Liliana Ortega Mendoza
Fellow Since 1999
COFAVIC - Comité de Familiares de las Victimas del 27 de Febrero de 1989
This profile was prepared when Liliana Ortega Mendoza was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
Liliana is working to make human rights part of the fabric of everyday life in Venezuela by advocating for legislative and judicial reform at the same time that she works on grassroots prevention. Liliana's Committee for the Relatives and Victims of the Events of February and March of 1989, or COFAVIC, targets institutions and officials that play a role in ensuring human rights, from Venezuela's new constitutional assembly to front-line prison guards and police. She also works with young people to teach tolerance. Her goal is to educate fellow Venezuelans about the need to protect and ensure human rights in order to strengthen the democratic roots of Latin America's longest established democracy. When Liliana started her work in 1989, most political leaders in Venezuela did not talk about or acknowledge human rights abuse as a problem. Now, more than 60 percent of politicians include human rights reform as a priority agenda item, and there is a greater awareness among most Venezuelans about what "human rights" are.