Interview with D. Manuel María Lejarreta Lobo, current Secretary General of the Institution Consejo España-EE.UU.

MR. LEJARRETA

(Source: Transdoc )

Last May 22th I had the honour of interviewing Mr. Lejarreta, the current Secretary General of the Institution Consejo España-EE.UU. I began the interview asking about President Trump and the events that have influenced his election, as well as, commenting if the presidency might be too big for him.

Mr. Lejarreta answered saying that there are two main factors that could explain his victory. The first one is that many people from deep rural America have not benefited from the latest US governments and globalization has hurt them. They have wanted to give a mandate of disruptive power with a new president from a non-traditional political class who has a different mentality.

On the other hand, Hillary Clinton was a worn out candidate. “A lady who was already very damaged by the establishment” he said. Trump was a hope for those Americans who felt abandoned.

Other factors, like the rise of nationalism, as it is currently happening in Europe with Brexit or the fear of terrorist attacks, have determined his victory. One third of the crimes committed in the United States are by illegal immigrants, a very negative figure against immigration. A speech against immigration or in favour of highly controlled immigration is always welcomed by voters. Trump has exaggerated a lot on the terrorist issue. For Lejarreta, Trump’s messages are simple, populist and very basic, convincing large masses to vote him. Many of his promises made Trump win many followers.

On the question of whether Trump is prepared to be president, the secretary arguments that his profile is effectively not the most suitable to lead the United States seen so far, but the important part is the result.

Mr Manuel gave me an example in the economic area. The American stock market is increasing and the US economy goes quite well which means there is some confidence in Trump’s economic factors. Also many companies have reacted well in his protectionist proposals.

In addition, although the United States has a presidential system in which the president commands, there are some state control devices to help moderate. In that sense, although the work of the president is very important, not all foreign and domestic politics of the country are directed by him. In principle at the intellectual level, he has enough potential. We have to see his personal impulses and his way of leading companies. Being president is something very difficult but Mr Lejarreta puts his trust in Trump and in the possibility that he could be a successful president.

Then, we talked about some of Trump’s promises. We touched on the theme of his desire for the country to leave the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Mr. Lejarreta remarked that Trump is a protectionist and prefers bilateral agreements than multilaterals. He prefers negotiating directly with a country, face to face. The secretary added that we used to have multilateralism with Obama and, under his point of view, he prefers this system.

Regarding the US’ influence in the Asia-Pacific region, Mr Lejarreta completely agrees that the United States will not lose power in the area, because in his opinion, the Asia-Pacific region is the most important region for the United States and will continue to be.

He explained that the US has plans to make his fleet more present and has begun to establish trade agreements with Japan and South Korea. Consequently, he was sure that leaving the TPP will not entail a withdrawal from the area.

Of course, for China, it is very helpful that the agreement does not enter into force because apart from commercial, it also implied a regional political agreement of the countries and the less presence of the United States in the area, the more benefits China.

Once we talked about Trump’s relations with Asia, we started talking about relations with Europe, as well as talking about the relationship with Spain.

As with Asia, Mr. Lejarreta stated that relations with Europe would follow the same bilateral system. Trump does not want to negotiate with the European Union, but with countries separately.

Perhaps, Trump is not interested in negotiating with the EU, but the secretary thinks that Trump knows the transatlantic relationship is fundamental. He do not think it will even lower the level of relations in the military, security, defence … it may be a major change in the way of negotiating bilateral agreements, but it is difficult because the EU made a compromise in a community agreement and it will not be easy to negotiate separately.

Focusing on Spain, Mr. Lejarreta remarked that we are bound to be the little one and have good relations with the big one. Spain have to get along with the American government and its president, whoever.

Obviously, for Spain it would have been much easier with Hillary Clinton as President. First, because she has come to Spain many times, and secondly because her vice president, Tim Kaine, who is a friend of Spain, precisely presides over the forum Spain- U.S.A. of which the foundation Consejo España-EE.UU. is part. Spain has had to start from scratch with the new republican administration.

Spain is a good partner for the States. In terms of security, the bases of Rota and Morón are essential for security in the Mediterranean and as a platform for deployment in Africa and the Middle East, therefore we have very important elements that make the United States interested to get along with Spain.

As with all other countries, Mr. Lejarreta summarised that Spain cannot accept everything because we have our principles and we are part of the EU. But he thinks the relations do not have to be bad, much less, and of course our government will strive to get along. Only time could show the future actions of Trump and its movements in the international order.

                                                                                                       Laura Cañibano Ponce de León

Interview with the Chancellor and Minister for bilateral cooperation between Haiti and Spain.

In recent years, Haiti has been a country that has been  repeatedly hit by natural catastrophes over and over again. On Thursday, May the 1st, I had the honour to interview Mr. Louis Marie Montford Saintil, Chancellor and Minister for bilateral cooperation between Haiti and Spain.

During this interview we went over different topics such as the 2010 earthquake, the aid provided by the UN, the cooperation between Spain and Haiti, the meeting between the secretary of Internal Security of the United States and finally, the catastrophe caused by Hurricane Matthew last year.

 

The earthquake that occurred in Haiti in 2010 was one of the major catastrophes of this decade leaving behind more than 300,000 deaths and 350,000 wounded.

After this tragic event, countries around the world wanted to contribute with economic and humanitarian assistance in cooperation with the UN bodies to help the Haitian people.

One of the European countries that gave strong support to Haiti during this period of turmoil was Spain being considered a vital partner of Haiti after the earthquake. According to Mr. Saintil, Spain contributed more than 346 million euros in the fund for the reconstruction of Haiti during the donors’ conference in March 2010. It is there that the cooperation between Haiti and Spain began and according to Mr. Saintil it is worth noting that Spain was the third country that gave most help to Haiti after the United States and Canada and the first one in the EU.

Right now, Haiti is one of the 23 countries that the Spanish executive gives more priority to in terms of cooperation and aid. During the last Minister’s visit of Haitian cooperation, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Spanish Cooperation, assured him that Haiti would continue to be a priority in terms of  providing help to ensure cooperation and development in the island.

The last two agreements that were signed between the two nations are a protocol in relation to the promotion and protection of investments as well as a framework partnership agreement. This framework agreement was signed in June 16th, 2015 between the minister of foreign affairs and cooperation of Haiti, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Spanish Cooperation.

According to Luis Marie Montford, Spanish cooperation in Haiti focuses on specific issues, mainly rural development, the fight against poverty, education, water and sanitation; the fight against climate change and cultural development mainly, all of these being Sustainable development goals.

Moreover, the two governments are currently studying how to extend cooperation throughout Haitian territory because currently this cooperation is only centered in the west (the capital), the center and the south east.

It is worth noting that the US also helped Haiti, Mr. Saintil stated. The American Government made available to the Haitians a TPS (Temporary Protected Status) that is renewed every 18 months. Surprisingly, the Trump administration  has decided not to renew this temporary status. On the 31st of May, the Secretary of Homeland Security of the United States went to Haiti to see in which conditions the Haitians live in today because of the massive protests being carried out by the Haitians living in the US. The aim of these protest was mainly to have the US government approve a demand for the renewal of the temporary status to the 60,000 Haitians living there, Mr.Santil mentioned.

Six years later another major catastrophe occurred, Hurricane Matthew, destroying Haiti once again and causing problems in the purification of water and favoring the spread of cholera disease. Following this event, the UN Secretary General decided to dedicate the 40 million dollars that were in a reserve fund for Haiti, as the UN had already signed a mission for this country, the MINUSTAH, United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti for the fight against cholera.This figure only represents 10% of what the Haitian government estimates they need to correctly eradicate cholera.

Currently, the Haitian executive is based on aligning the bilateral agreements between Haiti and other countries within their priorities and redirecting those within the framework of cooperation. The objective is no longer to donate funds just for the sake of it, but to have donations that are most importantly effective. In order to do this, the UN and other country´s aid funds have to be guided by the government’s plan because it is the one who knows the needs of the people, the Haitian minister said. It is in our best interest to promote trade and investment with the aim of creating jobs as this is what will ultimately make the Haitian people be autonomous, hence emerge out of poverty, Mr. Saintil said.

Mr. Louis Marie Montford finished the interview by establishing a metaphor between the aid and the real situation his people is living back in Haiti “It is better to provide people with a fishing rod than with fish.” meaning that the means are everything in order to accomplish the targeted objectives.

William Lenôtre Okemba Ongagna

The art of the accusation

The cross accusations between North Korea and the US.

Ever since World War II, the United States and North Korea have been confronting and accusing each other. Presently, the situation has not improved, but it could be said that it has worsened significantly. The main actors of these accusations are Kim Jong-Un (North Korea) and Donald Trump (USA), who instead of trying to mediate in international politics, are once again a concern for the international community.
The usual accusations are not all of the same typology or thematic, but they have a clear objective, which in none other than to destabilize the image of the opponent, and at the same time they are adding even more “wood to the fire”. Earlier this week, a North Korean newspaper published a report accusing the US CIA of conspiring to attack North Korean’s leader in an attempt to murder him.

trump lol

Earlier this week, US newspapers published a report on China’s support for the US and the unpolite attention Kim Jong-Un allegedly had with the Chinese government, which is a bit ironic because North Korea is highly dependent on China and might even need its help… in case of a possible armed conflict. This is what is known as state marketing. Not everyone knows the existence of this department of government that the states have, whose purpose is none other than trying to make their people and even the rest of the world see what they want us to see through the media. There are clear, fully verified examples in which the US has used its state marketing services, like for example in the Vietnam war, the conflict with Fidel Castro (Cuba) and even more recently, the war in Afghanistan.

Recently Mr. Trump has made a series of very unfortunate statements, something very common since he began his electoral program last year (2016). These are statements where he shows his great ego and almost touching totalitarianism. In which he warns North Korea, that if they continue to ignore the international community, they will be punished with force, for example the US has already punished them with economic sanctions, but they haven’t stopped their nuclear activities and other military actions.

22 is too many

A large part of the world population is wondering: Why is President Donald Trump acting this way? Well, there is a study that explains the necessity of the US to enter a new war, not because of a mere economical, geographical or political issue, but because the American army cannot remain without activity in American territory, since this causes a great problem in society. The number of suicides among American military has increased exponentially recently, due to their lack of activity when they return from conflict. (20- 22 daily suicides according to Mission 22).      

To conclude, quoting Bertrand Russell: “Scientists strive to make the impossible possible. Politicians, for making impossible the possible.”

                                             

 

Macron elected President: the world welcomes its victory!

On this day of Sunday, May 7th, Macron has become the new French president. First in polls for several months, French people believed in this young banker to be the one to govern their country. Thanks to his triumph against Marine Le Pen, its competitor, France is no longer divided and finds a semblance of tranquility.

But how did the rest of the world react? Because for some time France has been placed under a microscope almost everywhere. Going from Japan, to the United States, passing through Israel or Venezuela

Firstly, they were also some states in which they offered their support to Marine Le Pen, those special countries had some common characteristics in their political philosophy. The main countries that were backing the ultra-right program in France where; the United States, Russia and the UK government. Especially for UK, which was hoping that France, if Marine Le Pen was elected, that they would not be the only one leaving UE. 

Various political leaders announced by their personal social sites their disagreement to the victory of Macron. As Nigel Farage tweeted “Emmanuel Macron offers 5 more years of failure, power to the UE and open borders. If Marie Le pen sticks in there, she can win 2022”, who directly addresses their support as Le Pen was in favor of leaving the European Union. When the news arrives to Moscow, the reaction of president Putin after his meeting on march 24 with Le Pen was not very likely, as the French leader had included in her political government an exit in NATO and a very friendly relation with Russia.

It is clear that the important influence of the French power had around the world. For this reason the reaction of president Trump wasn’t directly supporting Macron but the past declarations before the elections and the visit of Le Pen to Washington evidently showed a relationship between these right leaders.

On the other hand, Emmanuel Macron was supported by most of the European countries because of Macron’s ideology which is considered pro-European. Many of members of the European departments show their positions as Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, and of course, European countries like Germany, where Angela Merkel celebrate the Macron victory by calling him or even Mariano Rajoy, the president of Spain’s government, who sent a telegram to Emmanuel Macron. Furthermore, the ex-president of the United States, Barack Obama  announced his support to Macron too, just before the election on May 4th.

After winning presidential elections and becoming the world’s youngest president, Europe was then going to react to this event, some countries feared a victory of Marine Le Pen because they felt that the place of France was in europe.

And it is thus the most pro-European candidate of this campaign which was elected, what did not escape in his from now on counterparts. From Brussels to Berlin, including Rome or Madrid, congratulations streamed, so sincere as relieved. Concerning United Kingdom, the majority of the political leaders greeted the victory of Macron, which falls in the campaign.

Emmanuel Macron carries at the same time the hope of the countries of the South (Italy, Greece, Spain), who hope a little less obligatorily and a little more reflation, and those for countries of the North, which, to save European spirit, are ready for financial concessions if France implements new reforms. With its election and after Brexit  and more still if Martin Schultz beat Angela Merkel in autumn , Europe has maybe just entered a new cycle.

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!”

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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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“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.”

Not so “great great wall”

The U.S. President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to begin the construction of his famous wall along the 1,900-mile border with Mexico but the outcome will not be as good as he promised due to the arguments he gave during the campaign haven’t got any sense.

During the campaign, Trump promised a wall in the U.S.-Mexican border which would be paid by the Mexicans. The wall will cost nearly twice the $10 billion estimated by Trump, which by the moment will be paid with U.S. federal dollars as Mexico still refuses to pay for it. This dilemma has broken the historical relationship among them, as they used to fight together against illegal immigration. Recently the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a landmark meeting with the new President. The different ways Trump may use to make Mexican pay (as a sky-high export tax), will cause economic damage on both countries.

trumppp

The Department of Homeland Security’s estimates that the total undocumented population peaked at 12 million in 2008, and has fallen since then. And that decline is not because of rising border enforcement but because Mexico is producing less demographic pressure to migrate to the U.S.. Moreover, according to the BJS, black males are 37% of the male prison population, white males made up 32%, followed by 22% of Hispanics that were in state or federal prison at yearend 2014. So the “malos hombres” that Trump always talked about are not the main cause of criminality in U.S..

Also, Trump said that “undocumented immigrants take jobs away from native-born Americans”, but it has been proved that most of immigrants take different jobs than American. For example, farmers can’t find enough native-born Americans to pick crops, as often Americans are unwilling to do the jobs done by immigrants. There has been numerous cases in towns of the U.S., where they enforce laws against immigrants, which has led to a catastrophic result in their town.The Town of Riverside, New Jersey is a clear example of it. 11 years ago, the Town Comitee became the first municipality in New Jersey to establish a law against illegal immigrants, by fining or even sending to jail to their householders. This led to a massive exodus of immigrants in the Town, leaving it without workers or customers. Their local economy suffered to the point that the local shops, like hair salons, restaurants and corner shops that catered the immigrants went broke, which made a big part of them close.

If Trump thinks that kicking the immigrants out of the U.S. is a good thing, we think that there are more reasons showing the opposite. The diversity of ethnics has always been one of the pillars of the U.S. in terms of economy, referring that any person of any country could seek fortune in the U.S., which turned the U.S. into “the land of opportunity and liberty”, and the construction of the wall will suppose the end of it.

By Marina Barberá, Alejandro Martín, Alba Tissera.