Cases & Deals

Couple wins asylum after fleeing persecution for opposing Venezuela's totalitarian regime

Client(s) Clients F and A

On April 15, Jones Day won asylum for clients F and A, a Venezuelan couple persecuted for their political opposition to the dictatorial regime of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

F worked as a petroleum engineer at Venezuela's state-run oil company, PDVSA. Armed pro-government colectivos launched a campaign of persecution against him in 2017 after he was elected president of a labor union and began organizing workers against Maduro's policies. The harassment and threats intensified as F and A became increasingly visible supporters of the opposition political party Acción Democrática.

In January 2019, colectivos kidnapped F at a rally for opposition leader Juan Guaido and threatened to kill A. F's captors beat him for several hours and threatened to murder him and A if they did not stop opposing the Maduro regime. Three months later, after F gave a speech at an anti-Maduro rally, colectivos opened fire on F and A's home while they were inside. The couple fled Venezuela and eventually presented at the southern border and applied for asylum.

It took nearly one year from the time F and A first presented at the U.S. border to the time that their petition was granted, during which time they were forced to remain in Mexico in difficult conditions. Jones Day and Ford Motor Company collaborated together over the course of many months to make the victory possible. After being granted asylum, F and A successfully crossed the border and found refuge with family in Florida. F and A expressed deep gratitude for the "team of angels" who worked on their behalf.