Interview with Don Meliton Cardona Torres; famous diplomat and ex-ambassador from Spain in Denmark.
10 junio, 2013
Don Meliton Cardona Torres was an ambassador of Denmark from Spain and famous Spanish diplomat; he used to be ambassador since year 2008 till 2010. Also, was an assistant manager of Saharan Africa and international advisor and lawyer in Ministry of Justice. He can speak Spanish, English, French, Danish, Arabian and Russian. Studied the course of Law in The University of Zaragoza and became to intervene in diplomacy since year 1981. He was represented in many diplomatic issues in Russia, Morocco, Cuba, Mauritania, and Mozambique. He was born in Palma de Mallorca, 2nd of November, year 1944.
I decided to contact with Don Meliton Cardona as he is a good friend of the friends of my family, also a great example for me as a great man who studied and worked hard and made a fantastic carrier as an ambassador, a diplomat and very warm person. I was very interested in the experience of Don Meliton and in the issue of a Spanish diplomat working in Russia as Spanish person, who knows Russian. Also, I was interested in the topic of carrying a specific mission in Denmark. Don Meliton explained me very well his experience of living and working in Russia, being an ambassador in Denmark and also spoke to me about his ideas to prove an access to diplomatic activity for a younger people.
This interview was made via e-mail in the morning of 7th June 2013, in Madrid, traduced from Spanish to English.
1. Dear Meliton Cardona, you were taking part in diplomatic representations in Russia, how were the representations? In what way did they affect the relations between Russia and Spain?
I was a general Consul in Moscow between 1998 and 2001. The only thing that called my attention is that my country (Spain) showed a poor interest to the Russian Federation and that it keeps doing the same, so it continues being a problem for me…
2. Could you tell me about your job as general consul in Moscow? Is there anything special of working with the Russians and to live in Russia, or is it really the same?
My work consisted basically in reorganizing a Consulate that wasn’t working as it should do and facing the challenge of sending 300.000 visas per year. I finally obtained it, to a great degree, proving the process and also arranging the access to a Consulate and its suppressing intermediaries.
3. Was there any type of obstacles or difficulties being a general consul in Moscow; did you like Russia in general? What opinion do you have about this country, as a country of great contrasts?
I didn’t have specific difficulties, because the Department allowed me to continue a policy of contracting very flexible employees. Russia is a country of big contrasts, it is a true. At human level, I liked Russia very much. In fact, this is what I mostly liked. At political level, it keeps on showing authoritarian reflexes and an absolutist conception of the power that, certainly, is feminine in Russia.
4. Spain is European country, but Russia it isn’t, are there any direct differences between Russian foreign policy and Spanish foreign policy?
Of course there are. Russia is a partly European country, and Europe would be right in having this in mind. The Russian foreign policy is based on a coherent and professional exterior service. The Spaniard is not.
On the other hand, Russian Federation is a big power, comparing to Spain, as an average power, so the foreign policies of both countries have different motivations…
5. What actions should do Russia to improve their relations with other countries, what type of diplomacy or what type of goals, should Russia have? Any useful methods?
I think that Russia should increase the public diplomacy, but the deepness of the problem is that, as everyone knows, the foreign policy is an extension of the interior, and the interior one must still improve a lot…
6. You have been the ambassador in Denmark, and the person in charge of ‘An exterior service for the XXIst century’ presented in November, how difficult the mission was? Was it successful?
It was a frustrated attempt of rationalizing the Spanish exterior Service basing it on the indispensable beginning of a unit of action.
7. In one of the articles, I read that you have some ideas about diplomatic carrier and the access to the system of diplomacy of nowadays. In what is it based the reform, which you propose, that it is necessary to perform towards a system of access to the diplomatic carrier?
Basically, it is based in replacing the demand of the French language with any other, like German and countries under German Security Council. Therefore, emphasizing more on the juridical knowledge as well as the knowledge of economy and marketing.
By Anastasia Markina
7th of June, 2013.