A bill that would have allowed the extradition of accused criminals from Hong Kong to China was shelved after mass protests across the self-ruling city. Estimates say up to 2 million citizens joined in the June 16 protests, which ultimately forced the government’s hand in scuttling the bill and its threat to civil liberties in Hong Kong. If these numbers are accurate, they far exceed the peak of participation in Hong Kong’s 2014 series of demonstrations, which drew 100,000 protesters.
Meanwhile, the crisis in Venezuela continues to rage on. Bilateral talks between the U.S.-backed president of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, and incumbent socialist President Nicolás Maduro ground to a halt several weeks ago. More than 10 percent of the Venezuelan population — some 3.4 million — have fled across the borders to Colombia, Peru, and other countries in order to escape open violence in the streets, brutal police crackdowns, and food shortages.
The United Nations has estimated that 94 percent of Venezuelans live in poverty, and that at least a quarter of the population is in need of humanitarian aid. The tragedy of Venezuela stems directly from the socialist government’s rationing of resources, caused by the failed nationalization and redistribution policies initiated by former dictator Hugo Chávez. Although the situation there is dire, activists in the libertarian group Movimiento Libertario are doing all they can to build a better future.
Back in the United States, multiple activists feeding the homeless in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., have been arrested in recent years for their simple acts of charity. A federal appeals court ruled in favor of the activists last August, confirming that their actions fell within their constitutional rights. This ruling proves once again that the United States can be a beacon of liberty for the rest of the world.
The world is filled with examples of people struggling for freedom, and these three cases among innumerable others demonstrate the strength of the worldwide movement for liberty. No matter how small or how large the issue, people have the ability to exert pressure on those in power and inspire real, tangible, practical change for the better. Liberty, free of tyrannical oppressors, is the natural state of mankind, and the call for human freedom resonates across the world. The Libertarian Party endorses these movements, and wishes them the best in their fight for liberty.