Manuel F. Ayau (1925-2010)

With great sadness, I convey the news I have just received that Manuel F. Ayau died yesterday. Known to his friends as Muso, Ayau was one of the greatest persons I have had the privilege to know. I am not given to hero worship, but I do not hesitate to affirm that, to me, Muso was a hero.

Ayau was the principal founder of the Universidad Francisco Marroquin in Guatemala City. He was also a successful entrepreneur, an active participant in the public affairs of his country, and a dedicated champion of liberty there and throughout the wider world. The proud patriarch of a beautiful family, a warm friend to countless adherents of classical liberalism, and man of tremendous energy and striking courage, he exemplifies the realization of the finest potential that human beings can achieve.

The university he founded and led to maturity is now a beacon to those who seek knowledge and wisdom; it stands as without doubt the finest institution of higher education in Guatemala, and in many respects, it has no peer anywhere in the world. I have been honored to have played a small role in its affairs, and I am sure that it will ascend to even greater heights of accomplishment in the future, paying a fitting tribute to the man whose vision, dedication, and personal bravery brought it into being.

Muso is gone now, but his spirit will live forever in the hearts of the multitude who knew, admired, and loved him.

Robert Higgs is Retired Senior Fellow in Political Economy at the Independent Institute, author or editor of over fourteen Independent books, and Founding Editor of Independent’s quarterly journal The Independent Review.
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