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In Memoriam: Giancarlo Ibarguen

The liberty movement has lost an important friend, with the passing of Giancarlo Ibarguen, who led Universidad Francisco Marroquin (UFM) in Guatemala for many years. He helped build UFM into a major institution dedicated to the ideas of liberty, one I’ve been fortunate to visit on several occasions. As I noted at the passing of UFM’s founder, Manuel Ayau:

A full-fledged university, since its founding in 1971, UFM sought not only to eschew the Marxist economic theories that were in fashion then (even more than today, and especially in Latin America), but to revive the study of the great classical liberal thinkers.

In addition to his pioneering work in higher education, Giancarlo also played a critical role in advancing liberalization in telecommunications in Guatemala, helping to create a dynamic competitive telecom market.

He also founded the Antigua Forum, an annual gathering of classical liberal thinkers and doers from around the world. My colleague Bill Frezza, who attended a recent Antigua Forum conference, describes his experience:

Call it the “Free Market Davos.” The Antigua Forum, sponsored by Universidad Francisco Marroquín, in Guatemala, finished its third annual conference last week. For three days, I had the privilege of joining a who’s who of 50 free-market reformers, hailing from Chile to Mozambique, to propose, challenge, and refine a dozen plans for peaceful revolution around the world.

As Bill notes, “despite what you may hear about Latin America, Bolivarian Blues isn’t the only tune in town. Watch as the Antigua Forum and Universidad Francisco Marroquín keep the flame of liberty alive”—and for that we can thank Giancarlo.