Thursday, February 5, 2009

Resting Up For Two Months On The Road: My Eduvacation in Costa Rica

I just landed in San Jose yesterday and I already have a sunburn! This place it beautiful. If you're a fan of the TV show “Lost,” (or you've seen an episode even if you didn't like it) you've probably noticed a distinct vividness to the cinematography. A certain vibrancy in the visuals. Well, Costa Rica is like that in real life. The show is primarily shot in Hawaii, which I've visited, but it doesn't match the kind of color in the air vitality of Costa Rica.

It also happens to be one of the most libertarian countries in the world with arguably the most successful libertarian party in the world: Partido Movimiento Libertario de Costa Rica (Libertarian Movement Party of Costa Rica or PML, link to google translated page). Costa Rica is naturally fertile soil for the philosophy of freedom with a naturally libertarian culture and a constitution that eliminated the military in 1949. This global first was made possible by a revolt in response to a military coup, but also by the strength of provincial militias and the relatively high rate of gun ownership. Thanks to the proportional representation system, the PML already controls 6 of 57 seats in the National Assembly.

Don Rasmussen of r3VOLution Consultants (formerly with the Ron Paul Presidential Campaign and Campaign For Liberty) invited me down here to learn about the PML and get some R&R before my next long stint on the road. Last night we hung out with his “Tico family” that hosted him years ago when he was here as an exchange student. I got to meet and converse extensively with Carlos Aguilar Leon, a young up-and-coming libertarian activist. His mother, Ricios Leon Dobles, who I also met, is a former vice-mayor of Heredia. With the exception of their current beach-head in the national legislature and lack of an oppressive two-party system, their movement is very similar to ours, with the same social hurdles, ideological obstacles, resistance from the benefactors of big government, and the same unwavering commitment among those at its core to the values of liberty.

The PML was founded in 1994 by Otto Guevara. In their 2006 election, he received 8.4% of the popular vote in his bid for the presidency against the popular former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias. That's a tough race for a libertarian, but 8.4% is far better than any of Bob Barr's most deluded supporters could have hoped for, and well above the 0.4% that Barr actually took. Guevara is a Harvard graduate, and has previously served in the Costa Rican National Assembly. Don and I are very excited to be meeting with him tomorrow as ambassadors of the American freedom movement. Read Don's article about Costa Rica and the PML at The Freedom Revolution.

Meanwhile, back in the homeland, there is a serious effort underway to get Peter Schiff to run against Chris Dodd for his US Senate seat. It looks like it would be tough race, but the line up of Schiff's puritan philosophy of a true free market against Dodd's corrupt version of corporatism would be juicy enough to make it a race worth supporting for our movement. For those of you wondering about his positions outside of the economy, take heart in this quote from the man himself: “I have no faith in government. There is no evidence that they're going to do the right thing.” I guess that makes him one of us! If you haven't yet, please pledge to contribute to the Schiff money-bomb scheduled for February 21st. You can use the widget at the top-right of this page or click here to go straight to their site.

We do plan to get a couple days of surfing in (embarrassing photos to come) before I fly back home, but then it's back to business. I'll be in California for a week, San Diego, LA, and San Francisco before visiting my Mom for her birthday on Valentine's Day in Pebble Beach. Then on to Colorado for a week. Ok, yes, I will take a day or two for Ron-ski and get some snowboarding in. Then Texas for the Freedom and Liberty Movement State convention. I went to their regional convention in Houston a couple weeks ago, and the way they are organizing there from the bottom up before there is even a name for the new organization let alone a structure is truly amazing. I will also be helping out with Winter Soldier Austin on February 28th. Then it's on to DC for a few days for a workshop, then up to Nashua for the New Hampshire Liberty Forum and on to an event at Kent State. Then I'll be in St. Louis supporting Matthis Chiroux resisting deployment at his US Army separation hearing. Then of course, back to DC to mark the sixth anniversary of the war in Iraq, and finally, back to Santa Fe. Did I mention that I will be driving the whole way?