What Trump has been so far

In this article, we are going to see a brief general overview of the 45th President of The United States, Donald trump, given by the hand of Dori Toribio. She is a US correspondent working for media programmes, like Noticias Cuatro and Informativos Telecinco. We are going to review his main problems and what has been so far on their most mediatic neighbour, Mexico.

dori toribio
Dori Toribio’s work consists on covering the information given by foreign countries or regions wherethey have been sent. They are the eyes and ears of their viewers and readers. They have to put in context the information given, making it easier to comprehend for anyone, which makes them much more present in the news rather than the national chronicle.

Since he got in his presidency, Donald Trump has gathered a great part of the media on any device or any country. With few time in the power, he has made sure that most US news revolt around him and hasn’t left anyone indifferent. But there is a list of problems in his administration. “Trump’s administration has lots of problems. For various reasons, like the fact that they haven’t been in the power a 100 days and the start for any administration is hard. But right now the biggest problem without a doubt is that there is a lot of credibility issues regarding the president.” Said Dori Toribio. “Since he got into power, he has made a series of consecutive statements (or tweets) that has been found inaccurate or directly false, which sums up to his polemic talks as a presidential candidate.”

His political un-correctness and his bold statements have made him one of the most disapproved presidents. “This credibility issues supposes big problems, in the time where he should be enjoying his “Presidential honeymoon”. But at this moment his approval index is around 37%, one of the lowest of the history.”

Nevertheless his mediatic storm has made some different views with different points over the last months. “There is a divided vision about it.” argues Dori. “Trump’s followers are satisfied with the confrontation of the president with the media, whose credibility plummeted in the country. But the president of the United States has declared war to the media since his first week in the White house. And that creates an unusual dynamic in Washington in a brand-new Administration.” Trump’s has been restless from taking out the credibility of the media. “The media has been called “fake news” almost daily and has been declared “The enemy of the people”, and this language has been for us extremely worrying, because it makes you remember historic movements or leaderships that has not been very democratic.”

Despite his approval rate and his war on the media, Trump general opinion is diverse, mainly because he is trying to stick to his promises on the electoral campaign. “This is a really big country where there is millions of people and the opinion is not unanimous. Trump won the elections with more than 62 millions of votes and a great part of their voters are still happy with their president because they consider that he is succeeding the promises established in the campaign which made them vote him.” Says Dori. “But there is millions of voters who did not bet for him, and according to the popular vote the majority. And it’s usual to hear critics and concern about him or even fear between some Americans due to the situation that he is generating or the future that the United States can confront with Trump in the White House. It’s a president with few precedents in the history, probably the only thing that anyone can agree in this moment.” The social division has notably increased since he got in charge, with various rallies against him, appealing to not make him president.”

His biggest promise in his campaign was that he was going to “build a great great wall” between Mexico and the US, but as we have seen, there has been little movement in the administration. According to Dori, there has been very little details about the foreign policy of the Administration regarding Mexico. “There has been lots of accusations and words, but right now anything has turned into the practice. We will have to see exactly what Trump is planning to do in the economic and commercial terrain, apart from knowing if he is going to be able to build his desired wall, for budget problems.” “The only thing that has been a reality is the change in the migratory policies and deportations and pitifully, it affects millions of Mexicans in the US, apart from other communities.

From the war on the media, to his harsh declarations on foreign neighbours like Mexico, I think that Trump’s future is saving for something even bigger, but apart from that, we will have to wait and see what he is planning, either for the good or the worse of the country.

GREENPEACE vs. TOXIC POLICIES & LEADERS

donald trump tweet global warming

In an interview, the Campaigns Manager of Greenpeace Spain argues how Trump’s administration represents a threat to the progress that has been made in terms of gender and ethnic equality, and for sure: global warming. 

“Because environment is not isolated”

mariajo-003

María José Caballero,  Campaigns Manager of GP SPAIN and volunteer.

 

Maria José Caballero, Campaigns Manager of Greenpeace Spain has been almost 10 years working in this great NGO. Graduated as a biologist by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and then specialized in Management of NGO’s by ESADE, it’s pretty clear the profile of professional and conscious person she wanted to be: a volunteer.

I feel so grateful about how comfortable she made me feel, the interview turned into a close conversation. I’ve learned so many things thanks to this great woman in such a short time! She showed being an expert on international affairs because -among other things.- I had not even warned about my visit.

We started talking about her current projects, in order to understand deeply what are her functions in the core of the NGO.  In fact, she and her team are working on the “Break Free from Fossil Fuels” international campaign. And many others such as the Artic and Amazonas Projects; also they are working on national issues as the bees affected by insecticides with neonicotinoids and the help to the artisanal fishermen. The women as one of the main collectives affected by climate change also play an important role in their agenda-setting.

“Environment is not isolated, we fight for reach a fair society passing through people rights to climate protection” she said. Apparently, both of them with nothing in common. The thing is that the ecosystem needs to be carefully protected by institutions: the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe, the jobs we keep in order to survive, the home where we rest… and this is the aim of Greenpeace, rebuild an environment corrupted by corporations that, protected by states, destroys our ecosystems where human being, fauna, and flora must be keeping in balance. “We are living in a globalized world where the rules of the market are being imposed” she complained.

Related to “the water we drink”,  M. J. Caballero remind the situation living by the population along to the threatening pipelines of Keyston XL and Dakota. That last one, is feared because of the tribe’s water supply could be in danger and it also desecrated sacred lands. She said they and the population -without under the brand of Green Peace.- have stopped temporarily the construction of that pipeline. They are clearly more than social denouncement. They achieve real merits with real action.

resistAfter dissertation, I cut straight to the point, inquiring her about the “RESIST” banner by GREENPEACE USA in front of the White House and the consequent idea of political positioning or political lobbying that could be understood, she answered that Trump’s assumptions are totally against to the goals of the NGO and GP as a movement that pretends bring the power back to the people, they just pretend to protect the society from the threat that is living in their government by encouraging people. “We believe in a diversity world, far from xenophobia, racism, and sexism, and we are absolutely independent of political parties, nor ideologically neither economically speaking .” Obviously is the essence of any NGO being totally impartial in order to defend public interests, that specific topics states tend to avoid or forget.

Surprisingly, sometimes political parties and GP defend same laws reinforcements or paralyze them at international cooperation scenarios…

Protest ahead of Vote on EU-Canada Trade Deal at EU Parliament in Strasbourg


Action of GP while is approving CETA in the EuropeanParliament (Strasbourg)

…but with different intentions. Is the case of CETA agreement that was positively voted in European Parliament the past 15 of February. Between its opposition were Podemos, Marie Le Pen, and Los Verdes, for instance. Some because of their populist way to work and the achievement of their isolation aspirations; some others because of real worries about people and dangerous environment which is involved. And some, for the combination of both of those.

etiquetado-transgenicos

The label of any product

CETA is a new ‘toxic’ trade agreement between EU and Canada that allows the free exportation between its territories. Why is it ‘toxic’? Easy. It would be toxic for our European democracy which has restrictive politics about toxic elements of hormone foods and its labels (“If they take away from us the capacity to choose freely, what’s left?” warned M. J. Caballero), not to mention the specific Tribunal that is pretending to implement to judge harmful reports to that trade individually from European and national laws from the Member States; or the dismissing of employees, taking into account that a lot of current European trade of food are producers from our borders.

While we were discussing these topics, we realized that she was running out of time, and I didn’t want to obstacle the key role that she means in the team of Campaigns with such an important work to do in this shocking scenario. So we said goodbye at the shout of:

“The fight continues!”

IMG_20170309_120509

María José Caballero being interviewed by student Alba Tissera at the headquarter of GP in San Bernardo,107, Madrid.

Leer más de esta entrada

CHINA AMONG FURS

Today we will interview Julio Suarez Garcia, whose role is the European Director, and member of the Board of Directors of the company Saga Furs. But what exactly is Saga Furs? Saga Furs is a Finnish company listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. It is a fur auction house. Its customers are farmers from all over Europe and the United States and buyers from various markets, of which the main one is the Chinese market. This last is the reason why we interview Julio, and is that despite being a European company, practically all of its market is concentrated in China as Julio tells us. China is its main market. They sell approximately 85 of their skins to that market, they have clients at different levels of the value chain in the Chinese market. From brokers to manufacturers and retailers.

The question we ask is why China and not another Asian country? Or why leave Europe when the skins business also works here? Well Saga Furs with China mainly because the consumption of leather garments is very high. That means that there are large centers of production of garments that have to supply the raw material in auction houses like ours. The main benefit lies in the large size of the market and in the great economic development that the country has undergone in recent years. This development fits well with products such as fur garments, which sell well in expanding economies such as China.

But not all are benefits, China imposes certain barriers especially those who come from the outside. The regulations regarding the establishment of foreign companies in China are very rigid, making it difficult to establish in that country. “Apart from the import tariffs that apply to the skins we sell, the main concern is the risk of changing regulations that may happen from one day to another.” But tariffs and tariffs are not the only barrier, the differences Cultural and the different approaches to “doing business” have also been a challenge that they have had to face by hiring staff from their own country, which in the long run is beneficial, but at first was not so much.

We are also interested in knowing the way in which business affects the fact that they are made in China, because nothing has to do with the way of doing business in Finland, the home of this company,than in China. “The culture is very different. When it comes to doing business, Chinese entrepreneurs seldom say NO. ” Hence the great difficulty faced by Saga Furs in evaluating the success of a business for the commitment acquired in a meeting. That is why until you do not see with your own eyes the final result, success is not guaranteed

We asked Julio about the origins of Saga Furs in China and we were surprised to know that Saga was a pioneer in the world of fashion in China. They made the first western fashion show in the Forbidden City of Beijing in the mid-80’s, a milestone not only in the world of fur, but in general, to get a fashion show in such a place. Then the country has changed a lot. Especially in big cities. Shanghai, Beijing or Shenzhen are big cities that nothing has to envy New York or London. Nevertheless the rural interior of the country continues quite behind in the social evolution.

In China you can perfectly see the two sides of the coin, one day you are in a city full of all kinds of technology and the next day you go through a depressed rural area where they barely have to feed their cattle and thus subside.

But this colossus of fur is not slowed down in China, Saga also has, outside its office in Beijing and Hong Kong, delegation in South Korea, more specifically in Seoul. Korea is a very different market, much closer to the European way of operating since it has followed a much more “westernized” mode of development.

“Saga is continuing its expansion in Asia, and we will continue to expand our presence in China, due not only to the current relevance of the market, but also to the potential that it represents.”

 

We thank Julio Suarez for his time and dedication in answering our questions, it has been an honor to know more closely a great company like Saga Furs and its operation in the Asian continent.

ECONOMY BETWEEN SPAIN AND GERMANY

Markus Kemper is the Sub-director of the German Trade Chamber in Spain (Deutsche Handelskammer für Spanien or AHK Spanien) and his almost seventeen years of experience working for the German government have helped hundreds of German companies to establish, grow and develop in Spain. This delegation represents the German economy in Spain and is the main service for German and Spanish companies. It offers services oriented to the promotion of German foreign trade and its scope of action ranges from emerging companies to renewable energies and energy efficiency. The German Trade Chamber is a great support for the German govern when specific information on legal aspects are required or when it comes to taking the first steps in the Spanish market.

The good relationship and communication between countries is fundamental for Mr. Kemper to succeed on his work, so he answered “critical” when I asked him about how the current situation of the EU could be considered. He affirmed that the spirit is more of dissolution than union and insisted that the situation is not to be quiet, “any unitary movement is beneficial” however he does not hesitate to affirm that most of the European countries are currently growing and that this has not always been like this.

Spain is the country on the European union that grows the most”. Mr. Kemper explained that since the beginning of the crisis the German investment in Spain has increased considerably. He stressed the close relationship of both countries in some industries such as the automobile industry where Spain and Germany share interests and space for decades as well as in the metallurgical or banking sector. In fact, during the last years, the decline of Spanish economic areas such as the Manufactures (The loss of power in manufactures sector is an almost general European phenomenon.) or Building sector has had a reflection on the German economy and vice versa, so the economic interdependence o both countries is real.

IMG_8249

*Foto with Mr. Markus Kemper in the German Trade Chamber’s hall.

The explanations Mr. Kemper gave to the questions were quite brief but so concise and well structured that somehow you just wanted to know everything about the complex European economic system and all its secrets and curiosities. Sudden questions were constantly appearing while Mr. Kemper was explaining and one of it led directly to a small chat aside the interview about the desire to know what are the main differences between German and Spanish companies and why they have so different productivity results. He answered every small doubt and half smiling explained that what years have allowed him to prove is that in general the difference is mainly cultural. Mr. Kemper explained that Spain has a serious problem of productivity growth shared with Italy and other, mainly southern, European countries. “The work productivity in Spain is lower than the European average”, the problem is that the annual growth rate of labor productivity in Spain or Italy is constantly one point lower than the German when the capabilities and the market competitive capacity they have are nearly the same.

We came together to the conclusion that Spain has amazing potential but doesn’t work as hard as it should. Other reasons could be the reduction in 70% of the business services offered by the state since 2012, which leaves small and medium-sized enterprises unprotected and struggling to compete in the European market, or in many other cases, the owners of the companies are the culprits ignoring the true potential of their businesses and therefore do not take measures that fit their real needs. Mr. Kemper in convinced that Spanish people is not truly concerned about Spain’s huge and highly competitive market. “The service sector for example or the hostelry industry is more powerful in Spain than in Germany.

When you talk to a person like Mr.   Kemper asking about unemployment, one of the most serious problems in Spain seems to be obligatory. He is convinced that it is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects to work out, so on this subject, Mr. Kemper said that the German Trade Chamber for Spain, apart from advising companies on all aspects about the education field, can presume to have stood out for its involvement and commitment in Dual-Education helping more that 2.000 young students to enter to the labor market with the “best equipment”, something that as Mr. Kemper says has also benefited German companies, one of the most important foreign employment sources in Spain.

Talking to Marcus Kemper was a good experience and certainly a beginning class of economy. One of those conversations that ends giving you a great sensation of having learned some new valuable things. Our meeting helped me as well to realize that Spain has to advance in many things and to work lot of things out but also that it is certainly a country that can proudly contemplate the work carried out during the last years and look to the future with optimism, taking advantage of its incredible potential. I undoubtly recommend visiting the German Trade Chamber and enjoying a wonderful building that host a huge amount of conferences, seminars, expositions and talks about infinite different themes and that precisely this year celebrates its 100th anniversary.

Living in Saudi Arabia

Fernando Screenshot_20170301-115524and Ana Armada are a married couple that lives in Saudi Arabia, in Riad which is the capital city of this country.  With this interview we are going to be able to know how is it to live in a country like this.

Fernando is a businessman that works in a petroleum company named Aramco, which is an American company settled in Saudi Arabia. This company created an enclosure where currently thousand of people, that works for this company,  lives.  This precinct is called Campaú, the life inside it is different from the one outside, they have hospitals, schools, pools and all types of activities to ensure the commodity of the workers and their families.

One advantage that the Aramco employees have is that the company gives them a certain amount of money that guarantee the education of each one of their children.

I asked Ana, Fernando´s wife, how was her day a day, generally she hangs out with her friends that also lives inside the Campaú, they do lots of activities, they can take classes of Arab, go to the pool. This is not the typical life of Arabia Saudi, but the company wants to ensure that the employees stay there for a long period of time so they give them all kinds of facilities. The life there is similar to the one we have in Madrid, but not in the social aspect, they do not have  the same joy as Spain. She said that the life outside the Campaú  is not very appetizing, they rarely go out, only when they need to do so.

Women have lots of limits in these types of countries, they are not allowed to drive, they can drive inside the Campaú but not in the outside of the precinct. It is also very dangerous to go alone, if they can, they are always in a friend´s company. They have forbidden to talk to Arab men, in hospitals there are separate waiting rooms for men and women. Women in general stay at home, when there are dinners in someone else house they don’t go, but this is not the case inside the Campaú. Also, women have to wear a type of dress that covers all their bodies, it can be black or dark brown, but they do not have to wear any type of veil because is something religious.

The first thing that we think of Arab women as Europeans is that it is a complicate society, they cannot hang out with another man who is not her husband, brother or father. They have also a lot of social pressure, anything that they do wrong or that are seen as an inappropriate act, is their fault because they incite it. Marriages are arranged, the family decides who they have to marry, if the women wants to divorce, they have to ask for permission to their husbands and generally men stay with the children.

Saudi Arabian women have been allowed to work for 4 years now. If a foreign women want to  work outside the Campaú is very difficult, there are some limitations, inside the campaú they have it easier because is organized by the Americans, they only have to present the curriculum. foreign people only can enter into this country if they have work permits.

Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with less equality in the world according to a BBC documentary. They showed a list of the gender equality of each country, Saudi Arabia was in the 134 position, so I asked them what did they think about it, if they think that these numbers were right. They told me: “of course, women are very different from men, they are treated if they were less.” Saudi Arabia is an Anarchic Monarchy, the government wants to have control over all things, including private conversations.

People are not allowed to speak through Facetime or Skype, and generally all the conversations are watched and controlled by the government,  in case someone says something that they are not supposed to say.

Ana has been asked to wear a veil in one case, she was in the mall with one of her sons, and a man came up and told his son to tell his mother to put the veil on, I asked her how she felt about it, she replied that she felt really bad principally because of the way the man told her.

Saudi Arabia is changing little by little, now women are allowed to study and work, in a near future this country will make a change in the sense of society.

                                                                                                                         Alejandra Torres Maldonado.

Interview
Ambassador Rafat Mahdi.

mahdi

Pakistan is a country formed in 1947 as a consequence of the partition of India in its process of decolonisation from the British Empire. The national language is the Urdu and 97 per cent of the citizens are muslims.

The Pakistani embassy in Spain, also accredited to Andorra, is located in Pedro de Valdivia. I got to interview with the actual Ambassador of Pakistan, Rafat Mahdi, who has also occupied a number of key posts at United Nations. Mr Excellency is a man with a lot of experience and a lot of travelling though out his life.

The interview began by a few personal questions to Mr. Mahdi, such as what has led him to the position he is today and his overall response was determination and passion. I also asked him what is the roll of an Embassy, he explained that there are there different categories, the cultural, the economical and the document information one, like visas or simple information. An ambassador normally completes 6 years abroad and 3 years in their local country.

Rafat Mahdi had the opportunity to meet Nelson Mandela, not once but seven times who had taught him humility, infinite kindness and a very wide practice of the understanding towards others which is needed in order to accept ourselves. He repeated a number of times how of a great person Mr Mandela was. Mr.Mahdi also cited in a charming voice Mandela´s words:

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people…Do not judge me by my successes… judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again…I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.” That was Nelson Mandela he said looking at the front in a nostalgic manner. I asked whether he believe he has achieved the power of putting people over his freedom, to which he replied: “That is the most difficult thing to do my dear”.
We continued speaking about all the disputes Pakistan and India have, whether it would be possible the dialogue over the confrontation. He adopted a position in which Pakistan is determined to collaborate in order to achieve a more peaceful relation between both countries however India not so much. He made reference to a number of solutions proposed by Pakistan towards the neighbour country, all of them unsuccessfully achieved.

Moreover, we directed the interesting conversation unto the conflict in Syria. The Ambassador was clear on his message, Pakistan and all the countries around the conflict area are the ones in need of more humanitarian support. He kept repeating: “We are the ones suffering the most, our people is and it is a very complex situation”. I read about some shootings from the Pakistan Government in support of terrorist groups, therefore I asked Mr. Mahdi but he denied any military act from his government. He in fact highlighted their effort in promoting peace and good living standards to their people.

Continuously, I asked for an opinion on the new Trump administration, if it will increase a more economically free and peaceful world or whether the opposite, in between some laughs, Rafat Mahdi did not want to answer so we moved on unto a new topic in the conversation.

This was the Pakistan-Spain relations which the Ambassador affirmed they are improving continuously in order to maintain more diplomatic relations and to cooperate and benefit from each other. He explained there are some bilateral relations.

Mr. Mahdi and I kept talking about world concerns, whether civilization is one of the main issues of this society or whether we should keep implementing it to those uncivilised countries.

I asked him about the freedom of women within Pakistan, as I believe they do not have much liberty. Mr Mahdi replied: “We respect so much women in our country, for example, if they carry two bags, we take both of them as the gentleman we are”. My personal opinion in this issue might not be of relevance however I believe it is not a valid example of equality and respect towards women, however his mind is a completely different one from mine which I can not judge as he is an older man and has been raised in a completely different way as I have.

Overall the conversation was interesting and profound, and I was glad of being able to speak to someone of such responsibility and such background as Mr. Mahdi.

 

Ines Viñuales

“It could become the most expensive waste of money in history”

Marina Barberá Matías

All the actions done by the president Donald J. Trump have been done to “make America great again” but despite of what people may say the intention is not what matters. Those political moves may produce different outcomes of those sought by Mr. Trump.

One of the f086c412irst decisions when he arrived to his actual position and one of the well-known promises done during the presidential campaign of Mr. Trump was the withdrawal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Charles Kushner program director of the Bachelor in International Relations at IE University in Madrid Spain, sees it like the perfect opportunity for Canada to step into America’s leadership role in order to facilitate better trade, as Canada largely avoided the 2008 financial crisis by avoiding the risky banking practices that were responsible for the collapse, thus they are well poised to step into this leadership role.

Mr. Trump said “now American workers will be protected against competition from low-wage countries like Vietnam and Malaysia.” but the reasons established by experts for the manufacturing jobs decline differ from his. The central cause is the automation, which has developed into the decline of human labour. It is a fact that despite the decline in manufacturing jobs, the productivity in American factories has been increased. We are producing more while employing fewer. “This is exactly why Donald Trump’s plan to pull out of trade deals won’t only not bring back jobs to the American economy, it will actually hurt the economy further, as products exported by America would undoubtedly suffer with less trading partners.” Mr. Kushner said. The economic position of the U.S. as the world leader can be at risk by the isolationist strategy followed by Mr. Trump as affects their international image in the free market. Mr. Kushner said that in order to maintain its status as the beacon of the free world, America in fact needs to be a part of the world. It cannot afford to shut itself in behind pointless and costly walls.

Also, the acts done by the new president will without discussion cause changes on the relation between the U.S. and the countries from all around the world. The TPP was a pact in which the United States, the world’s largest economy and Japan, the third world largest economy, were together in a free-trade pact. The end of this agreement could cause some differences in the relation between Japan and the U.S., but the reality is that their relation despite the event from the past is better than the one that Japan has with its neighbours. “The dismantling of the TPP doesn’t affect current trade deals the U.S. and Japan share. Currently Japan is the United States 4th largest trading partner”. The relation among them will remain as usual but it is a fact that the withdrawal of the U.S. from the TPP will cause an economic vacuum that China will look forward to fill. It will be matter of time see if the relation between other members and the U.S. is enough to prevent China of fulfilling that position.

The relation with Mexico is the most affected by the actions of Mr. Trump as one of the most polemic orders is the construction of the wall in the frontier between Mexico and the United States. The main cause of its controversy is the dispute about who is going to pay for it, as the president of the United States has affirmed from the campaign that his country will not pay and the president of Mexico also declared that no Mexican money will be used for the construction of that wall, Mexico is face to face against the multimillionaire Donald Trump who has promised to find the way to make them pay and one of the ideas is through taxes. This will not be a good option as Mr. Kushner says that Mexican exporters would likely just raise taxes on American products as well as the prices of their own exports, resulting in price increases in the U.S. and ultimately the cost of the wall would be paid by Americans, not Mexico. Moreover, the construction of the wall will be unproductive as there are another ways through which the immigrants arrive to the U.S. so “it could become the most expensive waste of money in history as most undocumented immigrants in America fly into the country and overstay a valid visa.”