Smokers Must Unite against Control-Freak Bureaucrats

Misguided Fears of Second-Hand Smoke Inflate the Nanny State

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute study shows no link between second-hand smoke and cancer.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute found no link between second-hand smoke and cancer. (Julian Carvajal)

Ebola, ISIS, Boko Haram, global economic crises, homelessness, rogue states with nuclear weapons: which of these issues is so important that the United Nations is pushing for a new tax to help pay to deal with the problem? None. They’re going after cigarettes, again.

In a secret session, the United Nations’ health wing, the World Health Organization (WHO), resolved to increase taxes on cigarettes worldwide. The Washington Times reports that the United States did not participate in the meeting, held in Moscow, as a protest against Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine.

An interesting footnote to the meeting: the press were barred from entering the room. I guess something as important as global taxation on cigarettes must be a very sensitive topic. The proposal could result in a sharp increase in taxes and the price of cigarettes in all major nations, excluding only the United States, Switzerland, and Indonesia.

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For-Profit Innovation Will Unravel Higher-Education Status Quo

Accountability to Customers? What a Novel Idea

EspañolWith college students back in classes and student debt continuing to top out US$1 trillion nationwide, the market for college appears to be at its peak. It’s easier than ever to get a student loan, and colleges frequently run commercials on television and radio stations informing listeners of the importance of getting a college degree.

Despite this rise in commercialization of schooling, however, more and more potential students are questioning whether or not the debt is really worth it.

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A Virgin Libertarian’s SFL-Immersion Experience

Beyond Politics to Live and Let Live

Tom Palmer of the Atlas Network signs copies of After the Welfare State for student attendees. (EsLibertad Facebook)

Tom Palmer of the Atlas Network signs copies of After the Welfare State for student attendees. (EsLibertad Facebook)

EspañolI don’t know much about libertarianism. I assume that comes as a surprise, given that I am a full-time employee of the PanAm Post, but my interest in the job is more journalistic than political.

That being said, I am fascinated by all types of political thought, and I have become increasingly interested in libertarianism over my past two months on staff.

When the opportunity came to attend the 2014 Students for Liberty (SFL) Latin America Conference in Guatemala City, I didn’t hesitate. I figured the three-day event, hosted by Francisco Marroquín University, would be the ideal crash-course in all things libertarian.

It wasn’t exactly what I expected.

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Brazil Must Choose Between Change and Continuity

Aécio Neves Presents Opportunity for the Emerging Brazilian Middle Class

EspañolBy María Fernanda Castillo

Aécio Neves rose from third place in the polls and will now challenge Brazil's president in a runoff election.

Aécio Neves rose from third place in the polls and will now challenge Brazil’s president in a runoff election. (Marcos Fernandes)

So far, the Brazilian presidential elections have truly been a roller coaster ride. Over the past few months, three candidates appeared to have the distinct possibility of winning. Despite the momentum that carried Marina Silva through the initial stages of the election, a strong campaign from the Workers’ Party (PT) derailed her in the first round.

Silva’s defeat left current President Dilma Rousseff to face off against Aécio Neves for the presidency, despite the Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) candidate having spent the majority of the campaign in third place.

Although Rousseff has left Marina Silva behind, it would be a mistake to say that the president has secured reelection, and now a classic battle between the PT and the PSDB is shaping up to be one of the hardest fought runoffs in recent years.

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Guerrilla to Blame for Spanish Embassy Massacre in Guatemala

Former Rebels Aim to Rewrite History of 1980 Terrorist Attack

EspañolOn October 1, the trial of National Police Chief Pedro Garcia Arredondo began in Guatemala City. Arredondo is charged with “massacre” and the “burning” of the Spanish Embassy on January 31, 1980.

Rigoberta Menchú's crocodile tears will only convince the ignorant and naive.

Rigoberta Menchú’s crocodile tears will only convince the ignorant and naive. (El Periódico)

As expected, the trial has become a media spectacle, with a stellar performance by lead actress and Guatemalan writer Rigoberta Menchú Tum. Thanks to her theatrical and literary talents, Menchú was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.

First, let’s summarize the facts for readers who are not fully aware of what happened on January 31, 1980. During a year marked by internal conflict between Marxist guerrilla and government forces, a group of about 30 “peaceful” farmers and students from the department of Quiché armed themselves with machetes and Molotov cocktails and stormed the Spanish Embassy in Guatemala City to “alert the world of the atrocities being committed throughout the country.”

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Minimum-Wage Folly Will Usher In Robot Revolution

Embrace the New Era of Innovation, or Let the World Pass You By

EnglishPuerto Rico, like many other US jurisdictions, is toying with the idea of raising the minimum wage to US$15 per hour — part of the so called living-wage movement. This latest socialist “workers-rights” craze, like so many before it, simply ignores reality. It also ignores math.

The best way to guarantee a better life for minimum-wage workers is to lower the minimum wage while lowering taxes and easing regulations.

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As the Argentinean Peso Falls, Ingenuity Rises

Compensation In-Kind Trumps the Disappearing Purchasing Power of Salaries

EspañolInflation in Argentina is nothing new. No one bats an eye when they read that the inflation rate this year hovers around 40 percent. Companies of all sizes around the country have been working to develop ways to compensate their employees for the loss in purchasing power of the Argentinean peso.

Argentina's Central Bank is costing workers their purchasing power.

Argentina’s Central Bank is costing workers their purchasing power. (Wikimedia)

According to various testimonies from around the country, there are a number of ways companies are helping make up the difference, both through monetary and non-monetary compensation.

Guillermo — who prefers to keep his identity secret — says the construction company where he works has decided to open a checking account at a gas station close to their offices, which employees can use to fill their tanks.

Claudia says the multinational consulting firm Accenture is going to give employees an AR$4,000 bonus, and improve their medical coverage.

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Democracy at Stake in Battle for Guatemala’s Courts

Judge Escobar Mejía's Voice at the Forefront of Weeding Out Corruption

By Luis Eduardo Barrueto

Guatemala's recently elected Appeals Court judge, Claudia Escobar Mejía, resigned her port and denounced corrupt election practices that favor the ruling party.

Guatemala’s recently elected Appeals Court judge, Claudia Escobar Mejía, resigned her post and denounced corrupt election practices that favor the ruling party. (Diario Digital)

EspañolClaudia Escobar Mejía, a recently elected magistrate to the Appeals Courts in Guatemala, stirred up the country on October 5 by resigning her post and publicly denouncing irregularities in the election process that favored the ruling party. What was brought to light as an unusually corrupt compromise — even for local standards — wouldn’t have captured national attention if not for her clear, denouncing voice.

Her brave act has triggered public opinion and legal action, and is now awaiting the Constitutional Court’s resolution, on which the future of democracy in Guatemala depends.

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Cuba’s Days of Education Excellence Have Come and Gone

Teachers Do What They Can while the Regime Dupes Outsiders

Editor’s note: Rosa María Payá is responding to a recent report from the World Bank, which gives high praise to Cuba’s education system. See the news story, written by Peter Sacco, “World Bank Touts Cuba’s Communist Education as Exemplary.”

EspañolDuring my student experience in Cuba I had some great teachers and some unprofessional and poorly prepared ones. The programs that are set to be taught were complete and rigorous; the problem was that there were not and there are not the individuals and conditions to implement them on the island.

The structure of the Cuban education system that was created before 1958, and in many senses is the same nowadays, is very good. This is probably the main reason why the education system maintains a certain level of quality, despite the rampant deterioration of the economy and society. Another important factor has been the people: Cuba’s professional teachers, for many years, were well prepared for their vocation; they endured the abuses and exploitation of the government and remained teaching.


Although education is mandated in Cuba, the resources are simply not there to maintain quality and accountability, and it is hijacked for ideological purposes. (@CubanitoenCuba)

Today the situation is different. The application of disastrous government policies has been the genesis of many social and economic shortcomings. Low wages, a lack of incentives, and poor working conditions for teachers have added to the extreme politicization of the content and caused the exodus of these professionals to other fields for many years.

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MAS Free Computers! Bolivia’s Populist Fiesta Goes On, for Now

State-Owned Enterprises May Offer Employment, but Not Productivity

EspañolEconomics Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman used to say, “if we put the government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there would be a shortage of sand.”

Friedman was referring to the tremendous inefficiency of institutions, state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and public offices when run by government. On the other hand, private organizations, simply by working with their own capital, prove to be much more successful enterprises in the short, medium, and long run.

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