Author: Zachary Foster

LP in the News! (11/24/19)

Reason covered the LP’s recent debate in South Carolina, in which the less widely known and arguably more fringe candidates were contending to be heard and supported by LP members. As Matt Welch put it, these candidates were vying to represent “the Libertarian Wing of the Libertarian Party.” The article mentioned Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation, who recently entered the LP’s presidential race.

A sarcastic and vitriol-filled op-ed in the Washington Times disparaged both the Party and “new blood” former Governor Lincoln Chafee, saying that Chafee and the LP were “sadly made for each other.” While that author can spew all the hate he wants, we know that Governor Chafee has a large following in the Northeast and we welcome him into the fold.

A different article in Splice Today had a much more pro-LP outlook, but warned that Lincoln Chafee would be a mistake for the LP. We at LP Nevada know he’s not 100% there yet on some issues, but we’re looking past him and getting ready to educate people who follow him over here. We know his candidacy will bring new members and new talent into the party from the pool of his supporters who are forever done with Team D and Team R.

Libertarian presidential candidate Adam Kokesh, an Iraq War veteran who’s been a professional activist for over a decade since leaving the Marine Corps, was featured in two recent interviews. One by The Politic, where he explains how his platform benefits Americans, and one by the Tehran Times, where he elaborates on issues that affect Persians (like the US war machine, Saudi Arabia, and what Persians need to do to be free).

Next, we’d love to point out how CNN was talking about the LP in an article on vaping and the vape scare across America. Mostly, CNN noticed the “I Vape I Vote” t-shirts selling like hot cakes.

In New York, Libertarian Michael Korchak was elected the new District Attorney for Broome County. Way to go Michael! If there’s one elected office where Libertarians can make a large and immediate impact in people’s lives, it’s the District Attorney–the guy who decides which criminals (real or imagined) to go after. Read about this Libertarian win at WNBF News Radio.

To close out this edition, we turn our attention to Russia, where Libertarians have been violently oppressed by Putin’s government. Mikhail Svetov, leader of LP Russia, is facing pedophilia-related charges. Svetov and the entire Russian LP deny these charges and accusations. The charges are trumped up and it’s highly suspicious that the Russian government would slap Svetov with these charges immediately after Svetov and LP Russia led several large protests in Russia for internet freedom (against government censorship and net surveillance) and for gay rights.

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According to Radio Free Europe, “In August, Svetov was sentenced to 30 days in jail by a court that ruled he violated laws on conducting public demonstrations in connection with his role in a wave of demonstrations that swept Moscow over the authorities’ refusal to register independent candidates to run for the Moscow city council.”

Folks, Svetov is doing the same things in Russia that we American Libertarians do here in the US: Peacefully calling for personal freedom, civil liberties, and to get Libertarian candidates on the ballot. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers and KEEP HIS NAME RELEVANT on your blogs, podcasts, and social media posts. We are all Mikhail Svetov.

And on that note, the Cuban Libertarian Ubaldo Herrera is still languishing in a prison in Cuba, also for falsified charges, also for libertarian activism. We are all Ubaldo Herrera.

We are all Libertarians.

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Images from FanPop and RFERL.

LP Nevada in the News! (11/24/19)

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We’d like to give a big round of applause to our Vice Chairman, David Colborne of the Reno/Sparks area, for two great recent op-eds published in the Nevada Independent. In “Occupational licensing boards are a hazard” he explains how occupational licensing ultimately legitimizes quacks committing fraud thanks to having a government-issued license, while in other professions, aspiring mom-and-pop startups get shut out of industries because they don’t have the exorbitant amounts of cash to hand over for the government license.

In the other editorial, Colborne blasts bureaucracy, outdated laws and endless litigation (i.e. the government method) for failing to be effective at water management. Good management of our water supplies is kind of important in a desert state like Nevada.

The Libertarian Party of Nevada got mentioned in the Pahrump Valley Times in an article on increased voter registration in Nevada. LP Nevada gained 45 new voters in October and currently has 15,746 Nevadans (1.01% of voters) registered to vote Libertarian.

What irks us is that the Independent American Party (IAP) has 4.4% of registered voter. Most of them probably think they’re supporting truly independent, unaligned candidates when they vote “Independent”, and likely don’t know that the IAP in Nevada is the local affiliate of the hyper-conservative Constitution Party, which almost always ends up bending the knee to the GOP in elections and forming policy. That just means it’s on us to register more Libertarians, and the 2020 presidential election cycle gives us that golden opportunity.

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Response to the Libertarian Socialist Caucus on Venezuela

Venezuelan soldiers arrest a young Pemon woman for protesting. Image from Periodico el Libertario.

First, let’s start off by establishing that Kevin Zeese, the leftist activist from Popular Resistance who invaded the Venezuelan embassy in Washington DC for Maduro, is completely incorrect about Juan Guaido. Neither Guaido nor his party are ‘right-wing’ as Zeese said. They’re actually social democrats — much closer to the politics of Bernie Sanders and the DSA than Nicolas Maduro or the United Socialist Party will ever be. Maduro’s people are Stalinists while the Opposition are mostly left-wing. For example, Guaido’s party, Voluntad Popular, are recognized members of the Socialist International, and the International recognized Guaido as the legitimate constitutional President of Venezuela. Neither is Voluntad Popular a ‘tiny party’– they lost the 2013 presidential election by only 1% and are currently the majority in the National Assembly. Calling them right-wingers is just plain incorrect; they’re socialists, they’re just not on the side of the criminals you’ve been told you support.

Second, while you’re correct to oppose US military intervention in Venezuela, I can’t help but notice so many of you being silent about the ongoing military invasion of Venezuela by Cuban, Russian, and Chinese troops. The world is a giant statist Game of Thrones and it’s absolutely silly to believe the US is the only shady government with shady plans for Venezuela. If you believe anything that John Perkins wrote in Confessions of an Economic Hitman, like I do, then you also have to be open to the real (and confirmed) possibility that Cuban, Russian, and Chinese economic hitmen are trying to get Venezuela’s oil, not just US oil companies. That’s why their soldiers are in Venezuela: not for ‘socialist solidarity’ but to protect their big cash cow!

Example 1: “Venezuela’s state-run oil firm PDVSA has bought nearly $440 million worth of foreign crude and shipped it directly to Cuba on friendly credit terms – and often at a loss, according to internal company documents reviewed by Reuters. The shipments are the first documented instances of the OPEC nation buying crude to supply regional allies instead of selling them oil from its own vast reserves.” [Source: Reuters]

Example 2: “Russia has been one of Venezuela’s closest allies since 2006, when President Hugo Chavez… signed a $2.9 billion arms deal in exchange for Russian fighter aircraft. The relationship allowed Russia access to Venezuelan oil assets at below-market prices. [Source: Council on Foreign Relations]

Example 3: “Over the past decade, Beijing has lent Caracas some $70 billion, mostly for development projects, in exchange for future oil shipments. Analysts estimate the Maduro regime owes China about $13 billion. China is behind only the United States and India as an importer of Venezuelan crude. However, President Xi Jinping has thus far refused to restructure Venezuela’s outstanding loans.” [Source: CFR, same]

Example 4: “Loans from China to Venezuela reached at least $50 billion by 2017, with some estimating the number to have been as high as $60 billion. (The uncertainty regarding the figure is the result of opaque loans, split into payments of $2 billion and $5 billion each.) [Source: Sup China]

Follow the money, socialists! Most of you have been fooled by the wealthy Boligarchs who only pay lip service to Karl Marx. Stop coming to their defense.

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Assemblyman Romel Guzamana, leader of the Pemon Nation,
denounces the massacre of his people by the Maduro regime.
Image from Alberto News.

Third, it seems as if most of the LSC is ignoring the recent UN human rights report that blasts the Maduro regime for rampant human rights violations, including widespread torture and thousands of extrajudicial executions. This is telling given that the report was prepared under Michelle Bachelet, the socialist former president of Chile, who has been extremely hesitant to criticize the Maduro regime. That all changed after Bachelet and her team  personally interviewed hundreds of torture victims. Does that socialist leader’s word not count? (For those who don’t believe the Bolivarian Revolution is an Orwellian torture machine, enjoy this video of Sergeant José Tomás Ortega of the Bolivarian National Guard’s Cagua, Aragua garrison torturing civilian political prisoners.)

Fourth, socialists claim to fight for indigenous rights, yet I haven’t heard one peep from American socialists about the Indian War that’s been happening to Venezuela’s indigenous people. Yes, the Indian Wars are a thing again thanks to the Maduro regime. In February, after the Pemon Nation had recognized Guaido as Interim President, the regime emptied two prisons, armed the convicts and put them in uniform, and unleashed them on the Pemon people. The result from that weekend was 25 Pemons murdered, 80 completely missing, and another 1,000 displaced and having fled across the border to Brazil.

American chavistas can cry all they want about the economic sanctions (which didn’t hit PDVSA until the end of April 2019), but invading indigenous lands and shooting up the Natives has nothing to do with economic sanctions. That was a crime against the Natives for their politics, plain and simple. Even the ancap Murray Rothbard praised and defended the Zapatista indigenous rebels in Mexico, but too many American socialists either completely ignore or try to justify the massacre of the Venezuelan Natives.

And finally, one of the left’s favorite talking points is that the US government did the 2002 coup. It’s a fun conspiracy theory, but here’s the thing: there’s ample evidence of US government crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at home thanks to sources like Wikileaks. There’s even evidence that the 1953 coup in Iran was orchestrated by the CIA. That said, there’s no evidence that the CIA or the US government had anything to do with the events of April 2002. (The fact that Chavez said it in The Revolution Will Not Be Televised does not equal evidence.)

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Movie poster courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

What actually happened is that, while the Opposition leaders did plan a march to Miraflores to demand Chavez’s resignation, there is ample video evidence and eyewitness testimonies that the marchers were allowed to get to Miraflores, where Chavez’s armed civilian paramilitary supporters waited for them. When the shooting occurred (the chavistas shot first), the army stood back and allowed the chavista civilians to shoot at Opposition protesters. Then, in ‘response’ to the mayhem, Chavez activated Plan Avila. The last time Plan Avila had been activated was in response to the Caracazo riots of 1989, and hundreds of civilians died from the government’s heavy handed response.

The generals refused to implement Plan Avila and they strong armed Chavez to step down, albeit without having him sign a formal resignation. The generals’ intent was to allow the National Assembly (which was then under a chavista majority) to use the constitutional process to choose an Interim President and convene presidential elections. That was when another cabal came from left field with Pedro Carmona, who declared himself President and dissolved the National Assembly. The generals never gave anyone their blessing to perform a coup d’etat. The way they saw it, Chavez was under arrest, not overthrown. So in response to Carmona’s 24-hour dictatorship, General Raul Baduel decided to reinstall Chavez to bring back order.

(The best and most thorough journalistic investigation of the 2002 coup that I’ve seen yet is from Caracas Chronicles.)

Now, back to the subject of General Baduel, who restored Chavez to power in 2002. Where is he today? He’s languishing in a military prison as a political prisoner for criticizing the Maduro regime. Libertarian socialists, this is the Bolivarian Revolution that so many of you vocally support. You can’t split atoms like the way many of you have been til now. If you support the Bolivarian Revolution and believe that Maduro’s presidency must be upheld, then you also support the mass imprisonment, the torture, the thousands of extrajudicial executions, and the war on the indigenous population that have been necessary to keep him in power. The evidence of the regime’s crimes is undeniable and overwhelming. and so many of you ignore it because you have a need to make Venezuela’s suffering about Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, of all the critics of people like me who support the right of the Venezuelan masses to free themselves, not one of these Libertarian Party members in the LSC has even bothered to ask the Venezuelan Libertarians what they think or what their goals are. Folks, you’re better than this. I’m ready to talk when you are.

 

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Note: This post originally included a typo saying “the side you criminals” instead of “the side of the criminals you’ve been told…”. I apologize; that was a typo and the intent was to call the Maduro regime criminals, NOT the LSC-LP

LP in the News: International (5/15/2019)

In neighboring Canada, the Libertarian Party’s Allen Small made an hourlong appearance on TVO, Ontario state TV, about LP Canada’s plans for economic growth and increasing freedom. LP Canada has 117 candidates running for office this year.

The Moscow Times reports on how the Libertarian Party of Russia led a massive protest against ‘Sovereign Internet’, the Russian government’s proposed state-controlled, censored Internet. “Then Svetov jumped on stage, pacing from end to end. ‘The authorities have no interest in having a dialogue with us, so we need to learn how to defend our own interests,’ he yelled to applause.”

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Image: Mass protest in Russia led by Libertarians

Russia’s Libertarian Party was also prominently mentioned in articles from DW and Decrypt. The DW article focuses on ‘Sovereign Internet’ while the Decrypt article is about the need to use encrypted internet in Neo-Stalinist times. There’s also an appendix on the Russian government’s war on libertarians in the Venezuela Crisis Open Source Intel Report, published by the Mises-Mambí Institute of Cuba.

The Wall Street Journal reports that former LP member Chad Elwartowski, who has been seasteading in the South Pacific, has been shut down by the Thai Navy. Elwartowski and his wife Nadia Thepdet will face charges of violating Thailand’s national sovereignty, and they may face execution.

The Guardian mentioned the highly libertarian Liberal Democratic Party in a guide on all the minor parties running in Australian parliamentary elections. While the article is quite scornful about “wannabe senators” from “micro-parties”, we in the LP know from experience that micro-parties need to dig in, hold on, and work had for multiple election cycles. The Liberal Democrats‘ website says “You should be free to do as you please, so long as you don’t harm anyone else.” We’re on board with that!

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Adrian Leira of LP Spain

In a similarly derisive article, El Pais (based in Spain) at least mentioned the Libertarian Party while also reminding readers that “none of these parties will win a city council seat” on May 26, 2019. That’s funny, because according to El Confidencial Autónomo, the Libertarian candidate in Galicia was polling just narrowly ahead of the majority party candidate.

Moving onto the Americas, LP Nevada is very pleased to report the 2 year anniversary of the Cuban Libertarian Party recently passed. Early in 2017, there were only a few libertarians meeting in a house to study Austrian economics books. Today, there’s an LP, it’s survived two years of continued police repression, and there are big- and small-L libertarians in at least 6 provinces across the island. Our hat is off to Cuba’s Libertarians.

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The Cuban Libertarian Party

Miami-based La Republica published a Spanish-language interview of ex-Assemblywoman Natalia Diaz (pictured at the top), who served in Costa Rica’s parliament as a Libertarian. Unfortunately, the Libertarian Movement of Costa Rica has been rocked with embezzlement scandals, audits, and court proceedings in recent years. Diaz still believes in free markets and limited government, and it’s reasonable to say that the party left her before she left the party. Today she’s carrying forward her libertarian principles by leading a new underdog party, Unidos Podemos (United We Can).

There’s a lot to learn from Costa Rica’s Libertarian Movement. They surpassed every country’s Libertarian Party by electing Libertarians to national office… and then certain leaders threw it all away because of greed.

A great libertarian activist who travels frequently to Latin America is Dr. Kyle Varner, who’s been very active in helping Venezuelan libertarians. Dr. Varner was recently interviewed by the Libertarian Republic on how American libertarians should respond to the Venezuela crisis. Dr. Varner also did a spectacular interview where he defended Venezuela’s opposition and the interim presidency of Juan Guaidó.

LP Nevada’s Zach Foster roared on the Lions of Liberty podcast with Marc Clair, where he talked about the Cuban and Venezuelan Libertarians. That was followed up with an appearance on the Taxation is Theft podcast with Daniel Behrman (who’s also running for President). Foster’s arguments are similar to Dr. Varner’s: In short, while we don’t support US military intervention, we’re also opposed to the current military occupation of Venezuela by Cuban, Chinese, and Russian troops and agents. If the CIA, the Cuban troops, the Russian and Chinese troops and mercenaries were out of Venezuela, Maduro would fall in a half hour.

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Maria Oropeza, a libertarian in the center-right party Vente Venezuela

The Venezuelan libertarian activist Maria Oropeza, who’s worked many times with Assemblywoman Maria Corina Machado, was interviewed by the Spanish-language news site Tenemos Noticias about the chronic shortage of medicine in Venezuela. “Yes, I’m aware that prices have been so high for a long time. I really don’t know how someone can make that much money, but one’s health is always worth it. I had a family member who almost lost their battle with an infection, simply for not getting the medication, because of the shortage of treatments that occurred 3 months ago.”

There’s a lot happening in the world, and the news is taking notice that Libertarians are agents of real change on all sides of the globe. We look forward to the next installment of LP in the News: International Edition. In the meantime, be sure you’ve seen the latest editions of LP in the News and Even More LP in the News! And when you’re not reading about Libertarians in the news, we hope you’re one of the Libertarians making the news.

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See video: Libertarians are in a war in Venezuela 

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Images courtesy of @mborzunova, the Cuban Libertarian PartyEl Confidencial Autónomo, La Republica, and Noticias Venezuela.

Even More LP in the News! (5/15/2019)

Vegas Don is also pleased to announce the upcoming Hip Hop Meets Politics podcast. “Let’s give politicians a look at what’s going on in the streets; what’s going on with people who ain’t rich,” says Strawder. “…We’ve always been in politics, from Public Enemy to X Clan to KRS One. Now it’s time to bring it back.”

In nearby New Mexico, the NM Political Report won eight awards at the annual New Mexico Press Women’s Communications Contest. One of those awards was a second place in the Feature Story – Online Publication category, which was an analysis of LP New Mexico by Andy Lyman. Take the hint, America: publish stories about the Libertarian Party, win awards. Rinse and repeat!

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LP Texas protesters

Things got heated in Texas where state lawmakers debated how best to weaponize third parties to simply siphon votes from the opposing major party. The Houston Chronicle published an article on the recent House vote, while the Seguin Gazette published a spot-on op-ed about how the GOP is afraid of competition. In a different policy area, Center Tex Proud covers how Texas lawmakers struck down a bill that would have reduced penalties for cannabis possession.

“There’s absolutely no reason to be putting these people in jail, giving them criminal records that follow them for life. It impacts their future job opportunities, education benefits and housing opportunities,” said Stephen Carter, Secretary for the Libertarian Party of McLennan County.

The Libertarian Party of McLennan County says there’s no reason why Texas law should be this harsh, when 25 other states are moving in the other direction.

“Not throwing people in jail, not wasting police resources, not wasting court resources and quite frankly this is policy that is ruining lives and is rooted in decades of misinformation and just bad law,” said Carter.

Up in Illinois, WGLT 89.1 FM covered how the Illinois Separation movement–for Cook County/Chicago and the rest of Illinois to be two different states–was appearing at Libertarian meetings. We like controversy when it makes the news and starts a worthwhile discussion in the process; Chicago and Illinois probably should be two states.

In neighboring Indiana, the Kokomo Prespective published a story on Mike Virgin’s run for Mayor of Kokomo. We wish Mike the best and we’re eager to see what comes of the campaign; we know LP Indiana has been on their A-game in recent years.

Further east, in Connecticut, the CT Post reports that Libertarian Lamar Kennedy was sworn into the Bridgeport School Board. Make us proud, Lamar!!!

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Maj Toure

71 Republic reports two exciting events coming out of Philadelphia. First, Maj Toure of Black Guns Matter is running for Philadelphia City Council, and he’s taken on the LP as his home team. Second, the leadership of the LP Mises Caucus launched Mises PAC, which has already hit the ground running to punch hard for the LP in the 2020 elections.

In Maryland, David Griggs reminds Baltimore Sun readers that recent cannabis legalization reforms were not the idea of city bureaucrats, but has actually been a prominent Libertarian Party policy objective for decades.

Last but not least, Kery Murakami of the Washington Post did an interview of LP powerhouse Jess Mears. The interview mentioned Jess’ work with the Libertarian Party multiple times, but a lot of the interview focused on Chic-Fil-A. Frankly, the extra attention on the food chain and its savory menu options seemed a little odd to us, but if Chic-Fil-A is ultimately what it takes for the Washington Post to be interested in Libertarians, then c’est la vie.

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Jess Mears in Washington, DC

This isn’t all, folks. There’s even more LP news on the international front–covering Libertarian Parties in other countries and the American Libertarians involved with our brothers and sisters abroad. Be sure to look for LP in the News: International Edition! And when you’re not reading about Libertarians in the news, we hope you’re one of the Libertarians making the news!

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Images courtesy of Robert Strawder, the Houston Chronicle, 71 Republic, and the Washington Post.

LP in the News (5/15/2019)

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Adam Kokesh, Arizona

Let’s bring things back home before we start on the different regions of America. We at LP Nevada are proud of our vice chair David Colborne for another well-written op-ed in the Nevada Independent. This nugget of musing from one of Nevada’s favorite free thinkers is “Burning Man, we need to talk“, following on the heels of “How often should the legislature meet?“. Then, LP Nevada’s Zach Foster was interviewed by the very left-leaning Washington Babylon about Venezuela’s Libertarians and the opposition.

Somebody got arrested in neighboring Arizona (no, it wasn’t Adam Kokesh). It was actually an ex-volunteer who once was a part of Kokesh’s “Not President” campaign (the exploratory committee) and an ex-member of the LP. The Phoenix New Times reports that a certain nameless Marijuana Snitch got jail time and probation for assaulting the family lawyer. Tisk tisk. The New Times originally reported this troubled young man as a Libertarian, until they corrected it to reflect that said Marijuana Snitch had left the LP and identifies as a Republican. (As we’re told, the Snitch was demoted within the Kokesh for Not President campaign and his parting words were “I’m gonna make money putting up signs for Joe Arpaio!”)

In New York, Mia Summerson of the Niagara Gazette did a great interview of ex-gubernatorial candidate Larry Sharpe and his work to keep growing the LP and spreading that message of human freedom. Kudos to Mia for mentioning that Sharpe’s vote totals, although low, did win ballot access for the New York LP.

Things are getting serious in Kentucky! The Louisville Courier Journal carried a story on John Hicks, a Vietnam Veteran and retired teacher who’s running for Governor on the LP ticket. We’re grateful to Mr. Hicks for representing our party and we’re grateful to the folks at the Courier Journal for reminding Kentuckians that there’s another political choice besides Pepsi and Coke! The San Francisco Chronicle reports that also in Kentucky, a federal judge blocked a section of a new state law that denied ballot access for LP candidates. This is a major victory for the LP; that judge might never have heard this case had the LP not raised so much hell.

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Vicky Rose, Mississippi

Further south, Vicky Rose of LP Mississippi got several paragraphs in The Dispatch dedicated to her race against a Republican incumbent for Mississippi State House District 37. Also, at a recent city hearing on banning kratom products, she did an incredible job offering freedom, wellness, and personal responsibility as alternatives to the ban. See the video here!

There’s a lot more news on Libertarian candidates and causes. Be sure to check the LP Nevada Blog for the companion series, Even More LP in the News!

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Images courtesy of The Gazette, the Star Telegram, and The Dispatch. Kokesh photo originally by Elle Imaging.

El Partido Libertario Cubano cumple dos años

Hace dos años, casi nadie en el mundo sabía que había libertarios en Cuba. Sí, es cierto, ¡libertarios en Cuba!

Comenzaron como un pequeño grupo de activistas que se hacían llamar el Club Anarcocapitalista de Cuba y más tarde formaron el grupo de estudio “Mises Cuba”. Los líderes de este pequeño grupo de nuevos libertarios habían aprendido sobre las ideas libertarias por su propia cuenta, con su acceso limitado al Internet. Se convirtieron en libertarios simplemente por un sincero deseo de aprender sobre la libertad humana.

Estos valientes activistas por la libertad llamaron por primera vez a la atención del Partido Libertario de Nevada en febrero de 2017, cuando un refugiado cubano que llegó recientemente a Miami se contactó con uno de nuestros miembros para pedirle ayuda. Dos libertarios, Ubaldo Herrera y Manuel Velásquez, fueron arrestados por agentes de la Seguridad del Estado (la policía secreta) y sentenciados a prisión en un tribunal de canguro por cargos falsos.

El Comité Ejecutivo del PL de Nevada votó a favor de aprobar una resolución condenando al gobierno cubano por el injusto arresto de Ubaldo y Manuel, y proclamando solidaridad con los libertarios de Cuba. Dos días después, el PL de Nuevo Hampshire aprobó una resolución similar. El PL de Oklahoma siguió, al igual que el partido estatal de Missouri, de Carolina del Norte y muchas otras filiales del PL, hasta que finalmente, la Comité Nacional Libertaria también aprobó una resolución. Incluso los partidos libertarios de España y Rusia se unieron a esta declaración internacional de solidaridad con los oprimidos en Cuba.

A medida que creció la atención internacional, también lo hizo la represión del gobierno. Desde que el gobierno cubano demostró que era serio en su represión contra los libertarios cubanos, los libertarios se han tomado en serio la organización. El 7 de mayo de 2017, el Partido Libertario Cubano – José Martí se formó en La Habana (nombraron su LP como el padre de la independencia de Cuba de España).

El grupo de estudio “Mises Cuba” se convirtió en el Instituto Mises-Mambí de Cuba, un think tank e incubadora para el activismo libertario en Cuba y Venezuela. La lucha de los libertarios cubanos también ha sido cubierta por Reason, el Instituto Mises Estadounidense, PanAm Post, Info Wars, y docenas de otros sitios web noticieros.

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Mientras que el movimiento libertario cubano comenzó con solo unas pocas personas reunidas en una casa en La Habana, ahora hay libertarios en al menos seis provincias de la isla. Los libertarios de Cuba también han sido citados como una fuente de inspiración para los libertarios en Venezuela, donde la oposición no solo se enfrenta a una dictadura usurpadora doméstica, sino también a una ocupación extranjera por parte de las tropas cubanas. (Ver también: Libertarios cubanos protestan por el envío de tropas estatales a Venezuela)

No ha sido un camino fácil. La secretaria del PLC-JM fue encarcelada durante seis meses por posar en una foto con una bandera estadounidense. Otra mujer, Lianet Guerra, ni siquiera es activista; es pariente de un activista libertario, y fue enviada a prisión por falsos cargos de prostitución (así es como el régimen la interpretó cuando viajaba a Italia con su prometido italiano). Ella todavía está en la cárcel.

Nelson Rodríguez Chartrand, cofundador del PLC-JM y del Instituto Mises-Mambí, tuvo que huir de Cuba porque los agentes de la Seguridad del Estado se estaban cansando de tratar con él y amenazaban con matarlo. Está recogiendo las piezas en Brasil.

Sin embargo, los libertarios en Cuba siguen marchando. Siguen protestando. Siguen resistiendo la represión gubernamental. Deje que sus intereses nos motiven a cada uno de nosotros en los EE. UU. A aprovechar la libertad relativa que disfrutamos y a luchar contra el gran gobierno en casa mientras podamos.

¡Adelante la libertad!

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Imágenes cortesía del PLC-JM y del Instituto Mises-Mambí.

The Cuban LP turns 2!

Two years ago, hardly anyone in the world knew there were libertarians in Cuba. Yes, that’s right, libertarians in Cuba!

They’d started as a tiny group of activists calling themselves the Cuban Anarchocapitalist Club and later formed a Mises Cuba study group. The leaders of this small group of new libertarians had learned about libertarian ideas on their own, with their limited access to the internet. They became libertarian simply from a sincere desire to learn

These brave freedom activists first came to the Libertarian Party of Nevada’s attention in February of 2017, when a Cuban refugee recently arrived in Miami contacted one of our members asking for help. Two libertarians, Ubaldo Herrera and Manuel Velasquez, were arrested by State Security officers (the secret police) and sentenced to time in prison in a kangaroo court on false charges.

LP Nevada’s Executive Committee voted to pass a resolution condemning the Cuban government for the unjust arrest of Ubaldo and Manuel, and proclaiming solidarity with Cuba’s libertarians. Two days later, LP New Hampshire passed a similar resolution. LP Oklahoma followed, and so did LP Missouri, LP North Carolina, and multiple other LP affiliates, until finally, the LNC passed a resolution as well. Even the Libertarian Parties of Spain and Russia joined in this international declaration of solidarity with the oppressed in Cuba.

As the international spotlight grew, so did the government’s repression. Since the Cuban government showed it was serious in its repression of Cuban libertarians, the libertarians have gotten serious about organizing. On May 7, 2017, the Cuban Libertarian Party – José Martí was formed in Havana (they named their LP after the father of Cuba’s independence from Spain).

The Mises Cuba study group evolved into the Mises-Mambí Institute of Cuba, a think tank and incubator for libertarian activism in Cuba and Venezuela. The Cuban libertarians’ struggle has also been covered by Reason Magazine, the American Mises Institute, the PanAm Post, Info Wars, Lions of Liberty, Being Libertarian, and dozens of other venues.

Whereas the Cuban libertarian movement began with only a handful of people meeting in a home in Havana, there are now libertarians in at least six provinces across the island. Cuba’s libertarians have also been cited as a source of inspiration for libertarians in Venezuela, where the opposition not only faces a domestic usurper dictatorship, but also a foreign occupation by Cuban troops. (See also: Cuban Libertarians Protest State Sending Troops to Venezuela)

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It hasn’t been an easy road. The Secretary of the Cuban LP was sent to prison for six months for posing in a photo with a US flag. Another woman, Lianet Guerra, isn’t even an activist; she’s the relative of a Libertarian activist, and she was sent to prison on false charges of prostitution (that’s how the regime interpreted her traveling to Italy with her Italian fiance). She’s still in prison.

Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand, co-founder of both the Cuban LP and the Mises-Mambí Institute, had to flee from Cuba because State Security agents were getting tired of dealing with him and were threatening to kill him. He’s picking up the pieces in Brazil.

Yet the libertarians in Cuba keep marching. They keep protesting. They keep resisting governmental repression. Let their cuorage motivate every one of us in the US to take advantage of the relative freedom we enjoy, and fight big government at home while we still can. ¡Adelante la libertad!

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Images courtesy of the Cuban LP and the Mises-Mambí Institute.

LP in the News (4/14/2019)

We have fresh news and lots of inter-party political fighting happening across America, from local politics to state and federal races, to the 2020 presidential race!

Let’s start with some news from our own backyard here in Nevada. From Las Vegas, the Epoch Times wrote an article about Wayne Allyn Root’s new book, Trump Rules. They were nice enough to mention the Libertarian Party, since Root is a former LP candidate. However, we want to make it clear that Root left the LP years ago to rejoin the GOP, and that we in the LP are NOT fans of Donald Trump or his disregard for the Constitution; not the ban on bumpstocks, nor the lack of disclosure on foreign civilian casualties in our wars, and certainly not a phony state of emergency to pay for a useless Berlin-style border wall.

KARK (NBC News Arkansas) reports that the Arkansas LP is suing the [Republican-controlled] state government over a new petition law that requires the LP to almost triple its petition signatures from 10,000 to over 26,000.

“We told our legislators that they were re-establishing a standard that had been overturned in federal court back in 2006, but they passed it anyway,” says Michael Pakko, the chair of the state party. “We have clear precedent on our side.” Pakko also said, “As if to add insult to injury, they made it even more difficult by moving the deadlines. Prospective challengers to the established incumbents shouldn’t have to form parties and select candidates over a year before the general election.”

On that same subject, many thanks to the Arkansas Times for re-publishing LP Arkansas’ press release denouncing this move by the state government’s two-party duopoly. We say two-party duopoly, but it’s always been almost exclusively the GOP that goes out of its way to make our lives difficult.

From the Northeast, Sol Watchler wrote a negative op-ed in the New York Law Journal against fusion voting.  The point of the article is that third parties, which Sol calls fringe parties, should not be picking judges and other important elected officials. The author is entitled to her opinion, but we kind of wish Jeff Hewitt had run and been elected in New York State, just to give this woman nightmares.

In North Carolina, the LP is growing fast enough that we have our own primaries. Jannette Pippin of the New Bern Sun Journal put out a great article on forum-style debates between the two LP candidates running for the 3rd Congressional District. We’re pleased at the growth of the North Carolina party and that we’re building relationships with North Carolina’s press corps.

In Washington State, NBC Right Now reports that the Benton/Franklin Libertarian Party and Young Americans for Liberty “will be having a Free Speech Rally on Tuesday, April 16 from 10am-Noon at Columbia Basin College at the designated ‘Free Speech Zone.’ The purpose of the rally is to challenge the campus policies that limit free speech to a small portion of college.”

“Public universities are not private businesses,” Benton/Franklin County Libertarians Treasurer Ryan Cooper said. “People have a right to exercise free speech at CBC without prior notice and in a location outside of the so-called ‘free speech area.’”

Then, of course, there’s what all big and small-L libertarians love to talk about: Who’s running for president on the LP ticket?

There are still rumors circulating that libertarian-leaning GOP Congressman Justin Amash wants to run for President in 2020 as a Libertarian. Melissa Nann Burke of the Detroit News reports, “If Republican U.S. Rep. Justin Amash decides to run for president as a Libertarian, his candidacy has the potential to upend President Donald Trump’s re-election chances in Michigan.” Frankly, we’re not sorry to read news like that. After the Lines v. McCormick (2018) kangaroo court case, it’s open season on the GOP specifically.

Until Amash actually files, declares candidacy, and forms his ground team, the best-organized LP presidential candidate continues to be Adam Kokesh. Kokesh was recently interviewed on the Lucid Truth video podcast.

Daniel “Taxation is Theft” Behrman, Arvin Vohra, and several other LP presidential primary candidates had a fun and friendly debate on healthcare solutions on the popular We Are Libertarians podcast. We’re also looking forward to seeing the documentary movie This Is Vermin Supreme, about the once-again LP candidate, comedian and activist Vermin Supreme.

Some in the party have an issue with Supreme’s joke candidacy, but in reality, Supreme and his blatant mockery of the process is the only thing that will actually reach many jaded, disillusioned voters. I (ZF) watched him be swarmed by non-Libertarian fans at the Orlando, Florida hotel where the 2016 Libertarian National Convention was held. Several of them hung around to have real conversations with the less comedically inclined activists. If Supreme brings that to the table ,then he’s most welcome in the party.

Be sure to look out for the sister series, Even More LP in the News. Check out the LP Nevada blog for other news, views, and controversies. LP in the News is published every 2-3 weeks.

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Image screenshotted from Wikipedia and edited for presentation on this blog post. Amash photo courtesy of Being Libertarian.

Henry Thorns feeds the people

Las Vegas’ native son Henry Thorns was grilling up a storm last Friday. Posted in a super market parking lot in the north-central part of Las Vegas, the “historic West Side”, Mr. Thorns had a very simple objective: feed the people.

And that’s exactly what he did!

Henry Thorns is currently running to represent Ward 5 in the Las Vegas City Council. (The Libertarian Party of Nevada does not endorse out-of-party candidates and blah blah blah, you get the picture.) Though he’s not running as a Libertarian, I was exceptionally impressed that Mr. Thorns is walking a very libertarian walk.

In this case, that libertarian walk was daring to break local laws by feeding his fellow human beings without government permission. Only 4 months ago, the Review Journal reported that LVMPD officers were ramping up their ticketing of community activists passing out home-cooked food to the homeless. Well, some of the people who got a free meal that day were indeed homeless.

Many people he fed that day were simply working class folks having a rough time making ends meet. It’s likely that some of the people he fed aren’t even eligible to vote for Henry due to their having a record–this is MLK Boulevard, not Rodeo Drive. But Thorns turned no one away and asked no one for anything in return. And thanks to the sounds from DJ Ronnie O, Henry Thorns’ BBQ block party was slammin’!

This kind of initiative–spreading goodwill through the community by feeding people and turning no one away–is reminiscent of another great example of libertarian action: the free breakfast program provided by the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. The Black Panthers didn’t ask the government’s permission either–they just did it. They went ahead and did it every time, and the police and the feds were afraid of these people because, despite their collective poverty, they proved that they could organize on a voluntary basis, collect dues and donations, and rapidly deploy that capital for human development (i.e., feeding the children of poor neighborhoods so they could be healthy and be on their A-game at school). The memory of these programs is kept alive by social entrepreneurs like Henry Thorns who simply get out there and do things.

What Mr. Thorns did that day is also similar to something that the LP of Los Angeles County does in neighboring California. They feed the homeless despite having been warned multiple times by the City of Los Angeles to cease and desist. The reason is because they don’t have food handler’s licenses; therefore the City is trying to protect people. Unfortunately, the government’s idea of protecting hungry people from food-borne illness is to just protect them from getting any food at all. We prefer Mr. Thorns’ method–the Black Panther method–of helping and empowering their fellow human being without needing anyone else’s permission.

The LP of LA County doesn’t play the permission game; neither do we in LP Nevada, and neither does Mr. Thorns as he walks a libertarian walk. He may not be an LP member yet, but we have noticed his strong shows of support for Libertarian citizen-candidates like Robert Strawder, a.k.a. Tha Vegas Don. You never know what the future will hold….