SFS was delighted and honored to participate in prominent Latin America think tank events in Argentina and Chile this past April.
Eight scholars and associates from the SFS network with regional expertise from their senior posts in the U.S., Colombian, Venezuelan and Bolivian governments, academia and think tanks participated in panels and discussions for the 25th anniversary of Argentina’s Fundacíon Libertad (Liberty Foundation) in Rosario and Buenos Aires the week of April 8th, and two participated in a forum at Chile’s Instituto Libertad (Liberty Institute) in Santiago the week of April 15th.
Over 2,000 free market opinion leaders from throughout the Western Hemisphere and Europe attended the Fundacíon Libertad anniversary events, to include former heads of state from Spain, Slovenia, Uruguay and Bolivia, dozens of current and former cabinet members, featuring keynote speeches from Nobel Laureate Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru and Jose Maria Aznar of Spain. You can read a more complete summary of the event here and read more about SFS’s role at these events after the jump!
SFS experts traveling to Argentina to participate in Fundación Libertad’s activities included Executive Director Joseph Humire, Senior Fellows J.D. Gordon and Jon Perdue, and Associates Joel Hirst and Marc Wachtenheim from the U.S., the honorable Diego Arria from Venezuela, parliamentarian Adrian Oliva from Bolivia and Carlos Chacón from Colombia. These experts brought a high level of expertise in security and defense issues to complement the freedom champions already in attendance in Argentina.
On April 12, 2013 prior to the adjournment of the week long activities of Fundación Libertad, SFS teamed up with Fundación Nuevas Generaciones led by Julían Obligio, to discuss the “threats to liberty and security in Latin America.” The first panel opened with an inside look at Chile’s citizen security structure by Ministry of Interior representative, Pia Green Mershon. This was followed by a compelling informational brief by the former Police Chief of Buenos Aires, Mr. Eugenio Burzaco – on the rise of drug trafficking in Argentina and the links to cartels in Mexico and clandestine routes to and from Bolivia. Argentina has become the third largest drug consumption state in the Western Hemisphere, which coupled with the breakdown of institutions by the Kirchner regime has opened new routes and markets for drug networks from around the world. The panel concluded with an insightful presentation by the Cabinet Chief of the Andean Parliament, Mr. Carlos Chacón on the changing nature of the FARC in light of Colombia’s current peace process. The FARC has morphed from a armed guerilla movement to an international drug cartel, and now may become a political player in Colombia as it is focused on legitimizing themselves .
The second panel featured an all-star line-up of former senior government officials, book authors, columnists and scholars, including the former President of the U.N. Security Council, Venezuela’s Ambassador Arria; a Member of Bolivia’s Parliament, Diputado Oliva; noted Argentine columnist and scholar Jorge Castro, and Joel Hirst, the author of the most definitive book on “The ALBA: Inside Venezuela’s Bolivarian Alliance.” Moderated by Cuba expert, Marc Wachtenheim this panel forecasted how a post Chavez Latin America will unfold in Bolivarian stronghold’s such as Bolivia, Venezuela, and Cuba and reflected on the lessons learned from the Vene-Cuba political power project known as ALBA and its implications for the region. Just days before the Venezuelan election between opposition candidate Henrique Capriles and Cuban favorite Nicholas Maduro, the honorable Diego Arria gave a special insider’s perspective as to how the elections may play out and predicted that instability will rise after Nicholas Maduro steals the election.
You can read a Spanish summary of the aforementioned SFS-Nuevas Generaciones event here.
After Argentina, Joseph Humire and J.D. Gordon traveled west to Santiago, Chile to take part in Instituto Libertad’s forum on “Organized Crime, Narcotrafficking and Terrorism: Threats to the State” On April 16, 2013, Joseph Humire presented before approximately 150 high ranking military officers, cabinet officials and other members of the political and think tank community in Santiago, Chile on the growing crime-terror nexus in South American. Describing the evolving nature of drug trafficking in the southern cone, namely in Argentina, and connecting this to the rise of radical Islamic networks permeating in neighboring countries such as Peru, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina – Joseph connected this to a relatively new phenomenon coined as “criminalized states” where the state functions as a criminal enterprise that uses crime and terrorism as asymmetric tools to project power in the region, such as Venezuela and Bolivia.
On behalf of the entire SFS team, we extend our sincere thanks to our fantastic hosts and partners, Gerardo Bongiovanni, President, Fundacíon Libertad, and his team in Rosario, Argentina, especially Mariana Chozas, Fabiana Suárez, and Marcelo Montes; Julian Obiglio, Executive Director, Fundacíon Nuevas Generacíones, and his staff in Buenos Aires; and Najel Klein Moya, Executive Director, Instituto Libertad and her staff in Santiago, along with SFS associate Aldo Cassinelli of the Ministry of the Secretary General of the Presidency in Chile.
A special congratulations to Gerardo on a fantastic 25 years in leading one of the world’s foremost free market think tanks, well done, sir!