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.

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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”

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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.

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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!”

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

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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.

“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.”

“Cheap labor has always been the advantage of Asian garments”

Italian clothing brand Alcott’s owner Mr. Salvatore Colella talks about their business, reasons behind doing business with Asian garments and how it affects the bringing a betterment in the relation between countries.

Alcott was born in 1988 from a great idea: to offer a product of trend and quality, at an economic price, so that the fashion was accessible to all. The ambitious business project collected in the years a great success, placing Alcott among the first Italian brand in the fast fashion retail sector. With the Alcott and Alcott Los Angeles brands, the company is present today with more than 150 outlets worldwide.

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What are the main reasons for choosing Asia for manufacturing garments? The current global apparel market is valued over $3000 billion, which is about 2% of world’s GDP. There are over 25 million people involved directly or indirectly with apparel manufacturing and over 60% are from Asia. The garment manufacturing in a collective way started in Asia in about 1950 in South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong. American companies were producing in there in selling in USA. Since then the industry spread in all over Asia for good number of workplace, cheap and qualified work force, quality products, mass production capacity and national focus.

Is that why you started doing business with Asian manufacturers? “Of course. To fulfill our production capacity with the best possible price and quality we chose Asia as our no.1 manufacturing continent.”

What is the current production and economic status of Alcott? Alcott currently produce their 70% of the garments in Bangladesh and the rest 30% is spread amongst China, Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea and Turkey including some Italy also. And for the record in 2015-16 the company’s turnover was $250 million.

What kind of problems are you facing nowadays? Our company sometimes face the transit time and shipping problems. As our main production country is Bangladesh, it takes about 30-35 days to reach the garments to reach Italy. We face port conjestion 3-4 times every year in Bangladesh. And sometimes we face problems for strikes when the production factory work but outside movement is not possible for the shipping.

Do you think it is strengthening the relation between countries? “You see, Alcott is now importing about $100 million from Bangladesh and other Asian countries. As we are a growing company and our focus on importing garments from Bangladesh is very promising. So, yes. I think the relation between the countries is strengthening through economic growth.

How do you feel about the workers in Bangladesh and what type of relation do you have with them? And what differences do you spot between the employees of Italy and Bangladesh? There is a significant difference between the employees in Italy and Bangladesh. In our company, all employees are under Italian and EU regulations. On the hand in Bangladesh the employees are working Bangladeshi and ILO regulations. We can not actually compare this two stages of people. Italy is a developed country and Bangladesh is one the fastest growing countries.

So do you like doing business with Bangladesh? “Absolutely. We are very happy doing business in Bangladesh. Actually the production percentage of our company shows it all whether we like doing business with Bangladesh or not.”

Has there been any change in your market? Since the starting of our company, we were importing mainly from China. But over the past few years Chinese garments industry and fashion moved too high and became too expensive. So we had to go to Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan etc. In coming future there will be no changing unless we face a serious problem in Bangladesh.

Is the company’s purpose connected to you own? “Yes. 100% percent. But if you see broadly, our business ultimately helps our country’s economic growth.” Our company creates work opportunity not only in Italy but also in Bangladesh. Actually more Bangladeshi workers are earning their livelihood than our company’s employees. “Look, while focusing at our own profit, we kind of help balancing economic status is both countries.”

 

INTERVIEW HAS BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED.

A moment with the consul of Burkina Faso

Interviewee : Karidia K. Friggit, Burkina Faso Honorary Consul in Madrid
This interview was held in French, because it is our common mothertong both to the consul and me. Therefore here it is a translation from French to English.
«Me: What did you do before becoming consul ?
Karidia K. Friggit: Well, I have a master of English. Then I moved to London with my husband, and because of my children, I did not want to work. But I was working voluntarily in an association. The association was called London Detained Support Group. I heard difficult stories so I took psychology lessons, to understand people and put distance between them and I . Simultaneously, I made a degree of interpret, which allowed me to be more independent when I had meeting with lawyer and refugees. So we stayed 7 years in London and after we moved to Madrid. We created a foundation to build primary schools and high schools in Burkina Faso. It was notably to help girls who usually who drop out of school early. Then we were searching for a consulate in Madrid, for the foundation, but there was not any in Madrid. I began to help the Embassy to find a consul, then they ask me to assume it. So now I am honorary consul.

What is an honorary consul ? What is the difference with a general consul ?
Honorary means that I am not paid, like volunteerism. It is a honorary title for the good actions I make and to represent the government abroad. Many countries create honorary consuls because it costs nothing to the government, unlike an Embassy or a general consulate. There is an Embassy of Burkina Faso in Paris, and I represent it here in Spain. At the beginning I had my office at home. Fastly the work became important, so we decided to buy rooms in 2014. Since 2012 I am accredited, it means that I am working as a consul. I am leading the foundation and a master in Sciences Po Paris at the same time.
What does the job of consul consist in?
I make visas, I take care of Burkina people’s passports : I receive their file and I send them.
I am a listening ear for Burkina people’s personal problems. But I am not here to give solutions, I am here to listen them and to let themselves finding solutions. When they have administrative problems, I redirect them to lawyers.
I make also conferences about the situation in Burkina Faso. But it is quite difficult because we do not have all the information here, when there was the attacks, or the coup d’état for instance. We organize manifestations, such as one on the 8th March, for women, or cine debates. However, I don’t do anything when I receive eviction notices of undocumented people. But if an undocumented person from Burkina Faso come here, I will redirect him to a lawyer.
Is Burkina Faso’s community important in Spain?
I would say that we are almost 300 people from Burkina Faso in Madrid and almost 3 000 in Spain.

And must they all come to Madrid when they need help from the consulate ?
I forgot to say that there are four consulates in Spain. I am in Madrid, there is another in Valencia, another in Andalucia, Almeria, and in Barcelone. They were created according to the needs, because Spain is wide. Before it was the French embassy who was treating the visas, now it is me. So we create the consulates in the cities where there are many people from Burkina Faso and in the cities where there are people who wants to go to Burkina Faso, where there is an interest for the country, with a lot of associations related to for instance.

What about the relations between Spain and Burkina Faso ?
They are complicated. Before, Burkina Faso’s government had private relations with the Spanish government. Now the new Burkina Faso’s government, in power since last December, try to implement new relations. At the consulate, we try to organize meeting to welcome Burkina Faso’s leaders. But it is difficult for them to understand that now there is not a government in Spain. They do not understand either that they could more cultivate ties with the Communidades, which are strongly independent, such as Navarre, which is two times Burkina Faso’s GDP. They prefer to wait for the new Spanish government. Moreover there are many Spanish NGOs in Burkina Faso, they are really involved, such as Caritas, Manos Unidas, which work with my Foundation on a project over a school, los Amigos de Rimquieta, who are taking care of more than 300 children who are
living in Ouagadougou streets. That’s why, we have to work more on the cooperation between Spain and Burkina. There is also a bilateral cooperation between the two countries over the renewable energies, notably the solar energy, over the agribusiness and the pharmaceutical industry. For instance for emergency medication, the notices are in Spanish so we try to cooperate to translate
them in French or English at least.»
Thanks to Karidia K. Friggit for answering my questions and to you Alana Moceri, to allow me to meet her.

Written by Ludivine Mouly

The Islamic Culture As A Bias Point Of View

MADRID – Arabic translators, whose mother tongue is Spanish, are not plentiful at present. For this reason, I decided to make contact with one for granting me an interview about his work and the current problems related with the Middle East.

Rafael Mayor is a sworn translator, an interpreter and an expert in the Islamic culture. In addition, he translates texts and books about literary criticism and history. He decided to study sworn translation due to the fact that he previously had studied a degree in Law (which he has never finished), so he had knowledge about these affairs. He has been working as sworn translator since 2007 and he works with the Spanish Police at present.

Many years ago, when he started studying translation, he never thought he would become an Arabic translator, but his Arabic professor Milagros Nuin, who works in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs now, made him being interested in this language. He admitted that “learn Arabic is difficult and it takes a long time, but it is amazing”.  However, the main problem he has to face daily is the lack of specialized dictionaries, which would make his labour easier. When I asked him about his colleagues he points out that “anyone who knows Arabic and studies in Spain, is an Arabic translator, thus, it affects the quality of work done”. However, there are few of them who have the appropriate studies in order to be a sworn translator.

Regarding to his facet as islamologist, Rafael emphasised the importance of being an expert of Islam when you are a translator because “there are a lot of aspects of Arabian world that you cannot understand if you do not have knowledge about Islam due to the fact that the Islamic and Arabian world is constantly doing references to the Coran”. In his opinion, the Arabian world is misunderstood without the pertinent knowledge about the past and the present of this ancient culture.

This drove me to ask him about the causes of the radicalization of young men. “There are a lot of reasons”, he answered. Referring us to France, he argued that: “In France, for example, the problem is that these young men feel uprooted because they are not considered by the State as French persons, but as Moroccan persons, even they do not know how to speak Arabic”.

This identity problem added to a broken home is the equation whose result is to join Daesh and fight for a cause that they did not support before, but it makes them feel part of a community. For him, they are “radical young people who find a justification for doing something in a part of Islam”.

Moreover, for him, the “Islamic radicalism is a phenomenon which belongs to the Western world”. He supported his statement by saying that “Middle East is not exporting terrorists, otherwise it is importing them from Europe”.

Nevertheless, he thinks that the last terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels have not woken up the dormant racism in Europe. The responsibility of this belongs to “the French government, which adopted wrong solutions”. He alluded to the protocol taken in the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo attack, whose purpose was to identify the Islamic radicalism at schools. “The protocol stated that if a child stops listening to music, it was a sign of radicalism and it is not true, it depends on other factors”, he said as an example. “To stop listening to music is a normal behaviour on Muslims, so the protocol categorized all Muslims as terrorists”.

If we talk about looking for a solution, he finds out that the main point is starting in the education field. He determined that “if these jihadist terrorists were taught about what is really Islam, they probably would have not committed those atrocities”. In the Western countries, the problem is the lack of institutions where people can study Islamic religion so “people turn to their families (who often do not have enough information), to mosques (which frequently are managed by not seasoned professionals) and to Internet (which has only information about Wahhabism)”.

Regarding to Spain, he told me that “in 1992, the government signed an agreement that allowed to teach Islam at school, but it has never been introduced.” The agreement that he mentioned is the “Acuerdo de Cooperación del Estado con la Comisión Islámica de España” included in the Law 26/1992.

Finally, to conclude, I asked him about a short-term resolution to the conflicts in the Middle East and Rafael answered that “these political conflicts will resolve within time period of five years”. I insisted on the end of the jihadist organization but “Daesh is not the problem, is only a sign”, he stated. “Daesh will be eradicated but the phenomenon will be repeated as far as they deal with the underlying problem”.

Rafael Mayor, interviewed by Macarena Dueñas.