The view of a President




Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, ex President of the Government of Spain from the years 2004 to 2011, doesn’t need a very long introduction. Graduated in the University of Leon in the degree of Law, Mr. Zapatero aged 55, still has an important position inside the political party PSOE. Expert in foreign policy due to his presidency, Mr. Zapatero has a great knowledge of all the conflicts happening nowadays around the world and the interests regarding North America region and Spain.

As my region is North America, including United States, Canada and Mexico, we discussed different topics from today and from the past years when he was the President regarding this region. “80% of my work during my legislature was on terms of foreign policy,” said Mr. Zapatero at the beginning of the interview. This was very helpful because he really knew what he was talking about, I could spend hours with him talking about foreign policy and international conflicts.

We started talking about the principal topics that concerned Spain and North America while he was President. He stated that Spain had great relations in all aspects with Mexico and United States, but with Canada the relations were less intense, but great as well. “ There is a special relation between Mexico and Spain, we have many intellectuals living in Mexico and the country is totally compromised with the Ibero-American program”. Mr. Zapatero also said that Mexico was one of the top 5 countries regarding Spain´s interest in terms of investment, trade relations, exchange students, etc. United States has many common interests with Spain, as we are both members of NATO. “United States always counts with Spain´s opinion regarding topics of Latin America,” emphasized Mr. Zapatero. Other important topics that concern Spain and United States are climate change, removable energies and Middle East. Regarding Canada, “ On my opinion, Canada has the best think tanks of the world, especially in the University of Toronto” argued Mr. Zapatero.

Regarding today´s relation of North America and Spain, Mr. Zapatero emphasized the good relations Spain has with the US. We have good partnership and relations with the country especially on the economic, social and cultural fields. We also have a lot of exportations to United States. Again, relations with Mexico are excellent, just as good as when he was the President, and relations with Canada are also good, but less intense.

Immigration was another topic that we discussed since it is a big problem in Spain and in United States. “ It has many common factors, people migrate looking for a better place to live. In America, Mexicans go to United States and here North Africans look for an opportunity in southern European countries, and Spain with Ceuta and Melilla is the best way to enter,” argued Mr. Zapatero in order to compare both regions. He also talked about how United States, with Obama as president, copied the 2006 Spanish immigration policy because it was having a good result. Mr. Zapatero also stated that the people who migrate to a more developed country is not always because of poverty, but because they have an entrepreneur mind and they want to improve their lives and specially help their family to live better. This is a very interesting point because we tend to think that immigrants come to Spain because they have nothing to eat, and it is more about finding a better way of living and helping their families and ensuring a better future for them.

Another important aspect that we discussed was the role of United States in the international relations, especially in the huge problem that we have in Middle East and in Syria. “The international politics of the United States is conditioned by the fail of the Iraq war and the mistakes of the past administrations”. Another huge issue that he emphasized is the Palestine problem and the Israel-Palestine conflict. “Another added problem is that Western countries consent what is going on in Middle East,” argued Mr. Zapatero. He also stated that nowadays violence, terrorism, conflict and war are created in Middle East due to poverty, culture and conflicts.

Regarding relations between United States and China, “ They have a healthy competition of being number 1 country in the world, with mutual collaboration but not with great trust”. Regarding Russia, we talked about the relations of European Union and Russia, being good relations because it is interesting for both parts. “ The European Union and Russia relations are good, but Germany leads this relations, and the relation between Russia and Germany aren’t that great,” added Mr. Zapatero.

By: Miguel Carmelo


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