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Where are the right-wing ‘George Soros’?

By Gabriel de Arruda Castro

In 2021, the Open Society Foundation, owned by wealthy George Soros, poured R$107 (US$21) million into Brazilian NGOs – none with principles that can be considered right-wing.

As shown by Gazeta do Povo, the list of beneficiaries includes organizations that defend prisoner’s incarceration, the LGBT agenda, and drug legalization.

The entity created by George Soros is not the only one.

Although with a smaller budget than the Open Society, other powerful international organizations act similarly.

For example, the Ford Foundation and the Oak Foundation distribute hundreds of millions of dollars annually around the globe, including in Brazil.

Brazilian NGOs, Where are the right-wing ‘George Soros’?
George Soros (Photo internet reproduction)

According to Brazilian law, receiving these resources is not prohibited.

But the lack of transparency about the source of the resources and the significant volume of dollars sent to NGOs that would not survive without these contributions create a serious problem.

The distortion of the public debate in a country where causes advocated by the Open Society, such as the defense of abortion and drugs, have never been popular.

The protagonism of the Open Society and similar organizations also provokes a question: where are the right-wing ‘George Soros’? The short answer is: they don’t exist.


Ultrariches with progressive leanings are not necessarily more charitable than their right-wing counterparts.

The difference is the destination of resources.

The contemporary left, which sometimes calls itself “liberal” and (at least in the West) has left orthodox Marxism behind, has an internationalist outlook.

The right is more nationalistic.

So instead of left vs. right, perhaps speaking of a confrontation between national and global is more appropriate.

George Soros, the Ford Foundation, and the Oak Foundation act globally.

Progressives believe that some causes (LGBT rights, for example) should be promoted in all countries.

The vast majority of groups that identify themselves as conservative prioritize the locals. It makes sense: one of the pillars of conservatism is an appreciation for specific traditions, accompanied by a rejection of global homogeneity.


In the United States, for example, there is no shortage of donors to right-wing organizations.

The Heritage Foundation, the country’s main conservative research center, had a budget of US$82.5 million in 2021.

Not a single penny came from the public purse. Small and large private donors entirely funded the amount.

Also, in the United States, American brothers Charles and David Koch, who together have a net worth of more than US$100 billion, are known for funding right-wing organizations and candidates.

They maintain Stand Together, a foundation that distributes funds to non-governmental organizations like George Soros’ Open Society.

But the difference is that the Koch brothers prioritize training young leaders to defend the cause of freedom.

The Koch brothers, however, also advocate legalizing drugs, reducing incarceration, and supporting removing barriers to immigration.

In other words: while they support causes dear to liberals and conservatives, such as the free market and free speech, they seem to align themselves with progressives.

Therefore, they can be more appropriately classified as libertarians than as conservatives.

Another big funder of right-wing movements, this one a conservative, is David Green, founder of the mega-chain of Hobby Lobby stores, which sell objects for the home.

Owner of a US$14 billion fortune, he helped create the Museum of the Bible, a modern building in the center of the American capital that proposes to present the Holy Book interactively.

He also funds Christian colleges (one of which received a US$20 million grant in 2021) and entities that defend religious freedom, which is increasingly threatened in the United States because of the radicalization of the LGBT movement.

Green also funds a program that takes American college students to visit Israel.

Among the big American businessmen known to contribute to right-wing causes are Steve Forbes, founder of Forbes magazine, and the Cathy family, owners of the Chick-fil-A fast-food chain.

They all have something in common: the focus of their donations is the United States.

For example, no record of David Green funding projects in Latin America or Africa exists.

Therefore, describing him as a “right-wing George Soros” is impossible.

In Brazil, there is a lack of strategy and long-term vision

In Brazil, examples are similar to those of American businessmen: Salim Mattar, owner of Localiza, and Helio Beltrão, founder of the Mises Institute, help finance organizations with a liberal or conservative profile.

The same goes for Alexandre Ostrowiecki and Renato Feder, owners of Multilaser.

But none of these entrepreneurs on the right has a firepower comparable to that of George Soros, nor does he act in a structured way to finance organizations that align with his political vision.

Generally, the donations are made by private citizens and not through foundations with their own structure.

For Giuliano Miotto, president of the Liberty and Justice Institute, entrepreneurs still lack long-term vision.

“Many Brazilian businessmen who invest money in candidates for political positions have not yet managed to understand the importance of investing in projects focused on the medium and long term or for the formation of a critical thinking mass,” he says.

Still, according to Miotto, allocating resources does not favor the emergence of new right-wing organizations.

“The few resources that are invested in conservative or liberal ideas end up flowing to the financing of half a dozen institutes that already have a larger structure or, what is worse, to campaigns of political candidates with these discourses or influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers,” he says.


Although the very character of conservative ideas prevents there from being a “right-wing George Soros” that distributes resources globally, there is one organization that comes slightly close to the Open Society: the Atlas Network.

Founded by British businessman Antony Fisher in 1981, the Washington-based entity maintains an extensive network of partners around the globe.

But its donations are far more modest than George Soros’s (generally in the tens of thousands of dollars).

The difference in scale is enormous: Atlas’ total budget in 2020 was US$12.9 million. In the same year, Open Society spent US$1.3 billion.

Atlas’s mission is “to increase global prosperity by strengthening a network of independent partner organizations that promote individual freedom and are committed to identifying and removing barriers to human flourishing.”

In Brazil, the entity has already helped fund organizations such as the Movimento Brasil Livre (MBL) and Students for Liberty Brazil.


One of Soros’s criticisms is that his actions unbalance the debate about important issues in the countries where he operates.

This happens in Brazil, where entities financed by the billionaire occupy a disproportionate space in the discussion about public policies.

On the other hand, how to prevent this from happening without violating the rights of non-governmental organizations?

Last year, the then-congressman, Paulo Eduardo Martins (PSC), presented a bill that tries to provide more transparency.

The PL 736/2022 proposes that nongovernmental organizations should be obliged to account every six months for everything they receive from outside Brazil.

The text also creates a registry of all Brazilian NGOs financed with foreign funds.

“We don’t want to isolate Brazil from good international initiatives, but we want to protect our country from international interests.”

“That is why it is fundamental that Brazilians know who is financing the brave militants that defend the right to assassinate babies or use indigenous people as tools,” Martins told ‘Gazeta do Povo’.

The proposal, however, has not advanced in the House so far.

With information from Gazeta do Povo

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