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Latin America

He left med school to pursue liberty. Today, he’s impacted over 3,000 students in Mexico

Arturo Portillo

Arturo Portillo was in medical school when he decided to switch to economics and actively promote the ideas of liberty for the rest of his life. Growing up in the north of Mexico close to the border with the USA — one of the hardest hit regions drug cartel violence and other consequences of the war on drugs — Arturo noticed that the state was implicated in the violence and benefited from corruption. He joined Students For Liberty in 2016,

“I was looking for a way to promote liberty in my country, but in Latin America, we still don’t have access to many organizations that fight for free-market ideas. Students For Liberty gave me that opportunity, not only through its own programs but also through connecting me to other organizations working in the region.”

Arturo is a student at National Polytechnic Institute and the National Autonomous University of Mexico studying economics, political science, and public administration. His first big project, Liberty Weekend, was nominated for Event of the Year at LibertyCon in 2017. Since joining SFL in 2016, Arturo has helped to grow the organization from 6 to 50 local coordinators, with more than 200 applications to the program in the last recruitment cycle.

He is currently the Regional Director of the North of Mexico, and in 2018, under his leadership, his team impacted more than 3,400 students in Mexico through conferences and fora about individual freedom, the rule of law, the morality of capitalism, LGBTQ rights and other topics. When asked how he managed to impact so many people, Arturo said he leveraged the SFL network and went out seeking other organizations that would be interested in partnering with his team. Although the number of such organizations in Latin remains small, Arturo was able to collaborate with some of them on several projects including the regional conference and various leadership fora.

Arturo believes that Students For Liberty has been essential to his personal and professional development, as well as his effectiveness in executing high-impact projects,

“Thanks to SFL, I have participated in dozens of international conferences and have spoken at 40 conferences. Students For Liberty gives me the opportunity to make noise, to increase my capacity to create change in my community. At these conferences, I learned how to raise funds, communicate with different people and develop relations. These skills have been essential to my work as Regional Director, and in developing my leadership skills outside of the organization.”

Arturo is also working as the Media Coverage and Public Relations Director for the upcoming LibertyCon Latin America on 23-24 February 2019. “This has been a challenging process,” Arturo admits, “because you need more money than you realize. But different foundations are seeing all the impact we are having here in Mexico, and we have been able to raise money and promote the event. I never expected that we would have such in-demand speakers like Lawrence Reed and Gloria Alvarez would agree to speak at our conference.

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