Liberland Shows How Honduras Can Attract Job Creators

ZEDEs Can Tap Into the Best of Popular Discontent

A most extraordinary thing is happening in the former Yugoslavia right now. A purported micro-nation has sprung up, and is attracting huge interest. Liberland is a three-square-mile territory on the banks of the Danube between Croatia and Serbia. This small plot of land at present has no clear claim from either country, and Czech Libertarian politician Vít Jedlička has stepped up to claim it as Liberland.

The new micro nation of Liberland has aleady attracted 160,000 applications for citizenship. (Students for Liberty CZ)

The new micronation of Liberland has aleady attracted 160,000 applications for citizenship. (Students for Liberty CZ)

Even by Mr Jedlička’s own admission, this started as somewhat of a publicity stunt. What’s more, there is as yet no constitution, and it mustn’t be overlooked that at any moment Croatia or Serbia could attempt to claim it as their own.

Yet, despite these problems, the response has been immense. At the time of this writing, they claim over 160,000 applications for citizenship, in just five days. Judging by the buzz on social media and coverage from the mainstream press, this could well be true.

[Read more…]

Mr. Libertarian Walter Block Endorses Rand Paul for President

Other Candidates "Not Even Close" Says Anarcho-Capitalist Stalwart

EspañolWhether he wanted it or not, US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) now has the backing of one of libertarianism’s most strident and prominent academics as he campaigns for the presidency. Walter Block, the longtime anarcho-libertarian and Austrian-school economist, released a 1,400-word comment via Facebook this Saturday evening, entitled “The Libertarian Case for Rand Paul.”

“I stand with Rand,” he wrote, “and I urge my fellow libertarians, particularly those who have been most dismissive of him, to reconsider their position on this man.”

[Read more…]

The Code of Free Men and Women

Will You Take an Oath for Liberty?

I am a free person; I am born into liberty as a natural consequence of my existence.

My well-being is my responsibility; I will not ask others to work on my behalf, nor tolerate those who seek to force me to work on theirs. I am responsible for the things I do and those things that I fail to do, the choices I make and those I fail to make. I will choose to give or not to give to charity, and how and when and to whom and why.

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Puerto Rico: Micro-Independence Revisited

Freedom Is Only a Tiny Caribbean Islet Away

The Grenadines' Happy Island: a model for the next step in Puerto Rico's independence? (Wikimedia)

The Grenadines’ Happy Island: a model for the next step in Puerto Rico’s independence? (Wikimedia)

EspañolA new island has sprung up from the azure waters of the Grenadines. It’s called “Happy Island.” The tiny spit of land, measuring just a few square feet, is home to a bar and grill, and the house of its sole owner, Janti Ramage.

Ramage and a few volunteers began to build the islet in 2002 entirely out of local and natural materials, with Conch shells discarded by fishermen being the primary building material. He then built a small structure on top of the new landmass, and kept adding to it, until it became his home.

Janti is a true capitalist, even though he may not call himself one. He had an idea, he made it a reality, and now he profits from it financially. His guests also benefit from visiting and trying his famous rum punch.

He’s also a perfect example of what’s wrong with the Puerto Rico independence movement.

[Read more…]

Why Argentina Is Waging War on Citibank

Financial Institution Stuck Between a Rock and a Hard Place

EspañolThe key date was January 1, 2015. This marked the expiry of the infamous RUFO clause which, according to the Argentinean government, preventing it from negotiating with creditors it had kept at arms length in the 2005 and 2010 processes of restructuring the biggest default in history, worth US $100 billion.

Speculation abounded that the government of Cristina Kirchner would reach a deal with the so-called vulture funds in early 2014, bringing to an end a judicial conflict aired in New York and recovering access to the international capital market, and securing vital supplies of the much-needed greenback.

(Contacto y negocios)

Argentina brought Citibank to trial on April 8 for having signed a deal with US judge Thomas Griesa over payments to holdouts. (Contacto y negocios)

But more than 90 days after D-Day, such a scenario continues to be a remote prospect. Argentina continues to be on the blacklist, after a US judge ordered the government to pay “holdout” funds before continuing to pay for debt restructuring. But negotiation with vulture funds isn’t part of the official agenda. To the contrary, Kirchnerista officials haven’t hesitated to brand the negotiator designated by the New York tribunal “one vulture more,” in the words of Economy Vice Minister Emanuel Alvarez Agis in April.

Since the declaration of default last year, vulture funds have become one of the principal subjects of Kirchner’s fiery speeches. Ahead of the imminent end of an era — the current president’s term will conclude on December 10 — the government has converted a conflict over debt into a national campaign: “Fatherland or Vultures,” is the stark choice offered by a campaign rolled out last year in the streets of Buenos Aires.

Rand Paul to Young Activists: Let’s Fix the Broken GOP

Presidential Hopeful Stops Off in California to Fire Up Local Supporters

Senator Rand Paul meets young supporters at a campaign stop in Irvine, CA. (Alice Salles)

Senator Rand Paul meets young supporters at a campaign stop in Irvine, CA. (Alice Salles)

On his way to Las Vegas to wrap up the opening week of his candidacy, US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) took a detour to a state where Republican candidates have often experienced major difficulties with the electorate.

“I think living in California, you know how hard it is for a Republican to win, right?” asked Paul to a crowd of about 100 activists who showed up at the headquarters of Entrepreneur Magazine in Irvine at 7:30am on April 13 to meet with the candidate.

“Some of that is because the brand is broken. So what I say is, we have to believe in what we believe in, but we [also] have to expand the audience and be willing to listen to it.”

With his inclusive tone, Paul urged activists to transform the Republican Party. Going beyond their support for the Second Amendment is part of it. To him, the GOP must become “the party of the entire Bill of Rights,” a sentiment Paul had already shared with Sean Hannity promptly after his 2016 announcement.

[Read more…]

Eduardo Galeano: Reluctant Hero of Latin-American Populists

Uruguayan Writer Inspired with 1971 Work, Only to Later Recant

Galeano reconoció que se había quedado obsoleto, dinamitando su propia estatua.

Galeano publicly criticized his seminal 1971 work, Open Veins of Latin America, in 2014. (Libre Red)

EspañolWas it coincidence, one of those ironies of fate, or a whim of the gods, that Günter Grass and Eduardo Galeano died within a few hours of each other on Monday?

The Uruguayan, a Montevideo resident born and bred, just like the German native of Gdansk (another historic and often fought-over port city), was of the class of heroes that, in the words of another immortal wordsmith — Gabriel García Márquez, in The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor — had “the courage to dynamite his own statue.”

Galeano, of course, didn’t have the same literary status as Grass or García Márquez, both winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was more a journalist to the left, devoted to his scribblings, the author of endearing books like Days and Nights of Love and War, a chronicle of his exile in the Caracas of the 1970s, and We Say No, a long-form piece of reportage on how Uruguay’s military leaders lost the referendum that returned the country to democracy in the 1980s. He wrote with a delicate and light prose, in many ways similar to that of his countryman and colleague Mario Benedetti.

[Read more…]

Maduro the Black Sheep in Panama

Bulletproof Vest, Body Double Couldn't Save President from Ridicule

Como "injerencia" fue calificada por medios y ciudadanos panameños el uso los caídos en El Chorrillo en el discurso de Nicolás Maduro (Telemetro)

Panamanian citizens and media criticized Maduro’s visit to a monument to those killed in the 1989 US invasion of Panama, and his mention of of it in his speech to the Summit, for political purposes. (PensandoAmericas)

EspañolSummits aren’t as useful as they say: they don’t change destinies, influence decisions, or promote public policies. Nor do they build bridges between countries.

But they are useful spaces to observe how political forces measure up, how the chess pieces are aligned, and where the represented countries stand in the court of public opinion.

Last week’s Summit of Americas didn’t fail to disappoint, providing spectacle in the form of a love-in between Cuban dictator Raúl Castro and US President Barack Obama, and pathos in the form of the awkward guest, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

Obama’s about-turn in US foreign policy towards Cuba, welcomed by Castro as a historic turning point, has disarmed the ideological justification of countries such a Venezuela for their outdated policy of socialism in the 21st century. The days of their “anti-imperialist” campaign, presenting the North American giant as responsible all their domestic failings, are numbered. [Read more…]

Brazil’s Media Are Clueless about Rand Paul

Outlets Stuck in Left-Right Paradigm Misrepresent True GOP Outsider

PortuguêsEspañolFirst-term US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) announced on Tuesday, April 7, that he will seek the Republican nomination to run for president.

Young people of differing backgrounds and ethnic origins attended his speech, which fired up the crowd with its promise to end massive surveillance, conduct a more pragmatic foreign policy, and reform policies that have a disproportionately negative impact on minorities.

rand-paul-brasil-3

The press in Brazil struggles to fit Paul in the left-right paradigm. (@DrRandPaul)

Unlike current President Obama, who as candidate and former senator resorted to a more conciliatory rhetoric to appeal to a larger section of the public, Senator Paul actually has a record as a legislator that backs his promises.

During his time in the Senate, Obama abstained from voting on controversial legislation or bills that had strong bipartisan support — 130 times. Rand Paul, on the other hand, has chosen to sidestep on such issues only on 41 occasions.

[Read more…]

Uruguay’s Selective Amnesia on Migration

Xenophobia Flies in the Face of Our History, Values

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President Tabaré Vázquez has withdrawn Uruguay’s warm welcome for Syrian refugees amid public pressure. (Flickr)

Immigration is a fundamental part of Uruguay’s history, but many seem to have forgotten where we started as a country.

The first Europeans to arrive in what we now know as Uruguay, back in 1516, were essentially the crew of navigator and explorer Juan Diaz de Solís.

The arrival of the first Iberian settlers was a trickle that soon become a wave. Between 1860 and 1920, some 600,000 immigrants arrived in Uruguay, mainly from Spain and Italy. To put this in perspective, the current population of Uruguay is only some 3.3 million individuals. Beyond the statistics are thousands of families and cultural influences that made us who we are today.

It was this multiculturalism that allowed Uruguay to become one of the region’s most liberal countries: it was secular by 1918 and women could vote in 1917. Unfortunately, it seems as though minds aren’t so open when immigrants don’t come from Western Europe.

In October 2014, the widely popular former president of Uruguay, José Mujica, received a group of 42 Syrian refugees, mostly children, as part of a pioneering program to help families fleeing war, extreme poverty, and homelessness. It was, undoubtedly, a compassionate thing to do. 
Another 72 refugees were expected to arrive last February, but it never happened. [Read more…]