Lord, how’s this for an opening:
“Before we get off the plane, I might ask you to take my laptop and cell phone through the airport for me,” said my traveling companion. “In case I get arrested upon landing.” “Ok,” I answered hesitantly. “No problem.”
The laptop belonged to Diego Arria, a former governor of Caracas, former Venezuelan ambassador to the U.N., former assistant secretary general of the U.N. and current outspoken critic of President Hugo Chávez. When Chávez mocked Arria on national television and then expropriated his farm, Arria tweeted, “I’ll see you in The Hague, Chávez.”
From there Vanessa Neumann proceeds to explain the ramifications of recent elections in Venezuela. Having myself passed through a polite-but-very-intense/intimidating military police screening at Caracas airport just as a Joe Blow Americano, I can only marvel at the bravery of men and women such as Arria and Neumann who have considerably more to fear but make the journey anyway to defend a larger principle.