Thor Halvorssen loves to take on tyrants. In fact, one could say that it’s the 39-year-old Venezuelan’s mission in life. He jets around the world, fighting oppression in dictatorships in the developing world, and organizing prestigious human rights conferences.
If you delve into his family background, though, you wouldn’t be the least surprised. His paternal grandfather was a Norwegian diplomat who was based in Venezuela during World War II. When the Germans invaded Norway, his grandfather diverted most of the Norwegian merchant navy to Venezuela, and even got into a fistfight with a Nazi.
On his mother’s side, he counts Simon Bolivar, Latin America’s George Washington, as one of his ancestors. But that’s not all. His mother was once shot and wounded in a human rights demonstration in the streets of Caracas, and his father was imprisoned and tortured after he exposed political corruption in Venezuela. He’s also got cousins fighting against Venezuela’s strongman regime.
According to The Atlantic, Thor Halvorssen doesn’t limit himself to Latin America. He’s flown all over the world fighting for human rights. He was once briefly arrested in Thailand where Thor Halvorssen was campaigning for a monk’s freedom of speech. He’s also focused much of his considerable energy on North Korea, a country of 24.9 million that has lived under the dictatorial embrace of the Kim family since the 1950’s. Read more: Thor Halvorssen | Facebook
North Korea is one of the poorest countries in the world today. It endured a devastating famine in the 1990’s and, to this day, many of its people are malnourished and hungry (there have even been reports of cannibalism). It’s also sealed shut from the rest of the world. The regime holds Hollywood movies, songs and western culture as a whole to be illegal, as it gives North Koreans glimpses of a different, better life.
So, Halvorssen and his organization, the Human Rights Foundation, work to deliver western contraband to North Koreans. A recent evening found Thor and co-conspirators near the demilitarized zone that separates North Korea from South Korea. They planned to send up hot-air balloons carrying bundles of western movies, specifically a recent Seth Rogan flick that poked fun at North Korea’s dictator.