The current situation in Latin America is certainly disappointing. Freedom finds itself cornered in many countries. Demagoguery, populism, and repression are suffered in a lot of places. My beloved Argentina, Venzuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador are pathetic examples of what “21st century socialism” has built. Nevertheless, these countries have nothing to envy from the totalitarian system of Cuba.
Consequently, one can feel great admiration and pride when a group of brave individuals defy the intellectual shallowness and the inertia caused by the official party line. The insular dictatorship of the Castro brothers has not been able to lobotomize all minds — despite all their terrorist efforts to do so. Ludwig von Mises’s ideas have penetrated the island and have a group which defends and promotes them.
Dictatorships are in fact very weak. That is why they have to make use of violence and fear. Their ideas are even weaker and the lack of debate fossilize them. Cuba being a “gerontocracy” is perhaps the most grotesque metaphor of this process. The challenge presented by the Instituto Mises Cuba impossible to overcome for a system which is in both economic and intellectual bankruptcy.
Ludwig von Mises, already in the 1920s, predicted the impossibility of socialism and its eventual collapse. Perhaps the foundation of the Instituto Mises Cuba anticipates the fall of communism in the Caribbean island and the final removal of the totalitarian cancer from the body of Latin America.
Federico N. Fernández Senior Fellow of the Austrian Economics Center (Vienna, Austria) and Vicepresident of Fundación Bases (Rosario, Argentina)
The AEC’s fundamental goal is to promote a free, responsible and prosperous society. Through education and improving public understanding of key economic questions, the AEC promotes the idea of a free market economy and the ideal of a free society.