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Latin America

María Amaré: Why Entrepreneurship is a Winning Message in Venezuela

When we spoke with Maria, she had just come for a protest to support Ukraine. “We found liberty at the same time,” she explained. “So Venezuela always supports Ukraine and Ukraine marches for Venezuela” 

People who knew María as a child might be surprised she is now marching for global liberty. 

“I have pictures of me from three years old wearing shirts with Che Guevara – my family is completely communist except for my mom. I never felt comfortable with those ideas, so I started to investigate. I started to see organizations around the world but didn’t feel that I identified with any of them. Then, one day, a friend messaged me about Students For Liberty. I looked at their website and saw life, liberty and property. I thought ‘okay, this is what I believe.’ I applied for the local coordinator’s program and here I am.”

“I love Venezuela, but I know that I don’t have any opportunity here. We are having persecution by the government, then the intelligence service. I’m finishing my law degree and want to do everything I have to do in like two years. And then I want to worry about my career always with the ideas of liberty wherever I am.”

“I like to do proactive work. I’m a researcher in business intelligence – actually, I found the job through SFL – and I speak to kids about entrepreneurship, economic freedom, liberty, and objectivism.” 

“I think it is very important to go out of our comfort zone, out of what we know, to promote with more impact the ideas of liberty. I’ve spoken at 6 schools and universities, but the last project I led was Rethinking Venezuela in alliance with The Objective Standard Institute. For that, 15 events were held in 10 cities located in 7 states of Venezuela, impacting more than 250 people in two months.”

“At the beginning, audiences were less receptive than they are now but I understood that, if we want to promote the ideas, we need to talk in their own language. We need to see a common point. Talking about entrepreneurship is good because the minimum wage in Venezuela is $2 per month and you can’t live on $2 or $3 per month. For example, you go to McDonald’s and price of a McFlurry is $6. It’s just ice cream, there’s no Oreo or anything. So, you need to be entrepreneurial to survive. People are libertarian without knowing about libertarianism – it was the same case with me.”

“When I heard about libertarianism, it was like a revelation. Because before joining SFL, I was a human rights activist supporting public education for everyone and things like that. But, I was really critiquing – how is public education going to be possible if people doesn’t have money to pay taxes? It’s unsustainable. Then, when I read about Mises and Hayek, I understood why it’s unsustainable.”

“A freer future in Venezuela is when government does not criminalize the generation of wealth. If you are a successful entrepreneur, the government is going to take your money or take your enterprise, and it’s not correct. They destroy everything that they touch. The starting point is to make people conscious about the importance of the generation of wealth.”

“It can be dangerous to speak out. If Maduro’s government wants you in jail, they are going to find a reason – you don’t have to do anything. So I talk about welfare, entrepreneurship, economic freedom and liberty in general rather than say ‘Maduro, get out’ so it’s not too dangerous.”

“It’s uncomfortable for the government because it’s ideas and they have changed the world.”

“It is worth the risk because, without liberty, you don’t have anything. You can have money or your family but, if you’re not free to spend your money on the things you want, or to visit your family, it doesn’t matter. People think ‘I need security because the state is good.’ No, it’s not good. There is no security or human rights or anything without liberty. And we have the responsibility to defend our liberty because without that we are nothing.”

“I talk about these ideas every time I have the opportunity and now I have a community because I’m an activist promoting the ideas of liberty. That made me feel isolated from my family, but SFL is like a family. We had an SFL retreat last week and talking about promoting the ideas of liberty made us cry a lot, because we defend and promote liberty, but we don’t know liberty firsthand. We only know it in books, or if we travel to another country. Liberty is temporary, not real in Venezuela.”

María Amaré

Maracay, Aragua, Venezuela

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