Our Institute’s co-founder Nelson Rodríguez Chartrand participated in this past weekend’s libertarian event organized by Students For Liberty of Brazil in Salvador de Bahia, in which he reaped great success and admiration for his speech in the defense of human rights and the libertarian movements he cofounded in Cuba, from the Benjamin Franklin Libertarian Library to the Cuban Anarchocapitalist Club to the Mises-Mambí Institute and the Cuban Libertarian Party – José Martí.
When Nelson began his libertarian journey, Austrian economics and libertarian philosophy were new concepts to him. The Cuban Anarchocapitalist Club and the Mises Cuba book club were tiny groups meeting in small, private residences in Havana. After four years of Nelson’s tireless efforts with educating, recruiting, and networking, and one year after the Cuban Libertarian Party was founded in Havana, there were libertarians in at least 6 provinces across the island.
His activism came at a cost, since his dissident status made him unemployable, thus subjecting him to many nights of going to bed hungry. He was also arrested and beaten by police over half a dozen times between 2017 and 2018.
Nelson had to escape Cuba in 2018 when State Security began making clear death threats against him. Given the murders of other Cuban dissidents by police that year, the threats were credible and Nelson made his arrangements to flee. He eventually made it to Brazil, where he eventually settled down in Bahia.
Today, Nelson is gainfully employed, happily married, and continues participating in libertarian organizations and events. His work and legacy in Cuba are internationally known today among libertarian and pro-free market organizations around the world. He’s also made it clear that he’s not done spreading the message of human freedom.
We have an ambassador of libertarianism in Brazil!
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This article includes contributions by Angelines Chamorro, our volunteer from Spain. Images courtesy of Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand.