Francisco Marquez Lara is a Venezuelan lawyer and political activist and was a fellow with the Ash Center's Democracy in Hard Places Initiative. He was a political prisoner for four months and was forced into exile in the U.S by the Venezuelan Government. Before his imprisonment in June 2016, he was Chief of Staff of the Mayor of El Hatillo in Caracas starting in 2014 and worked with the Lt. Governor of the State of Miranda in 2013. He obtained his Law degree in the Catholic University Andres Bello (2009) and his Master in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School (2012). He is currently focusing on torture and human rights issues and researching on the erosion of democracy in Venezuela.