Spain’s King to abdicate due economic and political reasons

The 2nd of June of 2014 the President of the government Mariano Rajoy announced at a press conference that King Don Juan Carlos was decided to abdicate to the throne. Several Members, including Cayo Lara the representative of the Plural Left, were reclaming that a referendum was necessary to decide whether the Spanish society wants a system of monarchical or republican state.

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The constitutional monarchy is a softened form of monarchy as it assumes that the supreme law or constitution of the region that governs basically controls the king’s power. The constitutional monarchy is much more modern than the absolute monarchy since the former is a response to the abuse of power that the second represented in many parts of the world, especially in some European countries. This power comes from that is granted by the people and not po Divine, as was the case of absolute monarchy. This is because it is considered that the monarchy is part of the tradition of the country, such as in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth component regions in Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and in some regions of Southeast Asia.

Spain has been characterized throughout its history by having a monarchy whose trajectory goes from the dynastic union of the peninsular kingdoms in the descendants of the Catholic Monarchs, reforming for the new regime to the present in Spain, interrupted only in the periods of the first republic from 1873 to 1874, the Second republic from 1931 to 1939 and the Franco regime from 1939 to 1975. since the union of the Kingdom of Castile, the Kingdom of Aragon and the rest of the peninsulare territories have been many changes in monariquia as the arrival of the Habsburg dynasty, with the most important period of the Catholic Monarchs and the arrival of the Bourbons. As the end of absolutism that led to parliamentary or constitutional monarchy.


The King abdication occur in a particular economic situation. In fact since last quarter of 2008 and the starting of 2009 Spain has entered in recession for the first time since 1993. GDP in 2009 contracted by 3.7% ending a 15-year growth trend and in march 2009 soared to 17.4% with 4 million of employed people.

The Government tried to boost the economy with a series of economic measures like: spending, extended unemployment benefits, and loan guarantees and at the same time it attempted to cut spending, privatized industries, and boost competitiveness through labor market reforms. But despite the Government’s efforts the unemployment rate raised from 8% in 2007 (pre-crisis level) to 20% in 2010.

To face the problematic situation in 2010 the Spanish Parliament approved 15bn-euro austerity package and in response to thesemeasures thousands of workers demonstrated against government spending cuts and plans to raise the retirement age by two years to 67.

The decline of the construction sector, the oversupply of housing, the falling consumer spending, and the exports collapse perfectly reflected the plight of Spain’s recession. Especially the collapse of construction sector and real estate market has highly exposed the Spanish banks to failure.As requested from Eurozone countries in 2012 the Spanish Government created “bad bank” to offload toxic property assets of indebted banking sector in order to obtain an bailout loan for Spain.

And finally in November 2012 the European Commission approves the government’s plans to nationalize and restructure the troubled banks like Bankia, Banco de Valencia, NCG and Catalunya Caixa, which thanks to loans to home buyers and constructors have obtained great losses.

In Spain and in Europe, the European elections were considered and discussed traditionally as minor elections, but this time, that perception was not true and the results changed the entire political map in Spain. The traditional bi-partisanship now is over with the results of the 2014 elections, the two dominant political parties of Spain, PP and PSOE obtained just the 49% of the total votes, to put it in perspective we need to saw what was the result of the 2009 European elections were both combined obtained the 80% of total votes.


The new political sphere in Spain is quite different, divided in three main problems, first of all the end of the traditional bi-partisanship, secondly the ascent of the extreme left-wing party Podemos and at the end the ascent of the traditional secessionist movements in Catalonia and the Basque country.

This huge change in the political map in Spain is causing a lot of changes, first of all the secretary of the Socialist Party (PSOE) Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba presented his resignation due the bad results of his party in the elections.

The king of Spain Juan Carlos I has also been affected by the results of this elections, we need to remind that the principal political parties that support the monarchy are PP and PSOE and now with the new political map in Spain and the end of bi-partisanship it’s not clear if the king will have enough support in the next national elections. Regarding this the King decided to abdicate and with the support of PP and PSOE draw the necessary law that allow his son Felipe to become the new king without wait for the next elections.


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There has never been a succession since the re-introduction of the monarchy after Franco’s dictatorship was over. With the Salic Law, the first descendants of King Juan Carlos the Infanta Elena and Infanta Cristina can’t accede to the throne, and that is why The Prince of Asturias Felipe VI will be the one who would occupy the throne.

The Senate this afternoon approved the Organic Law to regulate the abdication of His Majesty the King with the support of 90% of the Senators present (233 votes of the 258 cast), 5 votes against and 20 abstentions. Act of abdication in which reading will consist of the Organic Law of Abdication and who will attend the Prime Minister, ministers, presidents of the autonomous communities, the President of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court and the General Council of Judicial Power . Among others also will be invited Iberoamerican Secretary General and several former government as Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Jose Maria Aznar and Felipe González. So tomorrow, 19th of June, Philip VI will be crowned King of Spain.


Javier Cava

Carlos Farré

Simone Pianeselli

‘Cosentino’, one of the major marble’s companies around the world. Interview with Francisco Martínez Cosentino by María Dolores Sánchez.


Francisco Martínez Cosentino, dueño y presidente de la compañía. |

Since the beginning of the course, I felt an enormous curiosity for the region my group and I have written some articles: Asia. My surprise arrived when I knew I would have to do an interview to someone who had something to do with such zone. I was so exiting at the same time I was scared (I had never done an interview before). In fact, to have achieved to interview to Mr. Francisco Martínez Cosentino (the director of one of the major multinational companies on the world) almost was a miracle (a student of the first course of her grade hasn’t many contacts).

However, when I mentioned excitedly this project to my parents, they told me that maybe they could help me by contacting with Mr. Francisco, because they work in the same sector that him and both proceed from the same zone (Almería). From this moment, I started my incessant fight to get the interview. It was really difficult because this last two weeks he has been in the United States. The time change and his busy schedule did impossible to have a conversation by phone.

He finally could dedicate to me some minutes. We started speaking about his company. Thus, I was informed that in 1979 he tarted his activity with a little company inherited of his father, and with the help of his brother Eduardo. He called it ‘Cosentino’, and it had seventeen employees and a turnover of thirty million ‘pesetas’ (the ancient coin in Spain) at first. On the other hand, his other brother José was the latest in adhering.

Little by little, the company has become one of the most relevant multinational companies in the industrial sector. Nowadays, it has 2300 direct workers (and much more indirect workers of more little businesses as Mr. Francisco said), branches around the world, and sales of more than four hundred million euros per year. In textual words, to become what they are ‘have cost more than one tear’, he said.

When I asked him what kind of products his company market, he said that they have their own marble quarries, silestone (an artificial stone that they have developed since 1990, and that is the start product to kitchens and bathrooms).Besides, their most recent creation has been the dekton, a material that can be used for all type of surfaces.

After a general view of his multinational company, I scrutinized about what reasons led him to the international level, to which he replied ‘the love I have always felt for entrepreneurship and innovation’. After a little pause, he added ‘to travel has always been something I like, so I thought it could be an excellent opportunity to make it a reality’.

At this point of the conversation I decided to ask respect the topic of the branches of the company in Asia (which was the key point of my interview). Mr. Francisco responded that several years ago he sold in Asia by first time, and he realized that everything was going well and that the market was on the rise. In this way, two years ago he started all needed procedures for instal branches there.

‘My company inaugurated facilities in Singapore on 30th of September, and just a month ago -9th of May- in Malaysia. ‘These two branches promise to be a strategic point to our market in Asia’, he clarified with emotion and triumphant voice.

He also commented me about the sales in Asia. According to the statistics, they have gained twelve million euros, and they expect eighteen million euros for this year. Thus, much people call the Asian market the ‘fourth engine’ of Cosentino. Nevertheless, he ensure that it is impossible to equate the benefits that Europe or the United States give them.

Another aspect that I was interested along the phone conversation was the cultural and language differences, due to the increasing income in Asia t is supposed that it was a cause of a good management in the branches. Effectively, the answer of Mr. Francisco pointed out that they usually choose native employees for a better operation. ‘We consider an essential requirement to work with us to deal with people in an optimum way’, he said.

I also asked him if Asian employees perform better on the job. He responded with an example: ‘both in Spain as in Asia there do exist working hours that are the same for everyone. In addition, this is an industrial company, so we work mainly with machines, therefore it is impossible that differences in performance occur’.

Finally, I told him if he could describe his professional experience in Asia, to which he responded: ‘Definitely very positive. Expanding horizons is always something enriching’.

After this, with a cordial greeting and a cheerful voice, he said goodbye, leaving us a pleasant view of what a company of such magnitude is, altogether to a great person he is. Thus, I have to say that this interview has helped me to see the business world as a world of opportunities, and to know that with a strong entrepreneur character, it is possible to achieve whatever we want.


María Dolores Sánchez Sánchez.


How is the life in Paradise? -An Interview to Muhammad Longey

Many people always dream to move to a breathtaking place, with crystal sea, sun and beautiful beaches, and that is what Maldives islands are, a paradise on earth, but have you ever wondered how life would be there?

To answer this question, I decided to interview my Maldivian friend Longey that is working as Maître Assistant at Palm Beach Resort & Spa on the Madhiriguraidhoo island located in Lhaviyani atoll.

Muhammed LongeyMuhammad Longey was born on the fishermen island of Keyodhoo ,in the Baa Atoll, in a very large family with three brothers and two sisters. When he was a child he started to helps his father that he was fisherman, Longey helped him to fishing and to selling the caught fish to restaurants and hotels scattered to the nearby islands. At the age of 18 he decided to leave the family business and to start to work in one of the many hotels and resorts disseminated around the Maldives.

After a few email to arrange the interview and despite the 4 hour of time zone we can finally get in touch on Skype and we can start our interview.

As first thing I decided to ask him some the explanations on the name Muhammad, since it is an Arabic name and I find it unusual since the Maldives islands are very close to India and thus I thought that Maldivians were of Hindu religion, he revealed to me to be a Muslim and that is reason of the name Muhammad and also told me that the Maldivians are almost all Muslim with some Hindu exception, even if they are exclusively but Indian immigrants came to work in hotels and resorts.

I based my next question on what he told me about of his previous work experience so I decide asked him what are the job opportunities for a young Maldivian, he explained that regarding the job opportunities, Maldivians have three options: the first option is to continue the traditional activity of fishing, instead the second option is to work in the tourism sector which is an important sector for the economy of the Maldives, the last option is related to migration, namely leave the Maldives to looking for work in Sri Lanka as many people have already done, including some of his cousins.

As we approach the end of the interview we analyzed the changes that have occurred in recent years in Maldivian politics, and especially we focused on the coup d’état of February 7, 2012 that led to the resignation of the former President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed and the following period of politics instability which lasted until the election of the Maldivian Parliament in March of this year.

Longey explained to me that before the coup there were already many demonstrations and protests to demand the resignation of former President Nasheed, indeed according to what he told me, Maldivians were tired of the continuous increase of the prices and living costs, but President Nasheed resigned only when the police have made the coup, and then began a period of political turmoil with a series of canceled elections that have overheated the situation that begin to resolve only with the election of the President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom in November 2013 and the parliamentary elections in March 2014.

I really enjoyed doing the interview that also gave me the opportunity to get back in touch with an old friend whom I really thank for his availability, besides at this point I hope I was able to answer to the question at the beginning of the interview.

Simone Pianeselli

Singapore’s singularity – A different way to rule Asian politics

During this course I had the opportunity to learn and study the different problems that are affecting Asia nowadays, I decided to interview Oriol Pinart who’s a Catalan that is living in Singapore working for a multinational company.

Oriol Pinart is the Head of regional finance services in the Asian Countries for SANOFI, a French multinational with more than 100.000 workers around the globe and more than 30.000 millions dollars of annual Billing.


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My first question was about how the Asian people consider nowadays Spain and Europe and his answer was quite surprising, he told me that talking with the people of the different Asian countries they ask him if Spain is secure because they saw in the news that people in Spain have to search for food in the trash. Asian people think that Europe is a kind of historic reminiscence of glory and a decadent continent that is not able to maintain their status and people’s welfare anymore.

I wanted to know also the singularities and characteristics of Singapore because this country has a unique status in the international sphere due that they control the strait of Malacca, which is an important passage of goods through the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Oriol said that Singapore is a State-city with 7 million people living in it, externally it is not considered as a democracy because the media is very restricted and controlled, but in fact the government is considered democratic by the citizens of the country because they have a parliament elected with the representative system based in the Anglo-Saxon electoral system.

The government implement their policies like a private business, they are aware that their strategic position is decreasing year to year and they want to offer to the enterprises a stable and secure country, with a prepared and educated people oriented to the business and looking for the future and not to the past like in Europe. Another characteristic of Singapore is that the corruption is highly persecuted, whatever if it is Public or private there’s a lot of pressure, severe punishments and exhaustive reports of the corrupts in the media.

Talking about inequality in Singapore he told me that is very low because the government implemented a system of public education based in meritocracy. The families are very conscious that education is extremely important for the young people and they invest a lot of money in education, in this terms is not important if someone was born in a poor family because with this system of meritocracy they can be rich if they study and there are a lot of cases of Rich people who were born poor and became rich. In Singapore exist 3 social status, there’s a lot of rich people, a middle class and a low class who have guaranteed all the essential Rights, for example everyone has a House and access to public services.

At the ending of the interview I wanted to know also what was his opinion about the powerful countries in Asia and he explained to me his point of view of Japan and China. He said that Japan is a very difficult country in economic terms because they have a close market with a plane GDP and they are very protectionists, is a technological advanced country but is very difficult to work there because they are focused in the internal market, the external companies have a lot of problems to find someone who speak English because they really don’t need to speak English to work.

Regarding China he said that the country will keep growing but with an internal problem, the new Chinese generations will want to be more opened to the world and someday this will cause a confrontation between the communist government and the Chinese new generation. In terms of business china is a difficult place to work due the problem of the corruption; it’s almost impossible to establish a business in china without being splashed by a corruption scandal.


Carlos Farré Salvans

Steinadler Co. – The Golden Eagle connecting Latin America & Asia

Born in Guatemala City and having spent almost half-life in Taipei, Rodrigo Galvez, an international businessman, created his company Steinadler Co. in 2007, starting with the notion of exporting high-quality Guatemalan coffee connected with its history and cultural beliefs to the edges of South-East Asia.

His company’s name ‘Steinadler’ is the German name for the “Golden Eagle” species; known for their excellent accuracy, their sharp vision and high altitude flight as well as its elegance.

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Steinadler Website. Picture retrieved from:

Due to his location (Taiwan), I had to communicate with him through e-mail and Skype, but everything went very smoothly. In my first few questions, I asked him about himself and how does he feel due to his job, as well as his company’s objectives and challenges.

He stated that he started doing business at the age of 16 back in Latin America. Mister Galvez has always been attracted to international trade and the exchange of markets, and his company’s main objective is to create a bridge for exchange between Asia and Latin America.
He mostly manages investments and the financial part of his company. For daily operations they have employees and usually outsource a wide array of services (which is something really easy and cheap in Asia).

I continued by asking about his career development and its company’s expansion and specialization in Agribusiness as well as in Construction and Industrial equipment and services, which shows that it is a quite broad and busy company.

R. Galvez pointed out that it has developed as he expected, even much more interesting than he thought someday it would become.
Steinadler Co. has specialized in different areas due to the “chain effect” being in Asia that it represents. R. Galvez said: “there isn’t anything too broad if you know how to expand it and organize it”.
He started importing coffee from Guatemala, and allocating it into different roasters and retailers, then the same customers became interested not only in coffee, but also cocoa, sugar, lobster.
Later, the same farms and suppliers back in Guatemala and Nicaragua took the opportunity to acquire equipment from Steinadler Co., at much lower prices than buying it locally. Products include harvesters, tractors, forklifts and other farming equipment. So they saw the opportunity to not only import, but also export to Latin America.

Nowadays, Steinadler Co. has market share in Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Dominican Republic. Same thing happened with construction supplies; “customers saw Chinese prices and quality is not “bad” or badly rated anymore”, there are even building materials companies listed in fortune 500 which they have agreements with and represent them for Latin America. “It’s mostly taking advantage of opportunities.”

I also had thoughts about the economic connection between Taiwan (Asia) to Guatemala (Latin America), as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) that increasingly improved trade relations between these regions.

R. Galvez said that there is a big difference between Taiwanese economic connection and (Asia in whole) economic connection with Latin America.
Some countries are pro-Taiwan; some others like Costa Rica are pro-China. In this case, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Honduras are pro-Taiwan.

“That means, ZERO import taxes, good flow of communications, diplomatic relationships, assistance and excellent interest rates for getting credit lines.”

Imports and exports at least from or to Hong Kong and Taiwan are quite easy; “it’s not a hassle.”
R. Galvez said that what is difficult is to allocate products into China, if the country doesn’t have any diplomatic ties or economic relations.

An example: “we can’t directly enter Guatemalan coffee into China, because all sanitary certificates are not valid, cause there is no relationship or any ties between China and Guatemala.” So in the end, all the coffee needs to pass through Taiwan or Singapore, as Hong Kong nationalizes it, and then it is imported forward into China.

According to some news and the simple historical fact of the ideological, political as well as economical issues between Taiwan and China, I also had to ask him about these things.
He stated: “Our connection to the Republic of China is actually much better than 4 years ago. There are some trade agreements starting to take place between Taiwan and China. That’s a good advantage.”
He also mentioned that they are entering the Chinese market, through Taiwanese companies, which have already been established in China and which “already have the know-how to the Chinese market. “
Hong Kong is also another market Steinadler Co. has entered and it seems to be easier than China in whole (or Taiwan) due to its “strong international environment”, as R. Galvez has experienced.

I was also interested in some projects that they are currently working at. He told me about a Taiwanese solar energy products manufacturer that they are right now representing, and with it starting a big solar-energy generating system in Nicaragua, “with future plans for the Guatemalan market”.
Due to low land prices in Nicaragua, they are able to “lower costs, have an inexpensive operation and sell it to the grid for excellent profits.”

Rodrigo Galvez (right) in Taipei. OWN PICTURE

All in all, they are looking for expansion and profit, and already spread into many regions. So, I asked him what does his company contribute to the world or the regions, referring also to the world market or even to politics.

His answer was quite short, but powerful: “We contribute to the ‘internationalization’ of the Asia Pacific region.”

Due to his ‘internationalization’, I asked him about some visible effects caused by the financial crisis of the EU and if it influenced his company.He stated that they haven’t been largely influenced, “maybe only on the fact, that many European companies dropped their prices and Latin American countries were able to get European quality products / machinery at better prices – But still, it’s minimal”. He said that it wouldn’t be enough to compete with China or Taiwan, and in the end they also don’t sell any products to Europe at all.

Rodrigo Galvez is an experienced, creative and international business-focused man with great aspirations, who tries to connect and to improve Asia-Latin America trade; also importing and showing the world what his precious and productive country Guatemala has to offer.

I personally thank him for his time. I wish him good luck for his further work and I hope to follow his path on international business.


Written by DAVID J. K. TOFAN

A Moral Question or Just a Matter of Fame?

Criticized by many, Dennis Rodman – former basketball star – basketball coach, actor, and professional wrestler recently affirmed that he wouldn’t return to North Korea.

In his career, Mister Rodman, better known as ‘the Worm’, has won five NBA titles and for seven consecutive times the ranking of rebounders; but he is also well known for his extravagant and bizarre performances outside the basketball field. Mister Rodman has unleashed a controversial issue within the United Stated, due to the increasing relation with the ‘Glorious Leader’, who give him the shoot of public flattery after his retirement by the masses under the orders of the dictator.

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Picture 1. Retrieved from:

The buddy of Kim Jong-Un said that the issues of the North-Korean Leader, like the execution of his uncle, aren’t his job.They only have a good time together; with the person he call friend for life, but also affirms that he won’t return to North Korea if people from America – mostly his fans – don’t’ want that. So he commented on Daily News “I don’t want people to look at me as the devil or evil person”.

Mister Rodman also commented on the nation’s newspaper USA Today: “I love my country America, I love it, I’d never trade it for nothing in the world”, he added, perhaps to respond to the ex-boxer Mike Tyson, who has called him a “traitor”. Due to the actual issues in that North Korea is involved, we consider that it’s quite incredible that such a regime has still preserved through time until the 21st century, when – it is supposed that – democracy and liberalism are the unchallenged notions that subsisted till today.

Thus, regarding the past of Mister Rodman, he represents a symbol for the fight against the lack of liberty. The issues he had to surmount during his career were enough to mark him with a negative social consensus due to his North Korean trips – and the regime it represents – above all, the American public opinion criticized his actions.


The crazy world in which we live can be metaphorically described as a basketball game. Sometimes, it is necessary to ‘fast break’ and counter-attack in order ‘to take it to the hole’; overthrowing all the adversaries. Occasionally meaning that people have to take control over some situations in their life, and in part or even completely assume risks that could change their course.

In real life, Mister Rodman knew how to do it too. He has gone through many obstacles that life has thrown along his path, dealing with ‘’drugs, alcohol and the loss of fame’’. This simply represents a moral lesson, which everyone should take into consideration in some part of your life.

The following question is an uncertainty that everyone should consider at any point of its life.                                                          What is more important: your beliefs – referring to his home country – or life-long friendship?

25 years after Tiananmen – Is China afraid?

Today, (the 4th of July) the Chinese Government has an eye on the Tiananmen Square protests due to the 25th anniversary that has taken place in Beijing in 1989.

China deployed huge security measures in order to prevent any possible commemoration of the Beijing massacre, and recently the Chinese authorities have detained dozens of activist in order to prevent the diffusion of the past historical event that is being celebrated. China has defined the Tiananmen’s protest movement as “counter-revolutionary” to the principles of communist ideas. Several governments, such as the United States, urge China to account for what happened on June 4th, 1989. Even the Nobel Peace Prize winner and exiled Tibetan spiritual leader – the Dalai Lama – puts pressure on Chinese authorities to embrace democracy.

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Illustration – Tank Man. Retrieved from:

Everything started with the death of the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong. His successor Deng Xiaoping implanted new and more open policies in terms of worldwide economic relations as well as in national education.

In 1987, the ‘’more liberal’’ official of the communist party Hu Yaobang was ceased by others more extremist members of the party, and he died later by a heart attack on April 8th, 1989. His death generated a big reaction in Chinese society: first, few students were accused of demonstrating illegally against the regime, and almost one month later, more than 200.000 people – especially students – took the streets claiming for more rights and freedoms.

On May 14th, protesters begun with a hunger strike. After a few days of protests in the Square – occupied by mainly students – on the 20th of May, the government declared the martial law, but the military forces were unable to enter the city due to the large numbers of students and citizens. On the 3th of June, the troops received orders to reclaim the Tiananmen Square at all costs. At night, soldiers opened fire on the people that have been occupying the square, causing lots of victims.

Obviously, the major part of the population was terrified with the happening of the massacre in the square, and tanks were a nightmare for all passers-by in the street. In this context, a photo taken by Jeff Widener of the Associated Press, became very famous on an international level. His photo shows an unknown man called the ‘Tank Man’ (see Illustration), who stood fearless and angry in front of a column of tanks.

Nobody knows if this man continues alive, but the consequences of that photo produced a huge pressure, exerted by institutions and foreign governments, towards China in order to promote Human Rights & peace in the region. Therefore, the Chinese government has to face the consequences such as a damaged reputation towards the international community.

After more than a half-century of the Chinese People’s Republic in power, the Human Rights are still a huge pending issue in the region. While most young Chinese are unaware of the Tiananmen event, others suffer repression more strongly with long prison punishments, exile or even executions under completely unfair trials that are all kept silence, favoring the government.

The most recent trials have been convicted activists such as Gu Yimin, Cao Shunli, Chen Wei, Chen Xi and Tan Zuoren who were convicted for publishing poems as well as papers related to the democratic reform in China. Even today, the total number of victims and detainees are still unknown – but these strangleholds do not prevent victims to be remembered worldwide.