Who is Leopoldo López?
Leopoldo López ’93 H’07 is the most prominent leader of the Venezuelan opposition movement. In early 2014, López, along with more than 500,000 supporters, peacefully protested the Venezuelan regime’s human rights abuses and dismantling of fair democratic processes. López was unjustly detained on charges of murder, terrorism and conspiracy, and after a trial that the Venezuelan prosecutor has since conceded was a “farce,” was sentenced to nearly 14 years in Venezuela’s Ramo Verde military prison. He was released under house arrest in 2017. Amnesty International called López’s treatment a “politically motivated attempt to silence dissent.” The New York Times editorial board described his trial as a “travesty.” The list of world leaders that have called for his freedom includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Through this award, López’s classmates, family and the Kenyon community acknowledge López’s bravery, conviction and compassion, which stands as an inspiration to all citizens of the world working for peaceful, democratic change.