The State of Liberty in Argentina:

Entrevista a Alejandro Chafuén: Publicada el 23/1/15 en:


As the scandal over the shooting of Alberto Nisman unfolds, we ask Alejandro Chafuen about the circumstances facing the pro-liberty movement in the country. Chafuen, a U.S. citizen who was born in Argentina, is the head of the Atlas Network, a nonprofit that supports the work of classical liberal think tanks and organizations around the world. Many of those groups operate in very difficult political environments.

InsiderOnline: What can you tell us about how Argentinian pro-liberty activists and organizations are responding to the crisis in their country?

Alejandro Chafuen: Argentine pro-liberty activists respond with a sense of awe and impotence. Unfortunately, many Argentine pro-liberty activists are divided and have been speaking mostly to themselves or to their foreign freedom activists, like you and me, rather than to their neighbors. So they do not have much political weight. Two exceptions are Agustin Etchebarne, leader of the think tank Libertad y Progreso, and Marcos Hilding Ohlsson, a city councilman in the San Isidro district. They have been marching and denouncing what is going on; most important, they are inclusive and strategic in their efforts. When the death of the prosecutor was announced, some of my friends at first were pointing at a potential cover-up, even accusing the main opposition leader, Mauricio Macri, who is head of the government of the city of Buenos Aires. Now there is a sense that the only ones who deserve major blame and scrutiny is the current national government and its Iranian allies.

IO: What should the Argentinian pro-liberty movement do now?

AC: We should be ruthless in exposing those who “deal with the devil.” There are always a sufficient number of multinationals and crony capitalists lining up to do business with crooked governments. And we should not speak with general statements; we should name names. In Argentina, for every Shell, whose CEO has consistently defied the government, there are many Chevrons, ready to do business with the government. Argentines now have proof about how their government and the Iranians play a double game—one “official”pour la gallerie, and the other, behind the table.

In the short term we should make a push for exposure and transparency, and seek independent investigations and removal of those responsible; but as culpability reaches the president, it will not be easy. I do not think they have the votes for impeachment. In the medium and long term, they will have to work better to build consensus seeking more internal and external allies.

It is amazing that coincidently the Obama administration is trying to cozy up to Iran and to oppose the sanctions recommended by the Congress. It gives Argentine pro-liberty activists the image that the United States is beginning to suffer from the same double speak and hypocrisy as Argentina.

IO: What can those outside the country do to help?

AC: Many international bodies are run by the representatives of crooked governments; some of us, especially those gathered at the Fundación Internacional para la Libertad (International Freedom Foundation) headed by Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa, have been drafting plans to create a shadow international court that would help tell the world how honorable and learned civilized leaders see the abuses—and not only in Argentina, but in Cuba, Venezuela, and the rest of the Americas. We need something similar for the world. Bodies such as the Organization of American States, the United Nations, and the World Economic Forum have failed to promote transparency.

We have many, many political prisoners in Latin America. I have written about Leopóldo López and the courageous Venezuelan students. I have also written about how CEDICE continues to work for freedom in Venezuela despite a terrible environment and constant threats. International support from pro-liberty groups in the United States is essential. It helps strengthen not only the ideas but even the spiritual drive of pro-liberty activists.


Alejandro A. Chafuén es Dr. En Economía por el International College de California. Licenciado en Economía, (UCA), es miembro del comité de consejeros para The Center for Vision & Values, fideicomisario del Grove City College, y presidente de la Atlas Economic Research Foundation. Se ha desempeñado como fideicomisario del Fraser Institute desde 1991. Fue profesor de ESEADE.

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