan Student Movement for Liberty
POLICY FORUMWednesday, March 12, 200812:00 PM (Luncheon to Follow)
Featuring: Yon Goicoechea, Former General Secretary, Venezuelan Student Parliament; Gustavo Tovar, Author, Estudiantes por la libertad (Students for Liberty) (Caracas: El Nacional, 2007); and Gerver Torres, Senior Scientist, Gallup. Moderated by Ian Vásquez, Cato Institute.
The Cato Institute1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NWWashington, DC 20001
Also, if you want to see the website that Cato Institute dedicated to Yon see:

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Winner of the 2008 Milton Friedman - Yon Goicoechea - Venezuelan

Yon is a 23 year old student fighting against Chavez. He is going to school to be a lawyer. Thanks Yon for loving our country!!!! You are just amazing!!! You way to talk make the people want to listen to you. You are everything Chavez is not: you are intelligent, handsome, good manners, fighting to have a better country, going to have your lawyer degree.........
I also want to say that there are other students that are also great, they are: Stanlin Gonzalez, Freddy Guevara, Geraldine Alvarez, etc.

vdebate reporter

Winner of the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty

Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 7:05 AMTo:

Subject: Winner of the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty
I’m writing to let you know that the recipient of the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty is Yon Goicoechea, leader of the pro-democracy student movement in Venezuela. Under Goicoechea's leadership, the student movement organized mass opposition to the erosion of human and civil rights in Venezuela and played the key role in recently defeating Hugo Chávez's bid for a constitutional reform that would have turned the country into a dictatorship. For more information about Yon Goicoechea and the student movement, please visit our website at,z5ff,1u46,aihw,4qf,gl5d,4iky
Yon Goicoechea will be awarded the Prize on Thursday, May 15 at the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty Biennial Dinner at the Waldorf - Astoria Hotel in New York City. To attend the Milton Friedman Prize Award Dinner, please register online at,z5ff,1u46,d9g7,fr4d,gl5d,4iky or call 202-218-4606.
We are expecting it to be a terrific affair with featured guests including Rose Friedman; CEO of FedEx, Fred Smith; and Mary O’Grady of The Wall Street Journal.
We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you at the Dinner.
Yana Vinnikov
Cato Institute 202-218-4617

Venezuelan Student Movement Leader Awarded$500,000
Milton Friedman Liberty Prize
Washington, D.C.
The Cato Institute has announced that Yon Goicoechea, leader of the pro-democracy student movement in Venezuela that successfully prevented President Hugo Chávez’s regime from seizing broad dictatorial powers in December 2007, has been awarded the 2008 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty.
A 23-year-old law student, Mr. Goicoechea plays a pivotal role in organizing and voicing opposition to the erosion of human and civil rights in his country. In his commitment to a modern Venezuela, Goicoechea emphasizes tolerance and the human right to seek prosperity.
Venezuela’s student movement emerged in May of 2007 in response to a government-ordered shutdown of the nation’s oldest private television station, RCTV. In the face of ongoing death threats and continual intimidation due to his prominent and vocal leadership, Mr. Goicoechea has been indispensible in organizing massive, peaceful student protest marches that have captured the world’s attention.
By December of 2007, the student movement was credited with defeating a proposed constitutional reform that would have concentrated unprecedented political and economic power in the hands of the government.
“Yon Goicoechea is making an extraordinary contribution to liberty,” said Edward Crane, President of the Cato Institute. “We hope the Friedman Prize will help further his non-violent advocacy for basic freedoms in an increasingly militaristic and anti-democratic Venezuela.”
Renowned Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa remarked, “Freedom and complacency are incompatible and this is what we are seeing now in countries like Venezuela where freedom is disappearing little by little, and this has produced a very healthy and idealistic reaction among young people. I think Yon Goicoechea is a symbol of this democratic reaction when freedom is threatened.”
Established in 2002 and presented every two years, the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty is the leading international award for significant contributions to advancing individual liberty. The Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman passed away in November of 2006.
The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty's Biennial Dinner and award presentation will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on May 15, 2008.
Yon Goicoechea is a fifth year law student at Universidad Católica Andrés Bello. He was chosen to receive the award from a public, worldwide nomination process. The members of the 2008 International Selection Committee are:
Kakha Bendukidze– Head of the Chancellery, Republic of Georgia
Edward H. Crane – President, Cato Institute
Francisco Gil Díaz – Former Minister of Finance, Mexico
Rose D. Friedman – Co-Founder, Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation for School Choice
Karen Horn – Director, Berlin Office, Institut der deutschen Wirtschaft (Germany)
Charles G. Koch – Chairman and CEO, Koch Industries Inc.
Andrew Mwenda – Research Fellow, Advocates Coalition for Development (Uganda)
Mary Anastasia O’Grady – Member, Editorial Board, The Wall Street Journal
Fareed Zakaria – Editor, Newsweek International
Cato Institute1000 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20001

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Students emerge as a Leading force against Chavez

Students Emerge as a Leading Force Against Chávez
David Rochkind for The New York Times
Yon Goicoechea, 23, a leader of an anti-Chávez student group. For safety, he moves from one friend’s apartment to another.

Published: November 10, 2007
CARACAS, Venezuela, Nov. 9 — Finding Yon Goicoechea, a leader of the nascent student movement protesting the expanding power of President Hugo Chávez, is not easy. He changes cellphones every few days. After receiving dozens of death threats, he moves among the apartments of friends here each day in search of a safe place to sleep.

Yon Goicochea

In an interview this week in a back room at one such residence, a villa in a leafy district in this city, Mr. Goicoechea described the movement that has supplanted traditional political parties in recent weeks as the most cohesive and respected challenger to Mr. Chávez’s government.
“We believe in exhausting the democratic options available to us through peaceful action,” said Mr. Goicoechea, 23, who studies law at Andrés Bello Catholic University here, referring to the students’ opposition to a constitutional overhaul. In the polarized world of Venezuelan political debate, such parsed and polished statements are rare.

But what about the claims, from Mr. Chávez and his loyalists, that the students ultimately want to oust him from office? “We want social transformation, not a coup,” Mr. Goicoechea said. “The real coup d’état is coming from Chávez, who wants to perpetuate himself in power.”

Indeed, the students first burst onto the scene over the summer with protests against Mr. Chávez’s move to push RCTV, a critical television network, off public airwaves. But the president’s proposed charter, which would abolish his term limits, has led to much larger protests here and in other large cities this month.

About 80,000 students flooded main avenues here on Wednesday in a march to the Supreme Court to ask it to suspend the referendum on 69 constitutional amendments scheduled for Dec. 2. Students returning from that march were attacked by gunmen at the campus of the Central University of Venezuela; nine were injured. The violence continued Friday in Mérida in western Venezuela, where four police officers and a bystander were shot and wounded while trying to break up clashes between opposing student groups, Reuters reported.

While such incidents continue ahead of the referendum, Mr. Chávez continues to disparage the student movement, calling the student protests a “fascist attack.” The president has also described the students as “daddy’s boys” — children of privilege resisting social change.

Many are indeed middle-class, but the unusual inclusiveness of public universities here makes it difficult to play class politics.

“I live in Catia,” said Ricardo Sánchez, 24, a student leader at Central University, referring to a conglomeration of slums on Caracas’s western fringe. “I leave home at 5 in the morning, and I have to go home very early so the thugs won’t attack me.

“This reform doesn’t solve those problems,” Mr. Sánchez continued, referring to the proposed constitutional overhaul.

In other statements, the president has gone further, accusing opponents of conspiring to carry out a “soft coup” supported by the United States and being inspired by groups like the Albert Einstein Institution, a nonprofit group in Cambridge, Mass., that advocates nonviolent struggle.

American involvement in political affairs here remains a delicate subject, following the Bush administration’s tacit support for the coup that briefly removed Mr. Chávez from office in 2002. Mr. Chávez has also criticized the United States for channeling funds to nongovernmental groups that are critical of him.

Hewing to a new policy trying to avoid verbal clashes with Mr. Chávez, American officials here carefully denied supporting the students.

“The United States government has no role in the student demonstrations,” said Benjamin Ziff, a spokesman for the United States Embassy in Caracas.

But some of Mr. Chávez’s assertions, that the students draw inspiration from nonviolent movements elsewhere, are not off the mark. In the interview, Mr. Goicoechea said he had been fascinated with the Serbian opposition’s toppling in 2000 of Slobodan Milosevic and Gandhi’s struggle against British colonialism.

The movement led by Mr. Goicoechea and others in their 20s has evolved since June, when protesters painted their palms white and inserted flowers in the rifles of members of the security forces. Since then, they have efficiently coordinated protests around the country with a tone of increasing defiance.

“The student leaders now have more credibility among people in the street than any leader of the opposition parties,” said Alberto Garrido, a political analyst.

The are substantial: Mr. Chávez commands fervent support among the poor, and his followers control every institution of the federal government.

Mr. Chávez insists that the proposed charter contains measures needed to move his revolution forward, like a six-hour workday and reconfiguring the military. The president’s term of office would also be extended to seven years from six.

Students opposing these proposals, of course, are not the only movement on campus. Pro-Chávez student leaders have also been mobilized in recent weeks, gaining ample airtime for their views on state television.

Tensions between student groups are increasing. Robert Serra, a student leader who supports Mr. Chávez, said this week that sectors of the population were awaiting an alert to “occupy” the Caracas campuses of Central University and Andrés Bello Catholic University, bastions of opposition to Mr. Chávez.

Still, the growing intensity of anti-Chávez student protests here presents challenges for both sides: Can a revolution advance if large numbers of students are opposed to it? And will others join the students ?

“People don’t believe in political parties anymore; they don’t believe in anyone,” said Stalin González, a leader of the student protests here.

“The students are fresh new figures with a different message,” he said. “This doesn’t mean we’re the salvation.”
Jens Erik Gould contributed reporting.

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