October 9, 2018 Print

Thirteen organizations representing academia, civil society activism, and the private sector gathered at the first-ever “Liberal Meeting” in Quito, Ecuador, in late August to discuss the condition of classical liberal ideas in the country. The participants also developed a shared strategy so their efforts to advance economic freedom — in concert with one another — will have a greater impact for a country that recently fell 3 places on the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Report.

“We are facing an economic crisis,” said Francisco Mendoza, one of the co-founders of Libre Razón. “The government has handled it with unclear proposals; there is a probability that in the near future new taxes and restrictions to commerce will be established.”

At the conference, four strategic axes of work were discussed (education, diffusion, influence, and “strengthening”), as well as which organizations were best equipped to work in each area. Other areas of conversation included economic freedom, human rights & liberties, and optimization of the state.

“We plan to persuade people about libertarian ideas with strong and mature arguments to be applied and not just debated,” Mendoza explained. “We’ll use that to segment the target audience we want to reach and impact with the ideas of freedom to effectively influence public administration on issues related to the defense of freedoms, economic development and the reduction and efficiency of the State under liberal principles. The meeting was the first step in order to coordinate the work of 13 organizations so we can overcome the challenges to freedom that we face right now.”

This meeting of classical liberal groups occurred amidst Ecuador’s ranking in the Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World Report falling three places. Although a public opinion survey found that 76 percent of Ecuadorians support the idea of free markets, Alianza PAIS — a center-left social democratic party and holds 100/137 seats in the Ecuadorian National Assembly — is still the primary party in Ecuador.

These free-market organizations have accomplished much on their own in the past, now Ecuador will see what great things they will accomplish together. The second Liberal Meeting is tentatively scheduled to occur in July 2019.