Francisco Costa is currently a Law student and a Senior Local Coordinator for Estudiantes por la Libertad in Valparaíso, Chile. Francisco has found himself fighting for something that Chilean youth cherish deeply: higher education that is accessible and of quality. Francisco and other recognized student leaders founded “Sociedad” (Society), a liberty-oriented political movement that promotes “associative liberalism” and “social and economic autonomy of higher education”.
Unfortunately, the student movements that are pushing educational issues are mostly socialist-leaning, and advocate for a state-controlled education. Francisco, as the first National Coordinator of Sociedad, has openly opposed these types of policies. To him and the people involved in the movement, state-oriented policies “are not only doing more harm to higher education, but they lead the people to a complete dependency of the political class, which with the logic of free education will be able to buy out the autonomy of universities and will have the faculty to impose education unto Chileans”.
The movement has only 9 months of existence, but has already gained much terrain, having presence in 10 universities all across the countries and being a vocal force in the Confederación de Estudiantes de Chile-CONFECH (Chile’s Student Confederation), the main organization of student movements in Chile which has traditionally been governed by leftist movements.
For the first time in years, a liberty-oriented movement has a real chance of occupying important positions within the CONFECH and opposing the usual state-oriented policies that are supported. The movement has won the support of many important political actors as well, including people like José Antonio Kast, a projected presidential candidate from the Evópli party (a liberty-oriented party).
In these pasts months Francisco has been touring the country and its universities to explain the movement’s positions on the key issues of education: gratuity, universal access and autonomy. He has also promoted a petition that aims to fundraise for those who need support to get into college, promote the public roles of the academia and secure the autonomy of universities and of educations projects. All of this through private support.
Sociedad works closely with Equidad, a think tank founded by a former local coordinator, Alexandro Cea. The two of them collaborate in order to promote liberty-principled public policies, mainly in education issues. And as a local coordinator with EsLib, he finds even more spaces to showcase how the ideas of liberty can improve society and to empower people to start taking action against policies that for so long have rendered bad results, and have meant the deterioration of an educational system that for many years had been a model for the region.
For Francisco, SFL-Eslibertad has been key for him in order to develop the skills he considers have been a cornerstone for his activism in Sociedad, such as effective communication of the ideas of liberty, strategies for building up networks but above all being able to be connected with advocates of liberty that work in a coordinated way all around Spanish speaking Americas.
Besides his role as a local coordinator of Eslibertad, Francisco participates actively in other political and social causes such as being a firefighter with the 1st Company of Firefighter of Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and as the representative of the student council of the law faculty at his university.