Alvaro Vargas Llosa Archive

Alvaro Vargas Llosa is a Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute. More information

Galeano vs. Rangel: A Conflict of Visions in Latin America



In 2009, President Hugo Chávez caused a stir when he presented President Barack Obama with a literary gift titled Open Veins of Latin America. The author, Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano, an icon of the left, died last month. It so happens that 2015 is also the fortieth anniversary one of the best books about…
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Lee Kuan Yew and Singapore’s Transformation from Poor to Prosperous



Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s legendary statesman, who died last month at the age of 91, posed a challenge to those of us who believe in political and economic freedom (and all other freedoms). His combination of authoritarianism and economic freedom, of social engineering and self-reliance, worked. The result was a society that is more…
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Venezuelan Dictator Nicolas Maduro Tightens His Grip



Venezuela’s tyrant, Nicolás Maduro, has a habit of surpassing his own repressive feats every now and then. The latest wave of repression gives a stunning indication of how far he is prepared to go to hold on to power in the face of massive rejection. At the end of January, Maduro’s government gave the…
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Humala’s Hatchet Man May Be Key Figure in Peruvian Spy Scandal



The Peruvian government is spying on its critics, real or imagined. The first revelations came out a year and a half ago but were summarily dismissed by President Ollanta Humala. Now a profusion of videos, documents, and other evidence has been leaked out by insiders at the National Intelligence Directorate (DINI), an organization headed…
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Oil and Dictators



Will the collapse of oil prices benefit or erode petrodictators in the Middle East, Eurasia, Africa, and Latin America? At first glance, the answer would seem obvious. Venezuela, Nigeria, and Iran need crude prices as high as $110 per barrel to fund their states in their present condition. Russia, half of whose government budget…
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The Malvinas versus Argentina



I hope someone has the cheek to send Argentine President Cristina Kirchner a copy of the Statistical Yearbook 2014 published by the Falkland Islands Government—preferably without giving too many hints of their identity, if they want to avoid serious trouble. Regardless of what one thinks about the sovereignty issue, few documents in recent memory…
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Brazil—Back to Normality



Brazil’s presidential election has confirmed that, after a few weeks in which environmentalist candidate Marina Silva and her “new kind of politics” turned things upside down, everything is back to normal: the governing Workers Party (PT) is a hegemonic force, the Social Democratic Party (PSDB) is a convenient opposition and, despite the increasing impatience…
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Obama: The Unbearable Lightness of Being on Immigration



President Obama’s decision to postpone executive action on immigration is probably the nail in the coffin for comprehensive reform under the current government — regardless of whether the president has the constitutional authority to bypass Congress or not, which is not the topic of this post. Whatever reform comes after the midterm elections, if…
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A Hell of a Pinpoint Operation



Secretary of State John Kerry was right to call Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas “a hell of a pinpoint operation” in an apparently private comment that had the hallmark of a diplomatic move aimed at putting pressure on Tel Aviv. Except that he was referring ironically to the military aspect of the operation,…
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Piketty and Emerging Markets



Much has been said to refute Thomas Piketty’s important book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, from the perspective of developed countries, but not from the standpoint of emerging markets. His contention that the rate of return of capital, roughly twice the rate of growth of the economy, leads to increasing inequality is not consistent with…
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