Countries throughout Latin America face unique policy environments, but their strategies for protecting liberty are widely applicable. The annual Latin America Liberty Forum, held this year on May 3–4 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, provided an opportunity to share and celebrate the best ideas and accomplishments of Atlas Network partners throughout the region. This year’s Latin America Liberty Awards honored work from Instituto de Estudos Empresariais in Brazil for its 29-year Liberty Forum, Fundación Eléutera in Honduras for its success in reforming tax and business regulations, and my organization Centro de Divulgacion del Conocimiento Economico para la Libertad (CEDICE Freedom) in Venezuela for its Watchdog for Freedom and Democracy. 

Giannina Raffo of CEDICE in Venezuela, Rocio Guijarro Saucedo of CEDICE, and Atlas Network President Alex Chafuen. Credits: Atlas Network

Francisco de Vitoria Award for Ethics and Values

The Watchdog for Freedom and Democracy in Venezuela is a project in which I have been working for the past 3 years with CEDICE Freedom. It have been my inspiration. By monitoring high government spending, private property violations, abuses of individual rights in Venezuela, the Watchdog for Freedom and Democracy provides a vehicle to alert citizens and instill a public conscience regarding their freedom. The watchdog program contains an economic-legislative observatory, which contributes to improving the democratic dialogue in Venezuela and analyzes the impact of economic regulations; a property rights observatory, which identifies and categorizes every type of violation against private property in Venezuela; and a public expenditure observatory, which aims to improve transparency and quality of information in the disclosure of government spending. CEDICE Freedom’s watchdog program has trained more than 1,500 people in its workshops, including 53 members of the National Assembly and 31 councillors and mayors. It has also generated significant legislator interest in its “Organic Law of Promotion and Defense of the Private Property” proposal, and attracted more than 3,500 media hits despite widespread government media control.

The future of Latin America

Mario Vargas Llosa, the famed Peruvian Nobel laureate in literature (and my favorite writer) provided welcoming remarks at the Thursday luncheon, as well as speaking at a special dinner held after the afternoon sessions ended.

Giannina Raffo of CEDICE Freedom, Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa (second from right), and Rocio Guijarro Saucedo of CEDICE Freedom. Credits: Atlas Network.

“Despite the situation in Venezuela, we should not be pessimistic about the future of Latin America,” Llosa said in his concluding remarks (translated from Spanish). “If we do the math, it’s clear that the region is better off than it was in decades past. … I think that the future of Latin America is shaping up every day to be more and more like the future we all dreamed about, a continent of freedom and democracy where individuals and families can reach their dreams.”

Check out my Facebook Live with Vargas Llosa’s speech:

A personal note

I’m so proud to be part of this amazing movement—the movement of Freedom. I like to say that you get to be more authentic the more you become like what you have dreamed of yourself, and I always dreamed about a country were we can be happy and free.

¡Gracias totales, Atlas Network!

“… Y CEDICE Libertad ha recogido aquella antorcha de la lucha por las ideas de libre mercado, ya no en medio de burlas y desprecio, sino como vehículo de divulgación de ideas cuyo tiempo ha llegado y que ya nadie puede ignorar ni podrá detener”— Carlos Rangel

¡Por una #Venezuela LIBRE! ??

You can read more here – Original content by Atlas Network.