June 21, 2019 Print

Atlas Network is excited to announce the finalists of this year’s Think Tank Shark Tank — Latin America competition, which is sponsored by the Smith Family Foundation and will be held during Latin America Liberty Forum from June 27-28 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Three professionals will pitch their projects to a panel of judges, in a showcase of some of the region’s most exciting new liberty-advancing projects. The winner will receive $10,000 in project seed-funding.

The finalists are José Ignacio Beteta (Asociación de Contribuyentes del Perú, Peru), Mercedes Colombres (Libertad y Progreso, Argentina), and Emma García-Prieto, (CREOFUSADES, El Salvador).

Our panel of judges includes:

Gerardo Bongiovanni (Fundación Libertad, Argentina)

Antonio Caparrós (INICIA Education Fund, Dominican Republic)

Mariela Vicini (Fundacion de Corazon a Corazon, Dominican Republic)

Project Overviews


Mercedes Colombres, Director of Communications, Libertad y Progreso (LyP)

Project: Community of Custodians of Fairness in Wikipedia

Libertad y Progreso is seeking funding for its Community of Custodian of Fairness in Wikipedia project.  The project aims to develop and curate the content of Wikipedia in Spanish related to social science, economy, and history that is originally contaminated by Marxist views of Argentina. Wikipedia is the biggest encyclopedia available for students worldwide, and the most consulted source of information for students in Argentina together with El Rincón del Vago reaching 11 million students. Curating and developing the content of Wikipedia with free market ideas, LyP will impact those 11 million students through the most popular source of information in Argentina.  

"Under the famous Antonio Gramsci quote, saying that "take education and culture and the rest will be added",  Education in Latin America has been completely taken by Marxism in the last 50 years. It doesn’t matter if you send your kids to a Catholic school, a Waldorf school or a public school. Everywhere they will get the same message: enterprises are bad, free markets impoverish people, United State, and liberal republics are to blame for the failure of the region and so on. All textbooks are contaminated of high doses of Marxism and the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. In 2015 Libertad y Progreso proposed to the new government, friendly to free-market ideas, to change the contents of textbooks and made them more objective. But the Government feared the union reactions and also the cost was high: 500 million dollars. Today, thanks to the massive spread of Wikipedia and Internet even in poorer regions of Argentina, we can change the contents with a minimum cost, change contents in Spanish Wikipedia, using one administrator, 36 scholars and 100 volunteers to start changing 500 articles per year related to typical loved by Marxist contents, such as "neoliberalism". The articles will be selected among the most read and the most critical to our ideas. Wikipedia is the main source of information for an approximate of 11 million students in the country, and reaches everywhere, even poorer and more isolated villages in the country. Also is one of the 10 most visited sites in the World and the most consulted online encyclopedia. So with Custodians of Fairness in Wikipedia we can, for the first time, use the Gramsci teaching in favor of Freedom"  

Mercedes is the Director of Communications at LyP and joined the organization as a press officer in 2014, after spending two years working as a communications consultant in the Parliament, for the opposition party in Kirchner Government (2012-2014). Previously she was a journalist at La Nacion, Currently, besides from being part of Libertad y Progreso team she hosts, along with journalist Ricardo Bindi, the political show Nueva Ola, via Agrositio.com, and is a free-lance consultant in communication and social media.


Emma García-Prieto, CREO-Director, FUSADES

Project: Freedom Goes to the Movies

FUSADES is seeking funding for its freedom goes to the movies project. Through this project, FUSADES plans to host a film festival, giving Salvadorans the opportunity to learn about individual liberties through entertainment. The film festival will be a 5-day event and each day a film with a particular theme will be chosen. Through these films, FUSADES will generate awareness among Salvadorans on issues that normally go unnoticed and are important to strengthen individual liberties.

Emma has a BA in Political Science and a Master’s degree in International Relations, both from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island. After 7 years abroad, Emma returned to El Salvador and joined the FUSADES team as CREO’s Director. As part of her role in FUSADES, Emma oversees the institution’s Digital Communication efforts. Through her job, Emma has been working to inform young adults about what is happening in the country and how it affects them.


José Ignacio Beteta, Presidente, Asociación de Contribuyentes del Perú

Project: Los Cazadores de Pesadillas

Asociación de Contribuyentes del Perú is seeking funding for its Los Cazadores de Pesadillas project. The project will help train young and enthusiastic individuals using the “Smart Cities” approach. These young individuals will produce a baseline study to evaluate the performance of local authorities and create awareness around issues such as those of respect to private property and regulatory barriers for businesses to name a few.  

“For 2021 elections, more than 9 millions Peruvian voters will be under 27. According to some studies, among them, approximately 1.7 million are already participating in some kind of lefty organization, defending social rights but not economic freedom. It will be difficult to match that number, but Peru needs to turn the tables on this. Some small initiatives have been rising to challenge the status quo, but are not enough. One of Peruvian Taxpayers Association most valuable strengths is its constant involvement with many grassroots organizations and small and medium entrepreneurs. It's time to connect with the younger generations in order to preserve our free market system from an increasing number of populists ideas, parties and candidates.”

Jose Ignacio Beteta has a Masters in Public Administration, is a historian, and a Social Entrepreneur who specializes in the direction of non-profit organizations and think tanks in Latin America, as well as the design, communication, and the promotion of public policy reforms. He also has 14 years of experience in fundraising, leading teams, and institutions which plan sustainable research & development projects, in partnership with both private and public sectors.