Publications by ALEX CHAFUEN

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Oct 23, 2013 0 Comments

Freedom Is Not Free: How Should Think Tanks Address The National Security Question? Articles / Opinion Editorials

Authors: ALEX CHAFUEN

The unhindered movement of money, goods and people are essential aspects of economic freedom. These same freedoms, however, can be used for violent purposes by national or international aggressors. The same freedom that allows the government to pull back money from a country known to seize private deposits, can be used to launder money from kidnappings or terrorist activities. The same smuggling, that helps one avoid customs when buying something, can be used to smuggle a shoulder missile. Security is key component of economic freedom.

The 9/11 attacks, a failure in national security, changed the dynamics of the economic discussion in the United States. We are still paying the costs. I followed this impact on immigration, trade and monetary policy. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox was in the U.S. days before the attack to help consolidate an immigration reform policy. The U.S. was advancing to push free trade in the Americas. A high level Argentinean delegation was also in Washington to help seal an agreement. After 9/11, major concerns of war creating a possible recession encouraged the continuity of an easy monetary policy. These policies, kept in place because of failed national security, fueled massive spending and enabled the 2008 bubble.

Other mishaps in national security can completely shift the economic debate. Take for exampleBitcoin, the electronic payment system which is out of reach of central authorities. Just imagine the impact of a terrorist organization taking advantage of one of its features to pass money to finance a major operation.

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Mar 13, 2013 0 Comments

5 Ways to Invest in Venezuelan Freedom Articles / Opinion Editorials

Authors: ALEX CHAFUEN

Latin America is seldom in the U.S. news these days. The announcement of Hugo Chávez’s death has been an exception, with TV news networks devoting days to the coverage and analysis. The upcoming April 14th presidential election will also attract considerable media attention. Despite this focus, I have yet to read any analysis or recommendation on how to help Venezuelans regain their lost republican liberties and prevent the Argentine scenario of decades of “Peronism without Peron.” This is my attempt.

In 1999, while I was packing for my first trip to Venezuela with Chávez as president, he issued a warning to our scheduled keynote speaker: “We are waiting for you with lead.” “Lead” in that context in Spanish means “bullets.” Our speaker was noted writer and anti-totalitarian crusader Mario Vargas Llosa. Vargas Llosa had realized early on that Venezuela was embarking on a dangerous road.

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