The Libertarian Moment Is Unfolding in Latin America, Not the U.S.

(PanAm) – Over the last few years, the so-called libertarian moment has been given much to talk in the United States — especially after the rise of former Congressman Ron Paul in the 2008 and 2012 elections. His message reached the masses and generated great expectations, inspiring younger generations.

But Paul faced a whole system that refuses to change. Ignored by the mainstream media and strongly attacked by politicians from his own party, he could not reach the White House.

Then his son, current US Senator Rand Paul, showed up as contender. On the way to the current US presidential election, many analysts said the Republican party should become more libertarian to survive the powerful propaganda machine of the Democratic Party.

That is when Rand Paul played a role. Rand was seen by many as the Republican hopeful, appearing in 2014 on the covers of both Time magazine and The New York Times. Rand was gaining ground in the race in the 2016 electoral race, but Donald Trump changed everything.

With Donald Trump’s entrance into the Republican nomination campaign, what was left of a possible “libertarian moment” within the Republican Party was silenced by a strong nationalist populism that grows bigger everyday.

Trump’s arrival did so much damage to the Republican libertarian movement that Reason Magazine and Cato Institute held a series of debates on whether the libertarian moment was “dead.”

Regardless of its downfall or not in the United States, it is certainly alive and well in Latin America.

The Downfall of Populists

Latin Americans have grown tired of years of populism and socialism and have begun to demand changes in their respective countries.

Argentina is the best example right now. The victory of Mauricio Macri in last year’s presidential elections ends years of leftist government at the hands of Kirchner. Kirchner’s failure managing the once-powerful economy led Argentineans to again vote for a market system.

The new president wasted no time and immediately started implementing pro-market measures, reducing taxes, eliminating currency controls, naming a new president for the Central Bank and negotiating foreign debt payments.

Venezuela and Brazil are another example.Last December and for the first time in 17 years, on the election with higher voter turnout, Venezuelans chose an opposition-controlled National Assembly, removing the Socialist Party control of the legislative branch.

Venezuela is possibly the greatest example of how corrupt and useless socialism is. What could be the most economically powerful nation in Latin America (due to their high oil production) is now a nation of shortages, corruption, crime, drug trafficking and the highest inflation rate in the hemisphere.

The Chavistas still control the executive and judicial branches, but this year Venezuelan opposition will activate constitutional mechanisms to exit President Maduro, ending 17 years of socialist tyranny.

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Rousseff On the Way Out

Millions of angry Brazilians have taken to the streets in recent months demanding the resignation of President Dilma Rousseff. Congress is ready to start impeachment proceedings against the president in the coming weeks.

Nowadays, Brazil’s main topic is the scandal at the state oil company Petrobras, which involves President Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Both Rousseff and Lula da Silva are part of the socialist bloc that has ruled in South America for the past decade-and-a-half.

Another example is Bolivia, where President Evo Morales, who has spent 10 years running the country, appeared to be Latin America’s most popular head of state in and the possible Latin American socialist bloc new leader in case Maduro’s government collapses.

But last February he was defeated in a referendum where the Bolivian people did not approve of Morales running for a fourth presidential term, forcing him to end his mandate as soon as it expires in 2020.

Though reforms are still at an early stage, the fact that pro-market ideas and economic liberalism are starting to be seen as real, strong crisis alternatives, both economically and socially, is a big step — especially when historically solvent countries like the United States continue to debate whether they should tilt to the left.

This report prepared by Nelson Albino Jr. for PanAm Post. 

Nelson Albino Jr is a Puerto Rican who is also a writer and contributor of the PanAm Post. He’s an advocate of liberty, student at George Mason University in Virginia, U.S. . Follow him on Twitter @nalbinojr.