May 21, 2024

Meet The New 1995 Society Member: Daniel Di Martino

By: AF Editors

Meet The New 1995 Society Member: Daniel Di Martino!

Daniel Di Martino was born in 1999 in Venezuela to a middle class family. His grandparents escaped poverty and oppression in Italy and Spain in the 1950s, seeking a better future in the then 4th richest country in the world, Venezuela. Italy was destroyed by fascism and World War II and Spain by the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime. Yet, despite not having a high school education and some having to learn a new language, his family prospered under Venezuela’s relatively free market and strong democracy in the second half of the 20th century. But Daniel saw how socialism transformed the once prosperous nation that welcomed his grandparents into a poor and dangerous place. His family’s income was drastically reduced due to inflation and he was forced to line up for food and basic necessities for hours due to the socialist policies of Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro.

In 2016, he left Venezuela to go to college at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis thanks to a full-tuition scholarship that is given to only one international student per year. At IUPUI, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with honors and the highest distinction in Quantitative Economics in December 2019. Daniel’s experience in Venezuela taught him that any country, no matter how rich or democratic, can fall into the trap of “democratic” socialism and gradually lose all its prosperity. In America, he saw the rise of socialism on college campuses and became a major advocate for free markets, using his story to educate Americans, especially those in his generation, about why more freedom, not socialism, is the way to make America even greater than it already is.

Daniel is currently a Young Voices contributor, a Bienvenido Outreach Council member, a Newsmax insider, a speaker of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, and a PhD in Economics candidate at Columbia University.

Daniel has been on national TV dozens of times, being interviewed in Fox News, Fox Business, CNN, Fox 5DC, i24 English, and many other TV channels and radio stations. You can watch and listen to his interviews here.

He regularly writes op-eds and articles for outlets such as the USA Today, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, The Daily Wire, and many more. You can read them here.

Daniel is also a sought-after public speaker who lays out the problems of socialism using his story and first-hand knowledge to connect with diverse audiences. He has spoken at events and conferences of organizations like CPAC, Moms for America, the State Financial Officers Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and universities such as Ball State University and the University of Kentucky. You can watch those here.

Read below to learn more about Daniel!

What moment or opportunity in your life played the most significant part in getting you to where you are today?Meet The New 1995 Society Member: Daniel Di Martino! 4

The most pivotal moment was likely when I was in middle school and one of my best friends asked me to join the Model United Nations team which was a sort of debate club where you represented a country in a mock U.N. and other simulations. Participating throughout high school in Model U.N. and then debate allowed me to overcome how shy I used to be as a kid and learn about the world, persuasion, and leadership.


What is the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career so far?

Passing and completing the first year of my PhD in economics program at Columbia remotely from Kentucky during the pandemic. First year courses in Economics PhD programs are notoriously difficult and math-heavy; the pandemic isolation, my grandfather’s death with COVID-19 and my parents’ restaurant closure all while I was away from them during that year made it all more difficult.

What piece of work or accomplishment are you most proud of?

Definitely the Dissident Project. We are preserving freedom in America one mind at a time by exposing high school students to the stories of people who fled tyrannical countries. Another highlight of this work for me is the job opportunities we have created for the dissidents who have suffered tremendously because of foreign tyrannical regimes and seeing them enjoy telling their stories and contributing to keeping America free.

In your words, what motivates your belief in freedom?

I understand what it feels like to live in a country without freedom and opportunity. It feels like you’re powerless and hopeless. I wonder often what my life and that of all my Venezuelan friends and family would look like had we never lost freedom in Venezuela and I don’t want anyone in America or elsewhere to go through this. This fear motivates me every day.

Meet The New 1995 Society Member: Daniel Di Martino! 3What do you believe is the greatest challenge facing America today?

I believe we have a shortage of gratitude among young people because they fail to appreciate how good they have it relative to our ancestors and misplace the blame for their personal problems on others rather than themselves or even the government. This has led to a decline in patriotism and a rise in pessimism about the future. I fear that foreign tyrannical regimes are fueling this and they contribute to the greatest social ills we have today like the drug addiction crisis, refugee waves that reach our borders, and wars and conflicts that cost us tremendously. We need to fight this by teaching gratitude to young Americans, fighting for free enterprise so people are ever more prosperous, and making sure people know that the most important fight isn’t even internal politics in America but the global fight where it really is about good versus evil and we always should fight for good.

What is the next big goal or project you’re working on? How can the AF community help? 

I’m working on a book about the stories of the people who suffered under socialism in Venezuela and the lessons we can draw from it. I’m sure AF will be immensely helpful in promoting it.

What advice do you have for those who want to advance liberty and make a difference in our society?

To try to live the best personal life possible, caring for your family, friends, and then to not be afraid to voice your opinion. To persuade someone, you must love them first. No one has ever been persuaded by someone who they think hates them. And that’s the problem today in America: Many Americans hate each other and an even greater number falsely think that the other side hates them. You can change that by being the best version of yourself with your family, friends, and communities. If you do, others will be more open to hearing what you have to say.

What are some hobbies/side gigs/secret skills no one knows about?Meet The New 1995 Society Member: Daniel Di Martino! 2

I really like war strategy video games, but I limit very strictly the time I spend on it and rarely do because they take a long time. Other than that, I love to lift weights in the gym.

What are you watching/reading right now?

I just finished reading the Economics of the Parables by Father Robert Sirico and I hadn’t read the famous Markets and Minorities book by Thomas Sowell, so I am reading it now.

Last question: What does winning this award mean to you?

It’s a great honor and recognition of what I’ve achieved with the idea of the Dissident Project, my work at the Manhattan Institute to bring people together and advance the national interest on immigration, and my constant events to educate young Americans about the dangers of socialism.