Cato's 2008 Milton Friedman Liberty Prize

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Congratulations to this year's Milton Friedman Liberty Prize winner Yon Goicoechea, the brave Venezuelan student leader instrumental in thwarting Hugo Chavez's most recent power grab. The AP has details:

A U.S.-based think tank has awarded a $500,000 prize to the leader of a student protest movement that has posed a potent challenge to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

University student Yon Goicoechea became a household name in Venezuela last year when he led peaceful protests that were widely cited as a key factor in the defeat of sweeping constitutional changes proposed by Chavez.

The Washington-based Cato Institute said it will announce the 23-year-old as winner of the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty on Thursday.
[…]
"He managed to effectively give voice to millions of Venezuelans who believed in democracy, tolerance and modernity, and who felt that they were being left out of politics," said Ian Vasquez, director of the institute's Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity.

Goicoechea's $500,000 prize (!) will be awarded next month at a ceremony in Manhattan.

Full details from Cato.org here.

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  1. He’s certainly extremely deserving, and I’m glad for him that he gets such a generous prize, but it seems like a bit of a propaganda victory for Chavez, who can now claim that the opposition is being paid off by Yanqui capitalist extremists.

    I talked to some Costa Ricans last summer about CAFTA, and they were convinced that the US had rigged the Costa Rican commission that unanimously approved CAFTA because each member had been paid something like $100,000 as a stipend by the State Department. They couldn’t believe that the US government would spend so much money if they weren’t trying to get the outcome they wanted, although I assured them that $100,000 wouldn’t even be a blip on the radar for US planning.

  2. Next month if Chavez doesn’t get to him first. Yikes!

  3. ….bit of a propaganda victory for Chavez….

    You’ve described the crux of US foreign policy during my lifetime. Who will we offend, what message can we send, will the message be strong enough, and when that mentality filters down to policy it means shit like our troops in Iraq can’t have beer because some got dam Iraqi national might be offended.

    Kudos to Cato.

  4. The irony is that Chavez will likely confiscate most of that money as taxes.

  5. University student Yon Goicoechea became a household name in Venezuela last year when he led peaceful protests that were widely cited as a key factor in the defeat of sweeping constitutional changes proposed by Chavez.

    Goddam student activists. Hippies, all of them. [/grumpy old man]

    Kudos to Yon Goicoechea for his bravery and the Cato Institute for encouraging freedom.

  6. I think the award should go to Bush and professor Yoo for their willingness to crush children’s testicles to expand our freedom.

  7. The irony is that Chavez will likely confiscate most of that money as taxes.

    One would assume, if there was any organization that would be discreet about disbursing these funds, Cato would be it.

  8. Grats to Yon Goicoechea!

    It’s a shame he’s living in the next Zimbabwe.

  9. “It’s a shame he’s living in the next Zimbabwe.”
    Yeah, and imagine having to carry around that prize as 5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bolivars.

  10. “He’s certainly extremely deserving, and I’m glad for him that he gets such a generous prize, but it seems like a bit of a propaganda victory for Chavez, who can now claim that the opposition is being paid off by Yanqui capitalist extremists.”

    Chavez is already doing this anyway.

    I’d like to hear his acceptance speech, thanking his co-leaders Freddy, Geraldine, and…Stalin.

  11. “First an interview with Playboy Venezuela, and now this.”

  12. http://impresodigital.el-nacional.com/ediciones/2007/10/28/images/20071028_NACI1_4_1_F1.jpg

    I loved this photo of Yon taken after he was gassed at a protest march in Venezuela.

  13. I deserved this prize more!

  14. What’s $500k USD worth these days, $200k?

  15. Don’t worry Raimondo, you’ll get it next year…

  16. Bueno! Viva el movimiento Venezolano para Libertad!

  17. Where does Cato get all that money? I thought it was a think tank, but they’re handing out money like a government.

  18. The irony is that Chavez will likely confiscate most of that money as taxes.

    After Bush gets his share.

    Goicoechea’s $500,000 prize (!) will be awarded next month at a ceremony in Manhattan.

    As far as I know Manhattan is in the US and the IRS doesn’t care what passport you’re holding if you receive income in the US.

  19. Where does Cato get all that money?

    From the same people who keep this rag in business: the Koch brothers.

  20. I’m a Cato donor and I’ve attended events with a lot of other donors. My understanding is that total financial support from foundations and businesses is about 10 percent of Cato’s total donations. (The chair of the event will be Frederick W. Smith, the chairman and CEO of FedEx, by the way. Is he a “Koch brother”?) I’m proud to be associated with an organization that has established a prize for advancing freedom and has awarded it to such a deserving young person.

  21. Gloria al bravo pueblo!

  22. Well, I’m not fan of Chavez and congrats to the guy, but you must know that for a lot of right-wingers, Chavez is sort of the emergency reserve enemy for the Axis of Evil, and he’s already survived one coup attempt that was encouraged (if not instigated) by the US.

    And here CATO is giving the guy half a million dollars… it just supports my working theory, that CATO is a joint venture of Big Business and the CIA.

  23. Thank you for the malicious rumour, DannyK. That is the kind of thing offered without any proof or suport that tyrants like to spread. It is an old story.

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