Online crash courses in liberty, a campaign for educational quality and choice, and a movement to prevent new tax hikes are all recipients this year of Atlas Network’s Latin America Liberty Awards. Established in 2005 and formerly known as the Latin American Freedom Awards, the individual award categories are named after free-market and classical liberal thinkers who had great influence throughout the region. Each award category below outlines some of the accomplishments of the winning organizations, each of which is granted a $3,000 prize.
Juan Carlos Cachanosky Award for Dissemination of Free Society Principles
Winner: Libertad y Progreso (Argentina) for its “Crash Courses in Liberty” (Aprender Volando) video series
One of the biggest challenges to spreading advancing liberty and free markets in Argentina is helping people understand the complex implications of simple economic concepts. With its “Crash Courses in Liberty” video series, Argentinian Atlas Network partner Libertad y Progreso demonstrates the root causes and effects of populism, lack of institutional quality, and economic stagnation.
The “Crash Courses in Liberty” series originated from Libertad y Progreso’s second-place pitch in the Think Tank Shark Tank competition at Atlas Network’s 2015 Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner. The organization followed up its compelling idea by developing six videos with original, compelling information and producing them with the participation of political scientist Gloria Alvarez. Already, the videos have garnered more than 6 million views across multiple outlets, including the official Libertad y Progreso YouTube channel.
Miguel Kast Award for Free-Market Solutions to Poverty
Winner: Instituto Res Publica (Chile) for its “Education for Chile” (Educación para Chile) program
Families know best what kind of educations their children need, but this crucial aspect of childhood development is usually left entirely in the hands of government bureaucrats. The “Education for Chile” reform program developed by Chilean Atlas Network partner Instituto Res Publica is primarily aimed at bringing the ideas of freedom in education to ordinary citizens, especially students.
Instituto Res Publica developed its “Education for Chile” program by recruiting students as part of its team; networking with student leaders in high school, college, and university; harnessing social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to enhance its platform outreach; and creating a media campaign that focused on gathering widespread public attention.
Francisco de Vitoria Award for Ethics and Values
Winner: Instituto de Pensamiento Estratégico Ágora A.C. (Agora Institute for Strategic Thinking) (Mexico) for its “No More Taxes!” (#Nomásimpuestos) campaign
Without ongoing and consistent efforts for reform, governments inevitably grow larger and taxes continue to rise. Mexican Atlas Network partner Instituto de Pensamiento Estratégico Ágora A.C. (Agora Institute for Strategic Thinking) developed its “No More Taxes!” (#Nomásimpuestos) campaign, in coordination with its “Million Youth for Mexico” program, to promote a commitment among the representatives of the country’s newly elected Congress that they would not sponsor any initiatives or vote for any bills that included raising taxes. The campaign started before the election, so public officials who pledged their support could be tracked after being elected to office, until the budget for 2016 was approved.
During the first phase of the campaign, Instituto de Pensamiento Estratégico Ágora A.C. obtained commitments from 48 congressional candidates, from all political parties. During the second phase, the organization actively influenced public opinion so that more people pushed their elected representatives to commit not to raise taxes while in office. Widespread media coverage of the campaign included 32 articles in national and international media, in newspapers, television, radio, and online. During the third phase, the organization continued reminding public officials of their commitment and explaining to citizens why tax increases should be opposed. Ultimately, congressional budget discussions achieved a budget for 2016 was passed without any new taxes or any increase in value-added or income taxes.