The Los Angeles Times profiles Manuel Francisco Ayau Cordon, founder of Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala City, a "citadel of laissez-faire economics." A few clips:
Welcome to Guatemala's Libertarian U. Ayau opened the college in 1972, fed up with what he viewed as the "socialist" instruction being imparted at San Carlos University of Guatemala, the nation's largest institution of higher learning. He named the new school for a colonial-era priest who worked to liberate native Guatemalans from exploitation by Spanish overlords.
[Ayau] picked up a pamphlet by Ludwig von Mises, a member of the so-called Austrian School of economics. Considered one of the fathers of modern libertarianism, Mises abhorred state intervention in the economy. He believed that open markets, individual choice, private property and the rule of law were the means to a prosperous society.
Something clicked. Ayau read everything he could find by Mises, Friedrich Hayek and other Austrian School economists. He started a small discussion group among some Guatemalan friends and eventually traveled to New York to attend lectures at the Foundation for Economic Education, a free-market think tank. Through contacts there he met Mises and others whose works he'd been reading. At Ayau's urging, several traveled to Guatemala to speak to his tiny band of free marketeers, who by now were calling themselves the Center for Economic and Social Studies.
John Stossel, co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20," was honored this year on campus, as much for his ideology as his Emmy awards. An avowed libertarian, Stossel got a warm reception for his discourse against government regulation.
"We celebrate the message that this university teaches because economic freedom makes everybody's life better," Stossel said to rousing applause.
There are no sports teams and no affirmative action in hiring or admissions. Instructors can forget about tenure; there is none. Ditto for the protests and sit-ins that are common in public universities in Latin America. If Francisco Marroquin students are unhappy with the product they're getting, they're free to take their business elsewhere.
"If you don't like Macy's, you go to Gimbels," Ayau said.
I hate to break it to Ayau, but Gimbels closed more than twenty years ago—but point taken.
(Tip: Steve K.)