ISIL Puerto Vallarta Conference Spurs
– by Vince Miller –
ISIL’s world conference was held this year (2002) from July 28 to Aug 1 at the luxurious La Jolla de Mismaloya hotel in the Pacific Coast resort of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Mexico and Latin America in general (with the exception of Chile) over the past decades have produced seemingly unending spectacles of economic chaos, grinding poverty and massive political corruption. Not an area where one would pin much hope for a libertarian renaissance.
But a libertarian movement has been emerging in the region, and the goal of this year’s ISIL world conference was to strengthen the network and inspire an acceleration of its growth. As you will read, these goals were met, indeed our expectations were exceeded.
We assembled many of the titans of a powerful radical libertarian movement for change in Latin America: Manuel Ayau, founder of the free-market Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala; Roberto Salinas León, vice president of Mexico’s TV Azteca (the second largest television network in Latin America); Ricardo Valenzuela, a former Mexican banker who is in the process of forming a libertarian political party in Mexico; and Venezuela’s Alberto Mansueti who has just formed “La Salida” (The Way Out) think-tank.
And of course there were Enrique Ghersi, ISIL’s Rep in Peru, co-author of the famous El Otro Sendero (The Other Path) book on underground economies, and ISIL Argentina Rep Martin Krause (Dean of ESEADE grad school of business administration in Buenos Aries) – both giants in the emerging classical-liberal movement in Latin America.
With such powerful intellects and high spirits – all with a passionate sense of moral purpose, one got the feeling they were sitting in on a meeting of the “Founding Fathers” of a new era in Latin America.
José Cordeiro (Venezuela) (l) and conference host Edgar Piña Ortiz (r) chat at the beach patio restaurant. In center (background) ISIL Reps Enrique Ghersi (Peru) (l) and Martin Krause (Argentina) (r).
Our host this year was Edgar Piña Ortiz, a professor of economics at the Centro de Estudios Superiores del Estado de Sonora (CESUES) in Hermosillo, Sonora State, Mexico, and his son Edgar Piña Jr.
Edgar Sr. also runs a libertarian organization called Foro Libre and following the ISIL conference founded a new libertarian thinktank – the Institute for Research on Free Market and Economic Development in northwestern Mexico (Instituto de Libre Empresa y Desarrollo, A.C.).
Edgar Sr. was a also a former federal and state government official, working in finance and budget affairs – so he has not only theoretical but hands-on experience on what happens in the system.
We are deeply indebted to our friend Michael Gilson de Lemos of the Libertarian International Organization (LIO) for finding Edgar for us (about two years ago).
As in many past ISIL conferences, the ever-popular Mary Lou Gutscher acted as Master of Ceremonies and coordinator of the volunteer helpers – keeping everything on time and adding incisive remarks and valuable summaries of presentations throughout the event.
We are also indebted to co-organizer Richard Foss who handled many travel details, liaison and booking of hotels, etc. and Michael Everling (both from the Los Angeles area); and of course ISIL VP Jim Elwood, who this year also handled the conference registrations.
We were also happy to provide 40 students and activists with scholarships to attend (mostly from Latin American countries this year).
This made it possible for them not only to hear the sessions, but to jam with the movement’s top people at our “speakers corner” sessions and during free time. We are certain that – as at previous ISIL conferences – the dialogue at this conference will have important repercussions later down the road.
There’s a great deal to cover in this conference, so let me proceed with descriptions of the presentations. We highly recommend that you purchase tapes of these sessions if you wish to learn full details of what occurred at this exciting conference. (Click here for the tape order form.)
WITH GOOD INTENTIONS AND
IGNORANCE OF ECONOMICS
Manuel (Muso) Ayau, founder of Francisco Marroquin University (Guatemala), delivers keynote address on day-one of the conference
The keynote address of the conference was delivered by Manuel (Muso) Ayau. In 1958 Manuel Ayau founded the Center for Economic and Social Studies in Guatemala – an organization dedicated to studying and disseminating the philosophical and economic ideas necessary for a free society. In 1972 he led the group which founded what is now Latin America’s leading free-market educational institution – Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala City. Muso was also a past president of the Mont Pelerin Society, and currently serves on the Board of the Liberty Fund, Inc. in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
He began by saying that societies that were organized under certain essential rules of conduct – incorporating the protection of life, property and contract – would automatically have a market economy – and prosperity.
“There are two choices – either we can be ruled by rules of conduct or we can be told what to do (through legislation).
The world unfortunately has been going the way of abandoning or failing to recognize rules of conduct, and is submitting to legislation – legislation of the social planners.
He went on to say that measures taken by central planners to improve conditions of poor countries have increased poverty; have increased misery of the poorest countries; have ruined production and have only increased the size and power of parasitic ruling classes.
He stressed that private property is vital as an instrument of the allocation of resources. The market as we know it is the exchange of private property. Out of these exchanges emerges a price structure. But you cannot have a price structure without due protection of private property.
As we all know, the Soviet state failed because there was no price structure and a lack of property rights. In order to ascertain prices, their central planners had to refer to American Sears Roebuck catalogs!
Curiously, government economic policies are not made by economists. Their findings are not considered. “They win all the intellectual arguments” he said – “but they lose on all the policies.”
The politicians have their own agendas – which do not coincide with economic realities.
But the worst-case scenario is when the government asks businessmen for advice on economic matters.
“Why of course businessmen must understand economics. Aren’t they in the economic world? They are the stars of the economic world. They must understand economics. Well they don’t. And they are the worst enemies of the free-market economy.”
Muso expressed disappointment with democracy: “People in Latin America thought that with democracy, prosperity would arrive. It hasn’t. (The same sentiments were echoed by Thompson Ayodele of Nigeria in the last issue of the FNN). Democracy isn’t enough.
“What democracy has turned out to be is the privilege of selecting your dictator every four years.”
He went on to say, “Unfortunately this is the system adopted throughout the world – and that is why the only rich countries you see are those that got rich before they took on this system (like the USA which coasts on past glories and accumulations of capital).”
Muso writes a weekly column in a Guatemalan newspaper and says that people often stop him and other professors from Francisco Marroquin on the street to thank them for their writing and their efforts to instill in people the knowledge of the rules of conduct necessary for a functioning market.
He is confident about the future and says that the impact of thirty years of work is gradually being felt. When questioned in Q & A about how much impact he was having, he noted that graduates of Francisco Marroquin University are now occupying most of the important government policy-making departments, and the ideas are gradually being discovered by ordinary people.
Dr. Martin Krause (ISIL Rep for Argentina and Dean of ESEADE graduate school in Buenos Aires) delivers his presentation on “Civil Disobedience in Argentina.”
Our next speaker was ISIL Rep for Argentina, Martin Krause. Krause is Dean of ESEADE graduate school in Buenos Aires, where he is also a professor of market-based management and public policy.
“During the last decades government in Argentina has gotten more and more out of control. There was the issue of “missing people,” and of sending young people off to die in stupid wars. The Falklands War was a device perpetrated by the government to divert attention away from domestic problems and sagging popularity (an all too common practice with politicians everywhere – Ed). As a result of the war, thousands of poorly-trained kids died for nothing.
The government controlled and censored the flow of information, jailed dissidents – and expropriated property. By the end of the 70s they had nationalized thousands of companies – even discos.
Another method of expropriation was debasing the currency. In about three decades the peso lost 11 decimal points!
The people of Argentina responded to all the corruption and destruction of the economy through massive civil disobedience.
People dumped the government currency as fast as they could and conducted business in US dollars.
Tax evasion was rampant. 45% of the people evaded the VAT tax as well as the Income Tax. Even larger numbers evaded the 50% tax on personal assets.
This all led to the collapse of the government at the end of the 80s. The government responded by cranking the printing presses and hyper-inflating the currency. In one month (June 1989) the consumer price index rose by 200%.
The result of all the civil disobedience was that by removing all sources of government funding, by not paying taxes, not accepting government currency, and disobeying regulations, they starved the government. The government could not get any credit at home – or abroad.
During the 90s there were some attempts to get back on track with a currency board and formal dollarization of the peso. They “privatized” major parts of the economy and deregulated somewhat – but high levels of corruption and increasing fiscal deficits doubled government debt in a matter of a few years. (Martin warned us at the 1994 Merida, Mexico conference that another crisis was brewing in Argentina). Everything collapsed again.
the Political Arena
In Argentina, voting is mandatory, so instead of staying away from the polls in droves during last year’s election, the people used other devices to express their views of how things were being run. 45% of the voters voted null or blank (de-facto “none of the above”). They further exhibited their disdain for the political choices presented to them by putting slices of salami in the ballot envelopes. The salami refers to a slang term in Argentina. If you are a “salami” you’re “so stupid.” Others put condoms in the envelopes and others enclosed photos of “Curley for President” (from the “Three Stooges”).
Political dissidence increased – particularly as the economy collapsed. Mistrust in the government eventually sparked a bank run and the government responded by freezing all accounts. This moved the rebellion to the streets where you may have seen protesters banging pots and pans on TV news reports.
The government then defaulted on debts to all foreign and domestic creditors – including the banks (which owned a lot of government bonds). It also defaulted on local pension funds. They then devalued the currency. It lost 75% of its value in a matter of six months.
This had a terrible, terrible impact on the people of Argentina. Besides having their savings wiped out, the economy was severely crippled. Unemployment rose to 24% – to 45% if you count those persons only partly employed.
Now with elections upcoming, rebellion is subsiding somewhat. Desperate Argentinians are hoping for a savior to emerge.
In closing, Martin stated that although he liked the spontaneous nature of the rebellion, it did present major problems. The movement lacked leadership, goals or direction.
It seems clear that an intellectual vacuum cries out for libertarians to provide answers. Martin seems to be laying the groundwork in this regard. He announced that in addition to ESEADE, a major university is establishing an Austrian economics department to promote the works of Mises, Hayek, et al.
Addressing The Failures of the Reforms of the 90s
Panel on The Failure of the Reforms of the 90s” – from left to right: Panel moderator Edgar Piña Ortiz (Sonora State, Mexico); Alberto Mansueti (Venezuela); Ricardo Valenzuela (Mexico/USA); Guevara Guevara Dominguez (Mexico). Photo by Louise Zizka
This panel, moderated by Edgar Piña Ortiz, included Guevara Guevara Dominquez, Ricardo Valenzuela (both of Mexico) and Alberto Mansueti of Venezuela. Edgar Piña Jr. made the introductions.
Guevara Guevara Dominguez, a mechanical engineer, is editor of Kiosco magazine in Guadalajara, a bi-weekly promoting libertarian/classical-liberal ideas.
He gave an outline of economic reforms being carried out or proposed in Mexico at the behest of the IMF. These ideas included restructuring the tax system to make the government less dependent on oil revenues, restructuring of the electricity industry, and pending reforms of health care, social security, minimum wage laws, etc.. The conclusion of his presentation was that the bad results of perverse implementation of these, as well as previous ill-conceived government policies, could be seen everywhere.
Ricardo Valenzuela, who received his Masters in Economics from George Mason University) was founder of Alianza Liberal – a Mexican libertarian think-tank. He is also a researcher for the amazing “De Capital Importancia” TV educational series, and has been an influential writer in Latin America. Ricardo’s grandfather was one of the Sonorans who wrote the classical-liberal document that launched the 1910 Mexican revolution.
He lamented that the problems of Mexico seem overwhelming – trying to overcome the effects of 500 years of collectivism, corruption, and inquisition. Each wave of reform in Mexico has been a carbon copy of previous failed reforms. Nothing changes. The problem is that reforms were brought about by people who didn’t believe in the free market. The most devastating aspect is that there is no respect for private property. The constitution allows the government to take what it likes, and gives it the role of “conductor” of the economy.
In 1982, in a near-fatal blow to the Mexican economy, the banks were nationalized – including 2 banks of which Valenzuela himself was president. The banks were turned over as private monopolies to friends of then Mexican president Salinas.
On the subject of political action, he noted that when Anthony Fisher (the Founder of Atlas Foundation) met with Freidrich Hayek to say he wanted to do something to change what was going on in England and that he was wanting to get involved with politics, Hayek told him that that was not where the fight should be. “This is a battle of ideas – this is a war of changing the mentality of the people.”
Alberto Mansueti (Venezuela), a university professor, radio program director and editor of several publications, is ISIL’s Rep for Venezuela.
He argued strongly for a need for a libertarian political party in Venezuela and has taken some steps to form a “Republican Party of Venezuela”. He has launched a new think-tank “La Salida” (The Way Out) – this in cooperation with Edgar Piña Ortiz, Ricardo Valenzuela, and José Luis Tapia of Peru. Mansueti, himself a devout Christian, expressed an urgent need to communicate with catholic majorities and to communicate the message of liberty in moral terms relevant to religious persons.
This session was conducted first in English and then in Spanish. Both versions are available on cassette tape.
Mega-Tools For Liberty
Louis James, president of Free-Market.Net chats with ISIL Freedom Network News contributor Tim Starr during beer break.
James began on a negative note outlining the rapid move in the USA towards an all-encompassing authoritarian police state. He noted that Gestapo is roughly translated into English as “Homeland Security.” Ominous parallels.
He dwelled on the human haters of the lunatic environmental movement – those who would love to see most of the human race eliminated (except for enlightened souls like themselves, of course).
Of course the one great positive factor that can put America and the rest of the world on the right track is the Internet.
James remarked, “The Internet is the most powerful, marvelous tool for education ever invented since the invention of writing. The invention of the printing press pales in comparison.”
In a Q & A session the question was posed about the other side being able to use the Internet as well as we can. He disagreed. “The other side lacks the intellectual capital to meet us face to face, idea for idea,” he said. “They are simply wrong. We are right. Reality is on our side. Only error needs the support of government to prop it up.”
He urged all present to become active on the net, to form websites if they already haven’t – and in general to exploit this powerful medium.
He summed up by saying “the Internet is a wonderful tool because it accelerates by an exponential order of magnitude the rate at which bad ideas encounter good ideas. And bad ideas just lose. I don’t think it’s any surprise or coincidence at all that people describe the environment on the Internet as being default libertarian.”
Free-Market.Net has 145 partner organizations (including ISIL) who join in helping make this portal so powerful. James urged other organizations to become partners. We at ISIL can attest that there are many benefits. Among other things FMN indexes all papers, articles and research materials in a partner’s site, and includes them in a massive research database (with links to the sources). A valuable tool for all libertarian organizations – especially considering FMN’s high profile on the net. (www.free-market.net).
Again this year, ISIL director Ken Schoolland ventured where angels fear to tread – addressing the controversial issue of immigration.
Repression of liberty is the problem he says. Ken admires the courage of immigrants who flee oppression and face the trauma of adapting to a totally new living environment, often having to deal with the hostility of those who feel threatened by newcomers.
He provided statistics refuting charges that immigrants seek welfare benefits. He argues that what they seek is opportunity. Ken supported his arguments with statistics showing how people invariably move out of states with high levels of welfare to those with lower levels.
Ken charges that preventing refugees from escaping tyrants is a form of collaboration with those tyrants.
There has been considerable tension since 9-11. But Ken argued that it is the duty of government security agencies to find the bad guys – not treating everyone as if they were criminals – visitors, students, immigrants.
(Text versions of Ken’s speeches on the subject are in the Intellectual Resources section.) Both his presentation at the Dax, France (2001) and Puerto Vallarta (2002) are now available online) and on audio tape.
As A Hobby
Doug Casey takes his audience on a zany romp, regaling them with his attempts to sell 3rd World dictators on liberalization.
Doug Casey is a prolific libertarian writer, financial analyst and world traveler/adventurer. He is a best-selling author, and writes the International Speculator investment newsletter.
Doug has a strange hobby – traveling to 3rd world countries, meeting with leaders and trying to sell them on the personal benefits of freeing their economies. So far he has been unsuccessful – but as he said, it’s his hobby. Something he does to amuse himself.
This speech chronicles a zany romp through 3rd world countries meeting with leaders and making such proposals – from the Dominican Republic to Ciskei to Suriname to Vanuatu. At times he barely escapes with his head intact.
As to the future of liberty, he holds little hope for the USA, which he asserts is on a slippery slope to disaster. He claims that China is the place to watch. The Chinese have the right attitude toward authority – as we have seen in numerous reports in the FNN about Chinese attitudes toward tax collectors.
As to charitable donations – he asserts that charity often corrupts both giver and receiver. He suggested creating business interests as the best way to alleviate poverty.
Day 2 began with a enjoyable morning catamaran boat cruise from Mismaloya to Puerto Vallarta, stopping along the way at a grotto to allow those so interested to go snorkeling and view many exotic fish. We later dropped some off at a beachfront craft market. It was a great opportunity for socializing and brain-storming.
Jacques de Guenin studied economics under two Nobel Laureates, was a former executive with Exxon and Peugeot-Citroen, and is mayor of Saint Loubouer and the president and founder of Le Cercle Bastiat in southern France. He was host/organizer of the splendid 2001 ISIL conference in Dax, France that celebrated the bi-centennial of the birth of the great French classical-liberal Frédéric Bastiat.
Jacques traced the progress of the “Corn League” which began in Manchester, England in 1838 under the leadership of Richard Cobden and John Bright. The Corn League, as it was called, was fighting trade restrictions erected by the British government on behalf of the landed aristocracy – most specifically tariffs on importation of food grains. The high tariffs caused enormous hardships and near-starvation for many poor people.
There were huge rallies in London and Manchester – crowds up to 10,000 in Manchester met to protest these evil laws. In 1841 there was a breakthrough when they won over dissident (non-Anglican) religious groups.
It was a long and arduous struggle and success was never certain, but they persevered and in the parliamentary elections of 1841 five League members, including Cobden, were elected.
Sir Robert Peel, leader of the Tories, had become Prime Minister and passed a series of moderate reforms. But on May 26, 1846, legislation calling for unilateral freedom of exchange was finally passed. The brilliant period of freedom and prosperity unleashed by the repeal of the Corn Laws lasted for 65 years – until World War One.
Peel in his last speech in office gave due credit to Richard Cobden.
The struggle for free trade exemplified by Cobden and Bright’s battle is important for Latin Americans, as many of these countries have restrictive trade barriers that were erected during the time of the infamous US Smoot-Hawley Tariff bill in 1930 which plunged the entire world into depression. But unlike the US and other 1st world countries which largely dropped these barriers after World War II, the Latin American countries never removed them. Continuing economic stagnation was the result.
Jacques suggested that the successful tactics of the League were worthy of emulation:
- Choose a single goal so that energies are focused,
- Use the right (passionate) argumentation and
- Elect members sympathetic to your cause.
Jacques closed his talk with an extremely interesting anecdote. The media in France had been ignoring the work of Cobden, Bright and the aspirations of the League. When Frédéric Bastiat learned of the work of the league and of the media blackout, he was incensed and right away traveled to England to meet Cobden. Following his visit he was inspired to write a book entitled Cobden and the League (published before the Corn Law repeal). After Bastiat’s death in 1850, a second edition was published with updates (unfortunately it is long out of print).
Like modern-day libertarians (meeting as we have the past several decades) Bastiat and Cobden and other 19th-century libertarians met in Paris in an international congress for peace organized by Victor Hugo. They met again for a similar meeting in Bradford in the north of England.
How To Go Forward by
Not Going Backward
Jorge Luis Hernaández-Chanduvi and Hector Naupari of Peru discuss philosophical issues with Prof. Jan Narveson. (In background), Jeanie Kennedy, host of the Free Exchange Supper Club in San Francisco and Jim Davidson of the Awdal Roads project in Somalia.
Jan Narveson is a professor of philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario Canada. He is author of the classic book The Libertarian Idea published in 1989 and republished in 2001. He is listed in “Who’s Who” and in 1989 was elected to membership in the Royal Society of Canada (Canada’s highest recognition of scholarly achievement).
This presentation at Puerto Vallarta addressed arguments by the left about moral obligations to the destitute 3rd World by 1st world people and showed them to be fallacious. Notorious utilitarian theories of Peter Singer on the subject were addressed and shown to be invalid.
Narveson used the example of the moral dilemma of your purchasing a new Jaguar car vs. feeding a village in Africa for a year.
He addressed the matter of why the 3rd World is poor and starving (corrupt politicians, lack of property rights and impediments to an influx of capital from outside). Also how do we define poverty? Many philosophical arguments were addressed.
Narveson’s presentation was to consist of two parts with the second part dealing more specifically with solutions. (Unfortunately there was not enough time to cover the second part at the conference – but it is available on the ISIL website under Intellectual Resources.)
Enrique Ghersi (ISIL Rep Peru) delivers lecture on “Markets for Justice.”
ISIL Peruvian Rep Enrique Ghersi is a professor of Law and Economics and Political Science at the University of Lima. An iconoclast, lawyer, and former Peruvian congressman, he was also co-author of the famous El Otro Sendero (The Other Path) book on underground economies in Latin America (with Hernando de Soto and Mario Ghibellini). He is a member of the Royal Economic Society in London, England; a member of the Mont Pelerin Society, and a member of La Sociedad Geográfica de Lima, Peru.
“Law,” Ghersi asserted, “is the most important government monopoly – one that is often abused.”
As Frédéric Bastiat wrote: “But how is … legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals.”
As others in this conference urged, there is a need for proper institutions for a free and prosperous economy. But Ghersi points out that in most of the Latin American countries, they never change the institutions. “We keep the same institutions that in a discriminating way have kept property away from the people and in the hands of a few related to the state. . . . The process of privatization in Latin America has been mainly to sell monopolies into private hands. It was a change of monopolies – not a process of introducing competition in markets.”
He predicted that the move toward globalization and the expanded need for dispute resolution is leading to competition in the dispensing of justice – in which affected parties select judges and conditions.
He said that private arbitration was popular and more responsive than government systems and suggested that ISIL offer arbitration services as part of its program.
Spencer MacCallum delivers an address on developments in the Limón REAL autonomous region in Costa Rica.
ISIL members will be aware of the project initiated by Costa Rican ISIL Rep Dr. Rigoberto Stewart in 1998 to create an autonomous region in the Limón Caribbean province of Costa Rica – a region that comprises about 18% of the land area of Costa Rica and has a population of about 350,000 people.
“We want to declare the Limón province a “free and autonomous region.” So we can take out what Guillermo Yeatts called ‘the perverse set of rules and policies and institutions’ and substitute them with the good stuff:”
- Absolute free trade
- Zero taxes
- No official currency
- No state enterprises whatsoever
- Private and competing justice systems
- Private and competing police
- No legislature
Stewart explained: “We need to convince people first. I believe this is the way to go – and we are 90% of the way toward reaching this goal. Then we go to the government of Costa Rica.” (Stewart and his associates have been promoting the concept in the media and have been addressing student bodies in the schools of the region since the project was conceived).
A suggestion for financing of the project is that they sell shares based on the value of freed assets. To this end the Limón Center for Economic Development has just been established. Rigo and his team are in the final process of raising funds to purchase land (5 acres) and have immediate plans to build a headquarters building there.
Spencer MacCallum, who wrote the classic Art of Community and performed the translation to English of the original Spanish Limón REAL book, spoke of the strategies and problems facing the project.
As an interesting aside, before commencing his talk, Spencer mentioned a meeting he had with Baldy Harper, the founder of IHS (the Institute for Humane Studies) in 1955. The question came up, “How many people in the world share our ideas? The answer at that time was ‘about five.'” He pointed to the audience at this conference and noted that times have changed quite a bit. A libertarian movement barely existed, if at all, at that time.
Spencer has also been involved in promoting the advancement of an art community in Mata Ortiz in northern Chihuahua to teach skills and crafts to what he describes as “throw-away children.”
One problem in Limón was the need for a new seaport – an absolute necessity if the area was to be economically feasible. Fortunately the Limón REAL team discovered that millions had already been spent by a Stephen David Kingsley to do research and conduct engineering feasibility studies for a port at the Matina River about twelve miles north of the city of Limón. Unfortunately there were demands for tribute by the Costa Rican government. Demands started out relatively small, but ended up being nothing short of sheer extortion. The investors in Kansas City, USA paid the demands, writing them off as a cost of doing business (bribing corrupt officials). But they ran into serious trouble with the people at the US State Department who arrested them. Apparently paying bribes to foreign governments is illegal (unless the government does it through “foreign aid” – Ed).
Kingsley unfortunately died in 1990, but the initial planning has been done.
With autonomy, the problems of having to deal with the bureaucrats in San José would be eliminated.
We will keep our readers up to date on developments with this project in future issues of the Freedom Network News. You may also wish to order the improved second edition of Rigoberto Stewart’s excellent book Limón REAL – available in both English and Spanish versions.
Conference co-organizer Richard Foss chaired this panel with Valentina Nicolae of Romania, and Enrique Ghersi of Peru.
Valentina Nicolae was not optimistic. She reported that corruption runs rampant in her country of Romania. She added that this is proving to be a big impediment to getting into the European Union (something Romanians would like to see) – so the government issues reports at periodic intervals, but it all leads to nothing. Moreover, whistle-blowers have been harassed and arrested. The media exposes corruption, but nothing happens.
There is a consensus that the system is broken she reported (but that political change is impossible).
Again the same problem as with Argentina – major discontent but no direction. Valentina, as co-founder of the Horia Rusu libertarian thinktank in Bucharest and Cristian Comanescu of the Ludwig von Mises organization are on the forefront of educating the public and providing some answers, but as with our Latin American friends, they have a long road ahead of them.
Enrique Ghersi echoed Valentina’s assertion that most important issue is corruption. It is still the most common problem in Latin America.
But Enrique asked, “What is corruption?” The answer he postulated is that “It is the consequence – not the cause – of bad things that happen in Latin America. “Corruption is a distortion of the bad institutional framework – of the high cost of legality.”
He reported that the last two elections in Peru have produced no change in spite of rhetoric. He stated a well-known fact (at least for libertarians): “Concentration of power itself can change your psyche.”
The People of Venezuela
An announcement was made just before the first session of the day by José Cordeiro about a declaration of censure of the government of Venezuela. He read a draft Alberto Mansueti had prepared – a declaration about the situation in Venezuela. Signed July 31st, 2002 in Puerto Vallarta, it decries socialism which had led to catastrophic failure. He stated that the only solution is a libertarian one with limited government, free markets and social institutions independent of power and politics.
Roberto Salinas León, vice president of TV Azteca describes his amazing grassroots outreach program to Puerto Vallarta news reporters.
I think it goes without saying that the “De Capital Importancia” educational outreach program of TV Azteca is the most ambitious and creative tool for the advancement of liberty that any of us have seen in our lifetimes. When we saw the first reports of this series we knew why it was referred to by Paul Harberger of the Foundation Francisco Marroquin as “John Stossel on steroids.”
Ricardo Valenzuela, who publishes a regular column (“Libertarian Reflections”) in El Economista introduced Roberto Salinas León, describing him as one of the brightest classical-liberal minds in Mexico – and TV Azteca of which Roberto is vice president, as “a powerhouse for libertarian ideas in Mexico.”
Roberto Salinas León, a graduate of Hillsdale College, is an economist and philosopher. He writes for the world’s major newspapers, including the Economist and Wall Street Journal. In 1982 he was an intern for US (libertarian) Congressman Ron Paul.
Roberto began: “In 1994 I keenly remember an address by Madsen Pirie of the Adam Smith Institute at the Cannes Mont Pelerin Society meeting. Madsen talked about how the historical turn of events as of 1989 (not only in Eastern Europe but around the world) gave us a vast amount of empirical evidence to supplement our conceptual arguments in favor of liberty. This should not be a time to drop our guard, but to attack full fledge against any remaining statist/Marxist residue throughout the world.”
Roberto agreed, but thought that he would like go one step further and take the battle out from the ivory towers of academia and reach ordinary people at the grassroots.
That same year Mexico privatized TV stations. Roberto’s cousin Ricardo Salinas Pliego, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Latin America, became president of TV Azteca. He is a great hero of the classical-liberal movement in Mexico, and TV Azteca under his presidency has become a major disseminator of liberal ideas in Mexico. He calls himself a “savage neo-liberal.”
Roberto Salinas León joined TV Azteca in 1997 when the project “De Capital Importancia” began. Just two years ago the Foundation Francisco Marroquin – and particularly Paul Harberger – were able to arrange a grant from the Bradley Foundation to support initial development of “De Capital Importancia”. It is now an independent operation.
So what is “De Capital Importancia”? It means “Capital Matters”.
“Capital is a condition for progress, indeed it is preeminent for progress,” he stated. “It also refers to matters of capital importance in public policy and the general intellectual environment.”
His objective was to create a virtual think-tank – one that exploits all media available to develop an outreach communication on behalf of liberty and open markets. Fundamentally it employs TV, but is complimented with radio, the Internet, popular press and conferences.
Roberto sees the project as a process of pure intellectual marketing and brand management.
He describes his organizational team as “Lean and mean,” with a support staff of three (Lila Silva, Maria Elena Martinez and Adolfo Chavezand) – and a network of associates which includes Ricardo Valenzuela, Manuel Suarez Mier (who also writes for “El Economista”) and Juan Carlos Leal.
One associate singled out for particularly high praise was Ricardo Medina. Roberto described him as Mexico’s equivalent to French classical-liberal giant Frédéric Bastiat. He was described as being wonderful at using irony, satire and wit in communicating classical-liberal ideas. We saw samples of this approach in the outstanding video presentation that Roberto showed during his speech. (We will definitely find out more about Medina and report in future issues of the Freedom Network News – Ed.).
A vast network of libertarian foundations has been able to help – with research materials from the Cato Institute, the Adam Smith Institute, the Foundation Francisco Marroquin, the Mont Pelerin Society, etc.
Their strategy is to take complex issues and reduce them to simple (not simplistic) terms that can be transformed into 2-minute TV editorials. They tell stories about property rights, sound money, fiscal discipline and about liberty in general – and there are spots dealing with specific issues (explaining how issues impact ordinary Mexicans).
At this point, TV Azteca is the 2nd largest TV network in Latin America reaching 30 million people nationwide per week and an average of 12 million people internationally. Moreover it has moved into the Hispanic market in the United States through Azteca America.
During the question and answer period Roberto was asked by José Cordeiro of Venezuela if “De Capital Importancia” was copyrighted. He answered that he didn’t believe in copyrights and anyone was welcome to reproduce the concept. We hope they do. This may be the answer to creating a grassroots groundswell for liberty in Latin America.
An Introduction To The
Philosophy Of Liberty
Those who have visited the ISIL website recently will have discovered the sensational new ten-minute flash animated introduction to the “Philosophy of Liberty” created jointly by ISIL Director Ken Schoolland of Hawaii and Kerry Pearson of Vancouver, Canada. The response we’ve received from this ingenious tool has been nothing short of amazing.
If you haven’t seen it yet click here. People all around the world have expressed their delight over this presentation calling it “brilliant”, “innovative” and have linked to this file from their sites – or have installed it on their own sites.
The first suggestion was that it be translated into other languages. No sooner said than done. Kerry attended the Puerto Vallarta conference under an ISIL scholarship and showed the animation to the audience. As a result, he collaborated with Alvaro Feuerman Claros of Argentina to produce it in Spanish – a trial version of which was premiered as a PowerPoint presentation following Roberto Salinas León’s speech – much to the delight of those present.
A Portuguese version is in the works and Louise Zizka of Vancouver, Canada has just completed a French translation.
Congratulations Ken, Kerry, Alvaro, Louise!
Freedom In The 3rd World
ISIL Director Mary Ruwart delivers an audio-visual presentation on the effects of taxes and regulations on economic development.
ISIL Director Mary Ruwart was formerly a research scientist for a large pharmaceutical company and a professor of surgery. She has been listed in “Who’s Who of Outstanding Men and Women of Science” and is currently a consultant to scientists.
In this excellent presentation, Mary provided an audio-visual presentation in which she demonstrated the relationship between economic freedom and wealth creation – and the detrimental effects of taxes and regulation.
There is indeed a direct correlation.
The Cato Journal reported that when government spending hits from 60 to 80% of GDP, wealth creation goes negative. She gave examples, including Sweden where high rates of government spending have dropped economic growth from 4.9% in the 70s to 0.5% today.
She also showed the destructive effect of government regulatory control. Regulations destroy jobs. Every regulator destroys approximately 150 jobs. Also employment growth goes down in tandem with increased income taxes.
Mary showed how reduced tariffs and trade restrictions resulted in significant increases in employment in those countries that freed trade.
And of course property rights are essential. As Hernando de Soto noted in his remarkable book The Mystery of Capital, establishing property rights in poor countries so that peasants could have title to their land would free billions in capital.
The message to the developing world: “Be free and grow rich.”
Fights City Hall and Wins
1st Nations woman Meaghan Walker-Williams (Canada) tells of her fight with political corruption in her tribe.
Meaghan Walker Williams is a First Nations woman, a single mother and a tribal political activist in British Columbia, Canada. She and her grandfather founded the Somena Governance Society as the first of its kind “watch dog” group for their Band government. In recent years she has been busy promoting the Salish Free Trade model(an economic free zone on Indian territory).
Meaghan began with a short lecture on the 10,000 year history of the Coast Salish people. At one time the tribe boasted a population of 35,000 to 40,000 people, but by 1901 population was down to 200 people in her Cowichan area – decimated by disease brought by the European settlers. An excellent mini-history of the region.
In 1763 King George issued a Royal Proclamation protecting the rights of native peoples in British Columbia. But rights were not respected and attempts were made to stamp out Indian culture – particularly by religious schools that took Indian children from their homes to distant schools and punished them if they used their language or practiced any of their tribal cultural traditions. Suicide rates among these children ran as high as 75%.
This was the historical background. But today Meaghan has been occupied with rooting out corruption in tribal government. There are reports on this both in past Freedom Network News and on this website.
The latest confrontation revolved around the tribal government’s imposition of an illegal 7% tax on alcohol, fuel and tobacco. This in spite of numerous tax revolts. The tribal government continues to do as it wishes.
The Somenans are not much smitten with taxes. As a matter of fact, there is no word in their language for such things. The closest they come to it equates to the English word “stealing.”
Tribal law requires that any tax measure must be OKed by a majority of the tribe in a referendum, but the council rammed it through anyway without a vote.
Abner Thorn, a tribal elder even questioned the morality of a vote.
“This is an individual right” he said, “I don’t want my rights to be voted on.”
The latest development is that a majority think that there is no hope in dealing with the corrupt political establishment and as a result a move is being made to secede from the Coast Salish tribe.
Meaghan thanked ISIL and specifically ISIL president Vince Miller and Mary Lou Gutscher for providing on-going moral support (and financial help from ISIL). She also expressed gratitude for legal assistance provided by David Friedman who visited her tribe and helped with the drafting of legal papers.
An excellent tape.
Of Successful Projects
Mary Lou Gutscher arranged and chaired this session so that those individuals engaged in think-tanks or educational organizations would be able to glean some knowledge on organization and fundraising from successful individuals and organizations.
Louis James, president of FreeMarket.net stressed that you want to do good marketing and stake out a unique market position. Do something that others aren’t doing – something that people will value. If you can’t do that, he said, join and support a group that does. Lastly he stressed: don’t be afraid to ask for money.
Manuel Ayau, the founder of Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala stres-sed that to be effective you should feature “rights” arguments in the field of law. He said the economic arguments for free societies are important and should be done – but that to succeed you must make effective moral arguments and communicate effectively at the emotional level.
Doug Casey again stressed foundations: “Because it will deny that much in the way of resources to the state that they would otherwise have stolen in taxes.”
He thought that putting money into productive enterprises was the best strategy. In closing he added, “Expatriate your money and yourself.
Martin Krause provided a short history of the ESEADE grad school for business administration & economics in Buenos Aires. It began 25 years ago and Martin has been involved for the last 12 years. He was appointed Dean in January of this year. Martin noted that on the wall of the school there’s a subscription: “Minds are like parachutes – they only work when they are open.”
“We accomplish this,” he remarked, “with a strong dose of Human Action, Murray Rothbard, and the philosophy of freedom.”
As with Manuel Ayau, he stressed staking out a unique market position as a provider of the very best quality education.
Mary Lou recapped: “Produce the best product possible, offer a unique product, and market, market, market – particularly on the Internet.”
From left to right: (standing) José Luis Barcarce (from Atlas del Sud, Argentina); Juan Ricardo Fernandez (founder of the Association of Free Consumers – Costa Rica); Vince Miller (ISIL President); Carlos Herrera (newly-elected Movimiento Libertario Congressman – Costa Rica) and Santos Mercado Reyes (Professor of Economics at Metropolitan Autonomous University – Mexico – and one of the essay contest judges).
This session featured Costa Rican Congressman Carlos Herrera (President of the Budget Committee of the Costa Rican Congress), Juan Ricardo Fernandez, and Rigoberto Stewart. Carlos Herrera spoke in Spanish and had his remarks translated by Rigoberto Stewart.
Carlos began by thanking ISIL for the world conference held in San José, Costa Rica in 1999 and the 20th Anniversary world conference held in London, Ontario, Canada. Carlos attended both and said the experience was invaluable in helping him get into the philosophy of liberty. He also thanked his close friend Juan Ricardo Fernandez, who five years earlier had introduced Carlos to the Movimiento Libertario and the ideas of liberty. Juan has been providing moral support ever since.
We all know that the Movimiento Libertario elected its first congressman (Otto Guevara) on Feb 3 of 1998. In following years Otto was named “Congressman of the Year” for three straight years – both in public polls and by the Costa Rican media!
In the elections early this year, the Costa Rican libertarians decided to concentrate their resources on legislative seats instead of Otto’s presidential campaign. As a result, six members were elected (out of a legislature of 57).
Carlos with great pride noted that in keeping with the party policies, elected members of the Movimiento Libertario have refused the normal perks of cell-phones, cars or chauffeurs – or pork-barrel spending. They also refused government funding for their election effort.
Carlos predicted that the next four years will be crucial. They are expected to negotiate regarding legislation with the main political parties. But he was very emphatic that there could be no negotiation on the party’s libertarian principles. “The day we abandon our principles we will be just like the others. I’d rather see the party die than renege on principles,” he emphasized.
Juan Ricardo Fernandez, one of the organizers of the 1999 ISIL conference in San José, Costa Rica has just formed a new think-tank called the Association of Free Consumers. He said, “Otto has been fighting the political establishments for 4 years and there were many 56 to 1 votes” (similar to Ron Paul’s experience in the US Congress. Ed.) we need to back up Movimiento Libertario representatives at the grassroots level.
To eliminate state monopolies in energy, telecommunications, insurance and other sectors requires a grassroots educational movement. Juan Ricardo will be concentrating much of his energy in educating young people in the high schools and universities on the principles of liberty.
Saturino Borhorquez Speaks
ISIL Director El Jefe General Saturino Bohorquez (alias John McClaughry) delivers his plans for Nueva Prosperidad.
The last session before the closing banquet was a delectible dessert to top off a spectacular day. John McClaughry (former State Senator R-VT) and high-level advisor to Ronald Reagan, delivered a hilarious skit as a reformed banana-republic dictator. Strutting to the fore in a military uniform, hat and boots, with a wide red sash and jangling medals, he must have been a sight for the locals. He renamed his country “Nueva Prosperidad” and rhymed off the libertarian reforms that would bring prosperity.
After taking over the country he said he locked up the crooked leaders. “What did I do with them? I put them in the Central Bank vault – because it was empty!! (except for a bunch of mortgages made payable to the IMF). I left the leaders in there until they were forced to eat the mortgage deeds . . . which gave them the runs (bank runs). I may have discovered a new disease. Bohorquez’s Revenge.”
All good satirical fun. Buy the tape – it’s a hoot.
The closing banquets are always highly enjoyable and emotional events, as the participants celebrate a great conference and enjoy the festive environment with newfound friends.
Jim Davidson, the business partner in the Somalian ventures of ISIL Advisory Board member Michael van Notten who passed away a few months ago, led off the evening by delivering a poem-obituary in honor of Michael (see obituary in this issue of the FNN)
Then George Sherman read a formal declaration of support for Meaghan Walker Williams and her fight against political corruption in her tribe: “A Declaration of Support in the struggle for liberty of the ancient sovereign 1st Nation’s people of Coast Salish territory.”
Foro Libre president Edgar Piña Ortiz announced the names of the winners of the essay contest he had organized last year. The contest was run jointly by Foro Libre and ISIL and the essays were to be based on impressions of either Ken Schoolland’s The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible or Hernando de Soto’s The Mystery of Capital. Judges were Edgar Piña Ortiz, Judy Nagy, Ken Schoolland, Santos Mercado Reyes and Alfredo Morales.
Hermosillo, Sonora State, Mexico.
The winner of the “Gold” award was Carlos Francisco Mendoza for his essay entitled: “Ensayo sobre el libro Las Aventuras de Jonathan Gullible”.
Mendoza is a 22 year-old student at CESUES (Centro de Estudios Superiores del Estado de Sonora), in Hermosillo, Mexico, where he is studying International Business.
Click here to read Carlos Mendoza’s essay (in Spanish)
Buenos Aires Argentina.
The winner of the “Silver” award was Alvaro Feuerman Claros for his essay entitled “Ensayo Acerca del Libro El Misterio del Capital por Hernando de Soto.”
Alvaro has a Masters Degree in Economics and Business Administration from ESEADE, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Click here to read Alvaro Feuerman Claros’s essay (in Spanish)
The winner of the “Bronze” award was Charles Lam for his essay based on Hernando de Soto’s book: “A personal perspective and impression on The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism triumphs in the West and fails everywhere else.”
Lam has an Executive MBA Degree from IMADEC University, Vienna, Austria. He also has a Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology. He is currently working for a research institution in Vienna, Austria.
Click here to read Charles Lam’s essay (in English)
ISIL president Vince Miller then presented the awards: A 1-oz. Gold Eagle coin to Carlos Francisco Mendoza and a 1-oz Silver Eagle coin to Alvaro Feuerman Claros. Unfortunately Charles Lam had conflicts in his academic schedule and could not attend.
The “Gold” and “Silver” awards included air travel from Hermosillo to Puerto Vallarta for Carlos and from Buenos Aires for Alvaro. Both were also awarded ISIL scholarships to cover all expenses for the conference.
Ken Schoolland then presented an autographed copy of The Adventures of Jonathan Gullible to Carlos and Vince Miller presented an autographed copy of Hernando de Soto’s Mystery of Capital to Alvaro. Another autographed copy of the Mystery of Capital was later sent to Charles Lam in Austria.
Lam incidentally has been given a rain check on a scholarship for the Puerto Vallarta conference that he may apply to next year’s conference in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Congratulations Carlos, Alvaro, Charles!
Manuel (Muso) Ayau says a few words of thanks at the gala closing banquet – upon being awarded the ISIL Freedom Torch medal for outstanding contributions to the cause of liberty.
A definite highlight of the gala banquet was the awarding of ISIL’s Freedom Torch medal which is awarded to outstanding individuals who have contributed greatly to the cause of liberty and the international movement. Past winners have included Leon Louw and Frances Kendall, Hubert and Rita Jongen, Leonard Liggio, Karl Hess, Robert Poole, Jr.; Bruce Evoy, John Hospers, and Rigoberto Stewart.
ISIL president Vince Miller then made the announcement and presented the medal to Manuel (Muso) Ayau. Judging from the long applause and outpouring of affection for Muso, the ISIL Board decision to name him the winner was well founded.
Muso is without doubt one of the more heroic figures in the fight to bring liberal values to Latin America. Speaker after speaker at this conference recognized Muso as a mentor. Roberto Salinas honored Muso, saying that the Francisco Marroquin University is of enormous importance and that now it will serve as a template for 21st century free-market universities in Latin America.
The impact Muso has had is enormous. In the tax revolt, general uprising and general strike that occurred in Guatemala last year (over the imposition of new taxes – at the urging of the IMF and the US government) – an attack launched from the US Embassy in Guatemala City focused on Francisco Marroquin University and Muso. The Embassy statement blamed the trouble for “the economic philosophy of the Austrian-school economists Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich von Hayek” which has taken root in a local university. The report continued with alarm: “These extreme views would have little practical effect if they only reflected the opinions of a few individuals. But ironically, as the threat from the left has receded, the libertarian view has gained strength and has become unquestioned dogma.”
When his institution and ideas were blamed for the raging political uprising that included businessmen, academics, students and even labor, Muso didn’t back down. He stated very plainly that the ideas he holds are the same as those of America’s Founding Fathers. The real scandal, he said is that the US is now trying to work against those ideas in the tax policy it is pushing on the world.”
Saying such things, especially during times when all the powers of the State were marshaled against him, took great courage.
So we salute you Muso. A free and prosperous Latin America may well be your legacy.
In Latin America
Just before the banquet, when speaker Roberto Salinas León was introduced by Muso, Vince Miller announced that there were two famous birthdays to be celebrated that day. One was for Milton Friedman, who celebrated his 90th birthday that day (July 31st) and the other was Roberto Salinas’s which was to occur the next day on August 1st. The assemblage sang Happy Birthday to both heroes.
Roberto began by saying, “All of us are children and grandchildren of Milton Friedman. It’s such an honor to speak here on the event of his 90th birthday.”
He continued: “In 1942 Ludwig von Mises published a paper on Mexico (re-discovered by Carolina Bolivar 5 or 6 years ago). Basically he said what Mexico and Latin America needed most was economic liberty.
“Times are changing rapidly. A moment like this – celebrating Muso – celebrating Milton Friedman – holding this type of conference would be absolute heresy to be held in Puerto Vallarta. There have been great changes. The liberal movement was underground 20 years ago. It used to be promoted by pamphlets, secret communiqués – sometimes coded communiqués – because of the fear of what government would do to you. So here we are speaking on TV, radio and newspapers, holding conferences. Is there a long road ahead? Yes there is. Have we come a long way? I think we would have to recognize that.
“There have been other changes throughout Latin America. Perhaps this has led some representatives of the other side to endorse fiscal discipline – such as Ricardo Lago in Chile for instance. It’s instructive to note that someone who belonged to the far-left team of Salvador Allende is now saying things like: ‘Discipline in public finances is a condition of successful government – not a matter of ideological dispute.’ This definitely was not the case 20 years ago.
“Ideas have consequences. There’s cause for cautious optimism.”
Liberty Foundation in Madrid
Roberto announced that this October an initiative has been launched to form an international foundation for liberty dedicated to spreading the ideas of liberty to the Spanish-speaking world. Headquartered in Madrid and the USA, it is designed to act as an umbrella group for organizations throughout Latin America. It is headed by Peruvian legend and possibly the greatest living Latin American author, Mario Vargas Llosa. Also on his team is ISIL Peruvian Rep Enrique Ghersi. (we will definitely keep our members posted on this development – Ed.)
Roberto closed with quotes from both Milton Friedman and Ludwig von Mises.
Milton Friedman in his last visit to Mexico in Alamos, Sonora State, stated that the destiny of Latin American countries lies within Mexico and Latin America, and is not a function of the IMF or World Bank. It lies within their own internal conditions.”
This is also the thought that Mises articulated back in 1942:
Sixty years ago Mises said, “I have no doubt that Latin Americans have the creativity and spirit of hard-working entrepreneurs. Their cultural and historical achievements deserve the praise of observers. Their workers can be as efficient and successful as any in the industrial world.”
Thanks to Edgar Piña Jr. for his work in organizing the conference and introducing some of the speakers. Edgar is also webmaster for Foro Libre and is creator, manager and photographer of the first Fashion and Beauty website in Mexico.
ISIL Director Ken Schoolland and conference co-organizer Richard Foss congratulate La Jolla de Mismaloyo hotel sales manager and liaison person Susana Ramirez for her outstanding help in making the conference run smoothly. Ken has just presented her with a complimentary autographed copy of the Adventures of Jonathan Gullible.
Along with the main organizers already mentioned, thanks are also due to the following participants who pitched in as volunteers and helped make the ISIL/Foro Libre conference in Puerto Vallarta such a success. Louise Zizka, Edgar Piña, Jr.; Paul Beith, Jim Lathrop, Mary Ruwart, Ray Carr, Sharmila Rao, Dean Pence, Per Bylund, Neal Lock, Li and Kenli Schoolland, Carlos Mendoza, Alvaro Feuerman and José Luis Barcarce.
Thanks also to Scholarship Chairman Richard Venable, who handled extensive communications and scholarship selections with dozens of applicants from all over the world. An enormous job.
And a special thanks to Mary Lou Gutscher who performed brilliantly as master of ceremonies for the entire conference. Thanks also to volunteer/assistant Louise Zizka – seen here managing the registration table.
Many thanks and appreciation to co-sponsor Carlos Ball and the Foro Latinoamericano foundation for covering air travel expenses from Buenos Aires to Puerto Vallarta for Dr. Martin Krause.
Foro Latinoamericano under Carlos Ball’s directorship maintains an extensive speakers bureau of top classical-liberal speakers and is a major player in the advancement of the ideas of freedom in Latin America.
Puerto Vallarta showed once again the important role that ISIL’s world conferences have played as a catalyst for the worldwide development of the liberty movement.
In 2003, we will return to the ex-communist region of Europe, with the ISIL World Conference being held in the beautiful old capital of Vilnius, Lithuania from July 7 to 11. The Baltic states have made a remarkable transformation from communism (but there is always more to be done). ISIL’s energetic Rep Virgis Daukas and his colleagues will be the hosts. Lithuania has a fast-growing liberty movement, so this should be another exciting event.