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President Iván Duque is the winner of the 2018 Oswaldo Payá: Freedom and Life Award

The Latin American Youth Network for Democracy (JuventudLAC) promoter of the Cuba Decide initiative and the Foundation for Pan American Democracy, are honored to announce the winner of the third edition of the Oswaldo Payá: Freedom and Life Award, President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez.

The award, first presented in 2016, seeks to celebrate the people and institutions that have made exceptional contributions to the struggle for democracy in the region. Past winners have been the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Luis Almagro and the Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas (IDEA).

The decision was made to honor President Duque and through him, the people of Colombia. He is being recognized for his activism within The Lima Group and for speaking out in defense of just and democratic institutional values. Additionally, he is being honored for the exemplary solidarity that he has shown, giving refuge to thousands of Venezuelans who have escaped tyranny in their homeland. After taking office in mid-2018, he has played a leadership role at the international level, denouncing and condemning the abuses committed by dictatorial regimes and directing a policy focused on achieving a necessary transition to liberty.

With the name of a hero of the Cuban resistance, the award is a celebration of the solidarity that so many brave and committed people have offered to those who suffer oppression. Doctor Duque Márquez represents a new ruling generation that coincides with the mission shared by the 100-member youth organizations that makeup JuventudLAC in 20 countries.

"The Cuban dictatorship is the destabilizing center in the hemisphere and the cause of the Venezuelan democratic collapse. We are honored to celebrate the work of President Iván Duque for his support to the Venezuelan people and his fight for democracy throughout the region,” Rosa María Payá, leader of Cuba Decide and President of the Honor Council of JuventudLAC, declared.

Juan Carlos Vargas. President of JuventudLAC, emphasized that “with the support of the international community, soon the peoples of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela will be able to leave abusive dictatorships behind, achieving respectable institutions as found in Colombia, thanks to the influence of statesmen like President Duque.”