Libertarianism Fights for the Soul of Latin America

Updated on August 13, 2017
Garry Reed profile image

Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career and a passion for all things libertarian to become The Libertarian Opinionizer.

Movimiento Libertario candidate for president of Columbia Juan Sebastian de Zubiria
Movimiento Libertario candidate for president of Columbia Juan Sebastian de Zubiria | Source

Commentary From Your Libertarian Opinionizer

NOTE: Those cynics who perpetually sneer, “If libertarianism is such a good idea why aren't there any libertarian countries?” will find their answer in this article.

Even as a repackaged socialist scam called "socialism of the 21st century" continues to be violently imposed on the people of Venezuela many of their freedom-minded neighbors are still seeking a libertarian path to freedom.

Libertarian political activity throughout Central and South America is nothing new, and according to an article headline in the Pan Am Post “The Libertarian Moment Is Unfolding in Latin America, Not the U.S.” may surprise US libertarians.

According to the article libertarianism has a better chance of flourishing down south because “Latin Americans have grown tired of years of populism and socialism and have begun to demand changes in their respective countries” whereas Ron Paul in the US “faced a whole system that refuses to change.”

Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression
Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression
YOUR LIBERTARIAN OPINIONIZER’S PICK: (All quotes from reviews) Alvaro Vargas Llosa has long championed Latin Americans’ freedom from the "oligarchic legacy of statism." His book Liberty for Latin America is described as “essentially a free-market, libertarian argument pursuing independence through individualism.” In another book, The Madness of Things Peruvian, he relates how Peru's nascent democracy collapsed in 1992 because elected leaders never reformed the old statist institutions and failed to build a democratic tradition of political, economic, or cultural freedoms. In his book The Che Guevara Myth Llosa shows that the “ideals” of the “real Che” were a re-hash of centralized power that missed “the real revolution among the poor – the liberation of individuals from the constraints of state power in all spheres, public and private.” In the wider view he “elaborates on attempts by both the left and right to suppress liberty.”

Many in the US, it seems, are still naively playing with socialism while Latin Americans, having had it rammed down their throats for generations, are finally regurgitating it.

A good, and new, example of Latin American libertarianism is Colombian Libertarian party candidate for President Juan de Zubiría. A recent Columbia Focus interview points out that the concept of Libertarianism is new to Colombia, and Juan de Zubiría is the party’s first candidate for the country’s 2018 presidential election. That means their movement may face even greater anti-freedom forces than their violently oppressed neighbors in Socialist Venezuela.

But while Movimiento Libertario Colombiano, as a political party, isn’t preaching anarchist libertarianism they are still more principled and radical than many of their wimpy compadres in the United States. Here are some responses from presidential candidate Juan de Zubiría in his interview with Columbia Focus:

Venezuelan Libertarians Protest Socialist Dictatorial Rule

In June members of Movimiento Libertario de Venezuela took to the streets in defiance of their violent, dictatorial socialist regime.
In June members of Movimiento Libertario de Venezuela took to the streets in defiance of their violent, dictatorial socialist regime. | Source

The Drug War

No equivocating here. “As long as drug trafficking remains profitable, there will be no peace in Colombia,” Zubiría says. The plan is to get a dialog going that would allow every region of the country to decide their own drug policy concerning the production, commercialization, and consumption of drugs since “These regions are the ones that suffer deaths and displacements as a result of these activities.”

That’s gutsy since Columbia is Drug Cartel Central for much of the world. Decriminalizing the drug trade will be very dangerous. The big profits raked in by the cartels come directly from the fact that drugs are illegal; the big tax infusions that line the pockets of the anti-drug warriors are a direct result of drugs being illegal; and of course the American CIA face the loss of their own secret drug-running schemes that fund their off-the-books operations throughout South America and around the world if Columbian drugs are decriminalized.

Zubiría could become subject to triple-assassination attempts from any or all of these special interest mafias.

But this also leads to the next proposal…

Autonomous Regions

Creating Autonomous Regions would turn Columbia into a confederation of states like Switzerland and what “These United States” started out to be. That way libertarianism couldn’t be easily forced down everyone’s throats ala socialism and every other form of authoritarian collectivism in the world. Quoting Zubiría: “We libertarians are advocates of regional power over national power because this provides individuals the freedom to move to the place that matches their ideologies.”

The danger here, of course, is allowing the creation of multiple dictatorial warlord regions whether the local people want them or not. Which again predicts the next issue…

Less Marx Communism More Mises Free Markets

"LESS MARX MORE MISES" Libertarianism came to the streets of Brazil in 2016.
"LESS MARX MORE MISES" Libertarianism came to the streets of Brazil in 2016. | Source

Intractable Public Corruption

Zubiría states the problem with corruption this way: “Other parties propose to empower the State, but the bigger the State is, the more intervention it has, and the more corruption it will create.”

As in all countries, but especially in underdeveloped countries where the corruption itself is the actual cause of the underdevelopment, corruption is endemic throughout an endlessly massive top-heavy, overlapping, duplicative, state bureaucratic regulatory and control juggernaut where corruption becomes a way of life.

Expanding on this reality of corruption Zubiría notes, “We have agencies that duplicate work, so many organizations have no impact on the well-being of our country.”

Unfortunately, these agencies have major impact on the government parasite class whose entire well-being comes from corruption, so add their ferocious push-back to the already expected push-back from everyone currently benefitting from the drug war.

Still, Zubiría sees the solution as this: “We libertarians are the only ones with a coherent proposal to attack corruption.” Which dovetails into the related issue…

Massive Tax Cuts

Zubiria calls for “enormous budget reductions without affecting health, education, defense, and infrastructure.” In short, reducing taxes reduces government and therefore reduces corruption “Our point of view,” he continues, “is that the more laws we have, the more power is given to the politicians and public servants. We don’t need more laws, we need to reduce the number of laws.”

He further explains that “The State is the worst enemy of the poor and it is the system that creates and worsens social inequality. The tax system is also perverse and concentrates wealth on the rich and on corrupt politicians. Our project is the best policy to reduce inequality.”

But how then does he reduce state budgets without affecting, for example…


Sounding again like libertarians everywhere in the world Zubiría describes his country’s health system as “over-regulated” which means “there are very few health providers. This converts our health system into a perverse oligopoly. The system has to be deregulated for more competitors to enter. We libertarians think that we should adopt a model of demand subsidization in order to achieve full autonomy.”

Demand subsidization?” While this is beyond the scope of this article here is a rough, paraphrased scratch-the-surface explanation from the book Global Health Watch 4: An Alternative World Health Report:

Pooling funds provides demand for the healthcare industry, especially in areas of extreme poverty, and opens up new lucrative private markets in the administration of health insurance funds. While more public funds go to healthcare it’s done through demand subsidization which puts money into the hands of the users rather than the public institutions. (Sort of like tax-funded “Healthcare Vouchers?”) Thus a new layer of competition is added to the system, requiring public and private service providers and insurance plans to compete. The result is that private companies gain advantages that break the monopoly of public institutions.

Got it? No? Then go get the book. According to its Amazon description it’s authored by a broad coalition of healthcare advocates including the suspiciously authoritarian-named “People’s Health Movement” that serves as “a platform of resistance to the neoliberal dominance in health.” Unfortunately neoliberalism is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a modified form of liberalism tending to favor free-market capitalism.”

Resistance to free markets sounds suspiciously like acceptance of collectivist authoritarianism which doesn’t seem to fit well with Juan de Zubiría’s otherwise promising Movimiento Libertario Colombiano political positions.

Beyond this unhealthy hiccup does all of his other libertarian advocating result in more of what the poor in every poor country are really looking for…

Movimiento Libertario de México

While Mexico's authoritarians won't allow new political parties until 2020 the Mexican Libertarian Movement has been active on social media since 2012.
While Mexico's authoritarians won't allow new political parties until 2020 the Mexican Libertarian Movement has been active on social media since 2012. | Source


Just as Zubiría would offer autonomy to the country’s regions so the local people in each could deal with the drug issue in their own way so too would he “allow for each school to have full autonomy.” Echoing many US libertarian school choice advocates he would eliminate compulsory curricula in schools and “provide vouchers to students in order for his or her parents to choose the best school according to their children’s needs.”

(Tax-funded vouchers is a minarchist position in the US but still considered by many libertarians as “a step in the right direction.”)

Still, add the public school union bosses to the drug war warriors and the corrupt public parasite class who will resist any changes to their power and their incomes.

As for another major bugaboo that pits libertarians against collectivists how does he reduce state budgets without affecting this other example…

Capitalism For The Poor

Generations of Latin Americans driven into socialism's "equality of poverty" know perfectly well the difference between collectivism and free markets.
Generations of Latin Americans driven into socialism's "equality of poverty" know perfectly well the difference between collectivism and free markets. | Source


Here’s Zubiría’s full response to that question: “Some academics say that between half a million and a million new jobs can be created if we abolish the added-value tax (IVA). To promote employment, we must reduce the bureaucratic and tributary load over the producer sector. Also, we must invite international businesses to invest in our country and provide them with a business-friendly environment.”

Nobody ever said that establishing any form of libertarianism anywhere in the world will be easy. But a truly tragi-pathetic future would be for today’s developing communities in South America and Southeast Asia (including a potential libertarian New Free City in Burma) to become successful libertarian free market societies while the United States joins Europe as just another economically unsustainable failed socialist state.

It will happen because in America, as well as in many of today’s “developed” countries, hardheaded hardcore lifetime socialists live in a perpetual state of denial. No matter how, where or why socialism fails they will always have an excuse; it wasn’t “true” socialism, it wasn’t implemented properly, free market capitalism destroyed it, globalist corporations destroyed it, the CIA destroyed it, and ever onward down the collectivist rabbit hole.

Therefore add every authoritarian socialist/collectivist of every description to the public school union bosses, the drug war warriors, the corrupt politically-connected parasite class and everyone else who has an economic or ideological interest in maintaining the status quo against any form of free market libertarianism no matter how high libertarianism will lift the downtrodden peasantry out of its misery.

Those cynics who perpetually sneer, “If libertarianism is such a good idea why aren't there any libertarian countries?” now have their answer.



Recent News From Venezuela’s Fight Against Socialist Dictatorship
The Libertarian Moment Is Unfolding in Latin America, Not the U.S.
An interview with Colombian Libertarian party candidate Juan de Zubiría
Can a Libertarian Free City Take Root and Flourish in Asia?
Amazon Book: Global Health Watch 4: An Alternative World Health Report

Venezuela: A Failed Socialist Dictatorship

Bazillion Brazilians Betting On Bitcoin and Blockchain?

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.


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