Author Archives: Ian Vasquez

An Open Letter From Latin American Think Tanks in Support of Cato

Cato has worked closely with advocates of limited government throughout Latin America during the past several decades, a period that has seen the burgeoning of think tanks committed to promoting free societies. Some 30 think tank leaders in the region have signed an open letter to Cato President Ed Crane and board members in support of an independent Cato. A translation of their letter is below:

Edward Crane and Members of the Board of Directors
Cato Institute
Washington, D.C.

We, the heads of think tanks throughout Latin America, wish to express our respect, admiration and appreciation for the work that the Cato Institute does in our region in defense of the principles of free markets, limited government and peace.

The support we receive from the Cato Institute through its experts, its publications, the seminars for students that it hosts in our countries, its Spanish-language website (, the Economic Freedom of the World report of the Fraser Institute that Cato co-publishes in Spanish every year, the distribution of op-eds in the region’s most prominent newspapers, and the immediate response to any of our requests for assistance are evidence of the Cato Institute’s tireless work to create free and prosperous societies in Latin America.

At this time when the Cato Institute is experiencing a threat to its independence, we hope that everything is resolved in the best way possible, and to the benefit of those of us who closely follow the institute and its important work around the world.

We would be pleased to share with you how the contributions of the Cato Institute have benefited our work in pursuing free markets in Latin America.

Warm and libertarian regards,

Agustín Etcheberre / Aldo Abram
Fundación Libertad y Progreso

Ángel Soto
Instituto Democracia y Mercado

Armando Regil
Instituto de Pensamiento Estratégico Ágora

Arturo Fontaine
Centro de Estudios Públicos

Bertha Pantojha
Caminos de la Libertad

Carlos Newland
Instituto Universitario ESEADE

Daniel Córdova

Denise Couyumdjian
Libertad y Desarrollo

Dora de Ampuero
Instituto Ecuatoriano de Economía Política

Enrique Ghersi
Centro de Investigación y Estudios Legales

Ernesto Selman
Centro Regional de Estrategias Económicas Sostenibles
Dominican Republic

Fernando Álvarez
Fundación Global

Gerardo Bongiovanni
Fundación Libertad

Héctor Ñauparí
Instituto de Estudios de la Acción Humana

Hugo Vera
Fundación Libertad

Irene Jiménez
Instituto de Estudios para una Sociedad Abierta

Jorge Lavarreda
Centro de Investigaciones Económicas Nacionales

Juan José Garrido
Instituto Acción

Marcela Prieto
Instituto de Ciencia Política

Margaret Tse
Instituto Liberdade

Martín Simonetta
Fundación Atlas 1853

Óscar Álvarez
Asociación Nacional de Fomento Económico
Costa Rica

Óscar Ortiz
Fundación Nueva Democracia

Pablo Izquierdo
Fundación Iberoamérica Europa

Pedro Dajer
Fundación para el Desarrollo Integral de la Sociedad
Dominican Republic

Ricardo López Murphy
Fundación Global

Roberto Salinas
Mexico Business Forum

Rocío Guijarro
CEDICE Libertad

Surse Pierpoint
Fundación Libertad

Yesenia Álvarez
Instituto Político para la Libertad

Wilboor Brun
Populi para la Libertad

Roberto Salinas-Leon on Why an Independent Cato Matters for Mexico

Mexican scholar Roberto Salinas-Leon recently sent the following note to Cato President Ed Crane (and copied me). Roberto is a prominent advocate of capitalism and limited constitutional democracy in Mexico. He is an adjunct scholar of Cato, an active participant and organizer of policy meetings among market-liberal academics and government officials at the highest levels, and one of the most effective libertarians in the public policy debate in Latin America.

Dear Ed,

I cannot tell you how saddened we are in Mexico’s pro-liberty movement to hear about the quarrels and confrontations between Cato and the Koch brothers. I do not have to reiterate how important Cato has been to Mexico’s intellectual and policy battles in the area of political economy during the past twenty years—with two outstanding and influential monetary conferences, one highly influential program on pension reform featuring José Piñera and Michael Tanner, as well as dozens of smaller initiatives. Of course, on top of all of these stands “Liberty in the Americas,” the now historic three day event in 1992 which captured the minds and the entire cultural debate around liberty and reform in Mexico—and which featured the presence of Milton and Rose Freidman, among a group of over 50 speakers from all across the world.

This was Milton’s last formal presentation in Mexico, and which he actually mentions in his memoirs, Two Lucky People. And then, we must also recall your tremendous input in securing important contributions, both financial and intellectual, in making the only Mont Pelerin Society meeting to be held in Mexico possible, in January 1996, in Cancún.

Cato is now well known across the political spectrum, its policy ideas are present in the economic debate, and it certainly stands in the forefront of independent and credible policy advocacy, whether individuals or groups are in favor or against its core of classical liberal values. I myself alluded to this phenomenon in the last Cato Benefactor Summit held in my country, in February 2009. Goodness Ed, as the attached pictures reflect: ideas have consequences, in the left, in the right, at the center, in all areas of policy life. Good ideas have even better consequences. Our current presidential candidate of the PAN party is none other than Josefina Vázquez, who participated in our first monetary conference in 1994. Here she is also featured in a panel next to Alan Walters, and on the other side, Rogelio Ramirez de la O—the would-be Finance Minister should Andres Lopez Obrador win.

Is all of this remarkably hard work south of the U.S. border now coming to end? We are heartbroken down south at this prospect—just when a new, apolitical, non-partisan push for liberty is sorely needed to keep the already remarkable changes alive.

Ed, you and your entire family of peers, true soldiers at Cato have our full fledged support in seeing this unfortunate conflict resolved. As a proud adjunct scholar, and a voice of liberty in Mexico and abroad, you have my full solidarity and support.

Best wishes, in liberty,