Socialists attack liberty

Patrick Gibbons

Each year the Cato Institute holds Cato University, a weekend seminar on various topics about freedom, free markets, and property rights. The Cato Institute has recently gone international, visiting Hugo Chavez’s country of Venezuela to talk with students and citizens about free markets, freedom and liberty. Naturally, free market, freedom loving capitalists visiting a socialist country where the free media has been destroyed and major businesses have been nationalized led to interesting results.

The Venezuelan government brought in the national guard, detained Peruvian intellectual Alvaro Vargas Llosa (who was attending the conference as a speaker), the minister of higher education harassed organizers claiming that they were falsely advertising the event (Cato University is not a real American university), the state-run press reported that the Cato Institute was teaching people subversive tactics on how to overthrow Chavez, while protestors claimed the Cato Institute was sponsored by the CIA.

The Cato Institute sums up the situation best,

The reaction of the Chávez regime to two gatherings of market-liberal intellectuals demonstrates how tense the situation has become in Venezuela. But it also demonstrates how necessary Cato’s mission of promoting liberty is – and how fearful the ideas of liberty are for those who would wield excessive state power.