Making Liberty Part of the Debate in Colombia
Daniel Raisbeck, Colombia
Antigua Forum 2015 and 2016
Daniel Raisbeck came to the Antigua Forum 2015 gathering with an unusual and ambitious project. He wanted to decriminalize drugs in his home country of Colombia to break the decades-long cycle of violence and corruption. He left with a communications strategy as well as a better understanding of how to think like an entrepreneur to promote reforms.
Back home, Daniel applied the entrepreneurial thinking he learned at Antigua Forum and calculated that in an election year he could have the most effect on the policy debate by entering politics. He quickly pivoted from a single-issue reform agenda and decided to run for mayor of Bogotá, one of the highest-profile political roles in the country. While the odds of winning were low, he collected enough signatures to be listed on the ballot and appear regularly in debates, where he consistently made the case for economic freedom.
After the election in November 2015, which he lost, Daniel spoke with many business and community leaders who were attracted to his ideas. While some wanted to launch a new political party, Daniel saw an opportunity to start a broader conversation.
Daniel returned to Antigua Forum in January 2016 and reconnected with Surse Pierpoint, who mentioned his role with the Bastiat Society, an international organization that connects business leaders with market liberal ideas. Daniel followed up and soon was in charge of launching the Bastiat Society’s chapter in Colombia, which he now leads.
In addition to public speaking, after the 2015 election Daniel also started writing for the PanAm Post, an online news and opinion magazine. Shortly before attending the Antigua Forum 2016 gathering, he learned that the magazine’s owners were considering a change in leadership and that they also wanted to include more high-profile interviews. Daniel used his participation at the Antigua Forum to interview influential and well-regarded participants.
Given his role as an experienced and principled political candidate, writer, and interviewer, the decision was made to appoint Daniel chief editor. In this role, Daniel says he’s applying what he’s learned at the Antigua Forum to run the PanAm Post as a sustainable business, regularly trying experiments to better communicate ideas. One year after becoming the new editor, he has the publication back on its feet with page views up from half a million to almost two million per month.
“At the Antigua Forum I pitch my project ideas to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are really tough. If I can handle their criticisms and feedback I can handle Colombian politicians.” – Daniel Raisbeck, Colombia