Otto Guevara: Secrets of Success for Libertarians (Hint: PR's one!)
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Otto Guevara: Secrets of Success for Libertarians
The great strides toward freedom that Costa Rica has taken over the
past four years offers valuable lessons to American Libertarians,
Costa Rica politician Otto Guevara told delegates at the Libertarian
Party national convention on July 4.
"Just like in the United States, Costa Rica politics has been
dominated by two political parties that have been stealing our
freedoms year after year," he said. "But we are determined that Costa
Rica will be a libertarian nation in our lifetime."
Guevara, who ran for president on the Movimiento Libertario ticket in
Costa Rica in 2002, delivered the special July 4th address to
hundreds of delegates on the opening day of the LP national
convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.
His speech followed remarks from LP Executive Director Steve Dasbach,
Indiana LP State Chair Mark Rutherford, and Greenfield (IN) City
Councilman Phil Miller, welcoming Libertarians from around the USA.
The convention, which is taking place in the Marriott Downtown Hotel
and the Indiana Convention Center, features platform debate, the
election of a new national chair and members of the Libertarian
National Committee, seminars, workshops, and entertainment events.
To kick off the four-day event, Guevara provided a foreign
perspective to the challenges faced by American Libertarians in a
speech entitled "From Libertarianism to Socialism."
To achieve success, said Guevara, Libertarians require a political
system that is open to alternative parties, a team of dedicated
activists to help spread the message, and the ability to persuasively
explain Libertarianism to voters.
His remarks had added credibility because of the political success
enjoyed by the Movimiento Libertario (Libertarian Movement). In the
February 2002 elections, the party won six seats in the 57-member
national legislature, up from the one seat it held previously.
It was his "uncompromising, brave" vision of liberty as the lone
Libertarian in the Costa Rican Congress from 1998-2002 that set the
stage for Movimiento Libertario's recent electoral victories, said
"To win the intellectual argument, Libertarians must loudly expose
socialism, and the war, injustice, and poverty it brings about," he
Such a passionate presentation attracted the attention of many
journalists, and helped popularize the Libertarian label in his
country, said Guevara.
"Since 1998, we have averaged four citations in the Costa Rican media
per day," he noted.
As a Congressman, Guevara said he introduced bills to break up
government monopolies, eliminate taxes, deregulate industries, and
restore personal freedoms.
"People like a lean David who stands up to a bloated Goliath," he
However, Guevara said his party would not have been able to get its
foot in the door if not for the country's proportional representation
"Without [proportional representation], we would never have been able
to break into the system," he said. "I fully support efforts to
change the winner-take-all system in the United States, and open it
up to so-called third parties."
Finally, Guevara urged all Libertarians to get actively involved in
the political process. "We can change minds and bring people to our
side," he said. "If we want liberty in our lifetimes, each of us must
be a champion of liberty."
During his four-year tenure in office, Guevara was named the
country's "best congressman" in three national surveys of
journalists, and in six polls of Costa Rican voters.