Read This: FEE Interview With Larry Reed

Former Mackinac Center president shares stories of his world travels

Our friends at the Foundation for Economic Education recently published an interview with their current president, Lawrence W. Reed. Friends of the Mackinac Center will know Larry as the first president of this organization. He currently is president emeritus at the Center and a member of our Board of Scholars.

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The interview is fascinating and highly recommended. Larry tells several stories about his travels around the country and world. He's visited 49 states (just North Dakota left!) and an astonishing 81 countries. How he had the time and energy to build one of the nation's premier state-based, free-market think tanks and travel the world is beyond me.

Perhaps my favorite story has Larry and the Mackinac Center's late former senior vice president, Joe Overton, in the middle of a civil war in Mozambique:

In 1991, my late friend and then-senior vice president at the Mackinac Center Joe Overton and I flew at treetop level in broad daylight 150 miles into Mozambique from neighboring Malawi. We were there for a couple of weeks with the anti-communist rebels during the Mozambique civil war. The plane was piloted by a Christian missionary who knew where to go: a makeshift runway the guerrillas quickly camouflaged with small trees and brush. If the regime had known of our plans, it would have put MIGs in the air to shoot us down. A year later, we were back in Mozambique, courtesy of the regime itself, to see things from their perspective. We even had dinner with the president, Joaqhim Chissano, at the presidential palace. I asked him, “How are we to believe you’re no longer Marxist when the streets here in Maputo are named for thugs like Ho Chi Minh, Mao Zedong, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin?” He replied with a smile, “We are going to change the names of the streets.” I don’t know that he ever did.

Well, I have some bad news for Larry. Using Google Maps, I confimed that those streets  can still be found in Maputo. But I'm sure Larry won't be too surprised at being misled by a politician. There's good news too, though, because I also found a supermarket at the corner of Avenida Karl Marx and Avenida Ho Chi Min. Even on streets named for communists, markets at work!

Read the rest of the interview here.


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