Historically, Mexican student activists have faced repression for speaking out against violence, corruption, and authoritarianism. Today, Mexico remains one of the most dangerous countries in the world for activists, regardless of their political leanings. Although student movements have historically been left-wing, there is a new breed of student activists who are more interested in defending free markets than supporting the welfare state. Among them is Mirna Ponce, EsLibertad’s National Director in Mexico.
“It is easy to forget that Mexico is one of the most dangerous countries in the world, and the probability of being kidnapped and disappeared for being a woman, a student or even for having a different opinion is very high. Many of our local coordinators in Mexico come from the most dangerous regions in the country, and it is truly inspiring to see all those leaders triumph in the face of adversity.”
For Mirna Ponce, EsLibertad provides an opportunity to make a difference in a society that lives in fear of drug cartels and where people are collateral damage in the war on drugs. Mexico’s immigration crisis is widely publicized, and every year, thousands of people leave the country in search of better opportunities, and those who stay are forced to accept that corruption, violence, and socialism are a normal part of life.
An Economics student at the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico City, Mirna has been a volunteer with Eslibertad since 2016. Through SFL, she found the opportunity to volunteer and learn more about how to effectively promote freedom and has since become one of Eslibertad’s most impactful leaders. Although she is based in Mexico City, she is dedicated to spreading the message of liberty across Mexico and reaching those who have never been exposed to the ideas. In 2018, she helped to put together conferences and workshops with over 1200 attendees.
“To promote the ideas of liberty you need many allies, resources, and preparation, and Students For Liberty offers all of this, and develops my leadership skills so I can become an agent of change. SFL allows me to connect with the world’s leading agents for change. Through this organization, I have met inspiring young people who are also committed to building a freer, more tolerant and open society.”
The secret to her success and these impressive attendance numbers is that she chooses issues that affect people on a day-to-day basis. Mirna recognizes that the most pressing problems in her environment are the war on drugs, the significant barriers to entrepreneurship, the migration crisis, the absence of the rule of law, and violence against women, and she develops conferences and workshops to educate her community about pro-liberty solutions to these problems. “Liberty is the philosophy that inspires and encourages me to work hard to improve my society,” Mirna says. “Once I realized that the ideas of liberty are the only way to start forging a freer future for Mexico, I decided to look for opportunities to further my knowledge and learn how to promote them.”
In 2018, partly due to Mirna’s exceptional work, the number of local coordinators in Mexico increased from just six to over 50 in one year. Mirna was also involved with planning the two-day retreat for these leaders in Mexico City. She has been instrumental in training and developing a new generation of young leaders, many of who traveled from remote cities across the country to come to the retreat.
She is currently the Logistics Director for LibertyCon Latin America 2019, which is set to be the largest pro-liberty even in Latin American history. Mirna is looking forward to “demonstrating that young leaders in Latin America have the ability to develop high-impact projects to promote human prosperity. LibertyCon will be a landmark moment in the Latin American libertarian movement, and I am so excited to be a part of it.”