Manuel F. Ayau (1925-2010), R.I.P.

Manuel F. Ayau

Manuel F. Ayau (1925-2010)

Today we mourn the passing away of Latin America’s titan of liberty, Manuel “El Muso” Ayau. His life was truly inspiring from being entrepreneurially successful, to having two doctoral degrees (Literature and Law) to founding a school (Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala City) based on the idea of taking the world back for classic liberal ideas in a continent ridden with defeatist, authoritarian socialist ideas.

To those of us lucky enough to meet him, it was surprising how warm and elegant he always was in any conversation, specially in heated debates. This he probably took from his beloved F.A. Hayek. But he was also frontal, direct and precise in logic. This, in contrast, I guess comes from his deep admiration for Ludwig von Mises.

Alas, it were Mises and Hayek the two thinkers that he wanted his young students at UFM to know about. At this truly unique university, students had to get themselves acquainted with Misesian Economics (i.e. sound, coherent economic theory and history) and Hayekian Social Thought (i.e. spontaneous and evolving social orders that escaped any pretense of social planning). I myself studied my master’s program at Muso’s UFM thanks not only to UFM existing in the first place and being considered a Mecca for Austrian Economics in our region, but also thanks to his direct support and endorsement. He was always able to gather the best Austrian minds in the region (at some point this was undoutedly the Argentinian profesors) and some of us have been granted the resulting opportunities still unmatched in several other regions of the world.

Photocopy we shared of the book the autographed for us

Muso was kind enough to send a video message for the members to the Movimiento Libertario in Ecuador andcopies of his books (brilliant, easy to understand books I have to say) whenever one of us was invited to the Austrian Mecca for a Liberty Fund event hosted by UFM.

This is a very sad day in which Latin American libertarians ought to make pause and reflect upon this great man’s legacy of courage, vision and clarity. It is now our task to multiply his deeds to a point that would make him eternally joyful wherever he now is.

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  • RIP, Mr. Ayau. I wish I had been lucky enough to know him.

    Juan, you knew him, yes?

    • Yes, he was already a legendary man when we invited him to visit USFQ in 2003 if my memory serves me well which in many ways was UFM’s twin sister, even though the respective founders -both libertarians- hadn’t met yet. After that I met him because he always too time off whatever he was busy on, to address every single Liberty Fund group that UFM hosted.

  • I had a chance to meet Manuel Ayau briefly on more than one occasion, and I know from these experiences that you didn’t have to be around him long to know he was an extraordinary gentleman. His contribution to the Austro-libertarian cause is immeasurable.