Giancarlo Ibarguen, R.I.P.

Leader of Guatemalan Universidad Francisco Marroquin advocated for startup cities and libertarian ideas in Latin America.


Giancarlo Ibarguen, leader of the Guatemalan Universidad Francisco Marroquin, has died.


Ivan Osorio of the Competitive Enterprise Institute writes on Ibarguen's contributions to the cause of liberty:

He helped build UFM into a major institution dedicated to the ideas of liberty…[UFM is] A full-fledged university, since its founding in 1971, UFM sought not only to eschew the Marxist economic theories that were in fashion then (even more than today, and especially in Latin America), but to revive the study of the great classical liberal thinkers.

In addition to his pioneering work in higher education, Giancarlo also played a critical role in advancing liberalization in telecommunications in Guatemala, helping to create a dynamic competitive telecom market.

Michael Strong, an activist in the "startup cities" movement that Ibarguen was a big player in (he co-founded the Startup Cities Institute), eulogizes him on Strong's Facebook:

While being a quiet, honest, doer he was also an amazing intellect, an engineer who had read as widely as anyone I know. I would mention relatively esoteric corners of the world of thought (e.g. the intersection of the work of Donald T. Campbell and that of Hayek), and Gianca was one of the very few people who, of course, had already read the relevant thinkers and thought about these connections himself.

I have known a dozen Nobel laureates, a dozen billionaires, dozens of CEOs, a couple of MacArthur "Genius" Award winners, and more. While not as high profile as many of these people, as a great human being, Gianca is in a class of his own. Beyond all of his worldly achievements, he was a warm, attentive, compassionate, human being with a sparkle in his eye and love for all that represented the true, the good, and the beautiful. He invariably took action to support and promote every human being who could contribute to the greater good.

On a personal note, Ibarguen was very helpful to me in guiding my understanding of the ideas and processes behind the idea of "startup cities" under whatever rubric, and the particulars of the efforts to launch such in Honduras, as detailed in my May 2013 Reason feature "The Blank Slate State."

Reason TV interviewed Ibarguen in 2011 on the drug war in Guatemala:

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  1. Pro-liberty people keep dying. Am I the only one who notices that statists never die? They just keep living on like zombies, the living dead. I mean look at Hillary, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid, they’re living fossils of pure evil, they’re the real zombie menace.

    1. Fucking Fidel Castro is still alive.

      1. I’m genuinely amazed nobody’s assassinated that demon yet.

        1. Obama loves him, he’s probably been sent a personal security team courtesy of US tax payers.

      2. And will be as long as Sean Penn is around to resuscitate.

        1. He missed with Chavez though,

          1. He can’t be everywhere at once.

      3. Remember Gadhafi? That fucker was walking around looking like a wax dummy years after I’m sure he was already dead. It must have taken a lot of firepower to kill him, with silver bullets. I’m sort of expecting him to come back to life anytime now.

        1. Qaddafi was actually raped with a bayonet and then got savagely beaten before being executed, so things didn’t end too well for him.

          1. Maybe they raped him with a silver knife?

        2. He’s gonna be so pissed about the sodomy.

    2. Just like how drunk drivers seem to always survive crashes they cause while resulting in death for others.

      1. Drunks survive because they don’t tense up in anticipation of the crash.

    3. Hey, Scalia and Nancy Reagan are dead.

      1. Scalia? What is that old skeleton that’s still in the SCOTUS since when? 1790? She has to be 300 years old at least.

        1. RBG’s secret of longevity: napping for 20 hours out of every 24.

    4. They just keep living on like zombies, the living dead. I mean look at Hillary, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid

      Hillary is the Lo Pan of American politics. As long as she can continuously achieve higher office, she remains vibrant.

      1. She’s about as vibrant as a moldy old dishrag. I bet they have to shoot her up with all sorts of steroids and super stimulants just to get her to be able to remain on stage for an hour. Her blood is probably mostly composed of formaldehyde. After it all starts wearing off, she has another coughing fit, then they put her back in the preservation chamber.

        1. That’s because she currently holds no office. She has to get this locked by November, midnight!

        2. I like to imagine her lying on Dr. Frankenstein’s table, as someone flips the switch and fires thousands of volts through her body every morning just to wake her up and get her going.

      2. Gotta keep Ching Dai happy or else.

    5. living fossils of pure evil

      I just assumed they’re clones.

  2. Sad news. The UFM appears to be a great institution, and startup cities are one of the more practical solutions for creating a more competitive and possibly more libertarian world.

  3. What’s sad is the entire War on Drugs is not just a bad policy, but is extra-constitutional. I’m not sure I see a path out of the WoD– or the next War on [fill in the blank] until we get our constitutional house in order. Even if we crack the war on drugs (whatever that may look like) there’s nothing to stop the next cultural war because we haven’t come to terms with enumerated powers.

    1. You can be assured that Hillary will double down on the WOD and the foreign interventions.

      1. She can do whatever she wants on the War on Drugs, because she sees no constitutional exception to the concept.

      2. Not if it doesn’t benefit her politically. She’ll turn on a dime for a point in the polls.

    2. Also here in North America (USA and Canada) the money also corrupts… only is isn’t drug money. It is a taxpayer funded cash cow for “justice” departments, law enforcement agencies etc… The more carnage they create the more they use it to justify more intrusions. It is a nightmare scenario that soccer moms support, and therefore are easily manipulated to keep voting for drug warriors to save them from themselves. If we were to find the magic pill to end crime, just think of all the well paid assholes who’d be out of work, police, prosecutors, judges and on down the line. There is no desire for those people to reform justice, quite the opposite in fact, the desire is to keep the gravy train going.

    1. She is “talk home and meet the folks” cute.

  4. It would be nice if they laid the same traps for the dems that they have for team R. We spent 1/3 of the first Republican debate on faith, god and abortions. And this was with presumably friendly moderators from FOX.

    I’d love to see them ask Hill and Bern about their belief in God in the same way the republicans were grilled. They actually asked them “do you talk to god?” and “will you do what God tells you to do in office?”. Even asking them if they believe in God would be something. So far only 1 late-night talk show host has taken the Dems on with that one.

    Sanders is probably an atheist, since he claims to be a non-religious jew, and when asked he didn’t strongly declare one way or the other. So that could be interesting.

    They were also asked a lot of questions about abortion…. so where are the similar questions for team D? “Hillary, do you support the practice of partial birth abortion?” with appropriately graphic description of the process. Or “Hey Bernie, do you think that a woman should be able to have an abortion at 6 months without notifying her husband?”

    There’s gotta be a ton of “gotcha” questions out there that are not being asked on team D’s side.

    So far Trump is the only guy I’ve ever seen that can really handle those. “That’s a stupid question. And you are fat.” Well, Bill Clinton was really good at it too. He could make you forget that he wasn’t addressing the question.

  5. Michael Strong, an activist in the “startup cities” movement that Ibarguen was a big player in…

    You know, I’m usually not too nitpicky about grammar, but Christ on a crutch.

    1. Nikki’s got her hands full in the abortion thread, so feel free to step up.

  6. So how did he die? He was only 53.

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