Very few people ever get to see their most ardent desires realized. Manuel Ayau was fortunate to see most.
Laid to rest in a Greek Orthodox Monastery that now houses his family crypt, this little known man is the strength behind the rise of Capitalism throughout Central America, specifically Guatemala. His courageous life began in earnest as he sought to begin the prestigious Francisco Marroquin University (UFM) in Guatemala some forty years ago.
Rarely has one life contributed so much to the cause of overcoming tyranny simply by making a commitment to the promotion of free thought, and he did it in an environment that was exceedingly hostile to liberty.
The stimulant was none other than Guatemala’s stubborn poverty and underdevelopment. Most cultures throughout South and Central America share a history of Catholic Absolutism preventing the rise of the individualism that is the core of the Protestant Reformation. Nevertheless, Manuel Ayau began the Center of Economic and Social Studies (CEES) in 1958.
This institute brought to a culture deeply indebted to Catholic Absolutism such intellectual giants as Ludwig von Mises (1964), Fredrick Hayek (1965) and Ludwig Erhard (1968).
In promoting these ideals, Ayau was going up against Communists, Mercantilists, Oligarchic familes, Public sector unions and powerful institutions like the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. Clearly, Manuel Ayau was only warming up.
In 1971 with only $40,000 dollars and eight students, Ayau founded UFM in a rented house. There were eight students in first graduating class. Last year there were 509!
Marroquin graduates are the most sought practitioners throughout Central and South America.
Because at the center of the entire curriculum all students, regardless of discipline are taught the causes and origins of the wealth of nations. Alleluia.
Ironically, with Marxism dying throughout the region, its ironic to see whose ideas have stood the test of time.
He was eulogized recently by Mary Anastasia O’Grady: “It is decisive in the history of liberty, UFM is the Holy See of classical liberalism in Latin America, and Manuel Ayau is our Pope.”
Rest in Peace Brother: You won!