All posts by AlmudenaSeeder

Experienced International Professional. I always liked the Foreign Affairs. At some moment, after a long professional life in Corporate business, I decided to re-invent myself and starting my career in the battle of the opinions. I have the specialisation in International Relations, International Politics, International Law and Governance.

Although I am originally from Madrid, Spain, I have decide to write my blog in English as I live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Hybrid war

In  21st century’ wars, the media, internet and virtual environments are as important as the traditional weapons. In a world addicted to information, the ability to create alternative truths, the so-called ‘post-truth’, and the reality denial, are becoming a very powerful weapon. Unlike other countries, Russia already entered full-time on it. Since the overthrow of the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine, Russia has begun its strategy of ‘asymmetric response’ which is a strategy of erosion, through all means at its disposal, spies, irregular military means, false news, ‘trolls’, ‘hackers’, financing of radical political parties or independence movements. These actions are taking place in countries that Russia considers hostile, mainly those belonging to the EU and NATO.

From the Russian perspective, what is happening today is a counterattack. “The Russians see the act of war in a complex way. They do not understand it only as armed combat: they also use political, economic and any other means to achieve their objectives,” explained Janis Berzins, director of the Riga’s Centre for Security and Strategic Research, attached to the Ministry of Defence of Latvia. “Russia has political objectives which wants to achieve in Europe, and it does everything possible, within certain strategic limitations. I cannot imagine Russia attacking France or Germany, it does not make sense. But we might see Russia trying to influence political outcomes, elections, people, the goal is to use our democracies against us,” Berzins said.

Russia has many means and uses them all simultaneously. There is a narrative which they want to spread out and they do it through media such as RT and Sputnik,“, pointed Dace Kundrate, an expert from the NATO’ Department of Doctrine, Concepts and Experimentation of the Strategic Communications Centre in Riga. These media develop the message and the social networks and trolls amplify it.

Now, the investigation of the Russian plot in the United States is being carried out, which seeks to clarify if there was connivance between the Donald Trump’ campaign team and Moscow. Many questions about the possible interference of the Kremlin in the United Kingdom, where the triumph of Brexit in last year’s historic referendum shaken the pillars of the European Union (EU), are also being produced right now. The controversy over how Russia seems to have influenced the past US elections is increasing, and some of the Facebook representatives recently admitted to US congressional investigators that from Russia have been generating and organizing thousands of fake Facebook profiles to influence the users. The infrastructure of fake accounts is not limited to Facebook, but a whole network of Twitter bots has been used as well.

Weakening both the EU and NATO has always been part of Moscow’ strategic plan. In this sense, the problem also affects Spain, where Russian seems to have been part of the communications regarding the secessionist movement in Catalonia. “There are indications to think that the pattern of digital disruption detected in digital debates about the elections in the United States or the Brexit, has also occurred in Catalonia and the actors of this disruption seems to be identical,” says Javier Lesaca, researcher visitor at the School of Media and Public Affairs of the George Washington University. Once again, the Kremlin, RT and Sputnik media used a very high number of social media accounts coming from the Chavismo and Venezuela spheres, to propagate a negative image of Spain in the days before and after the illegal referendum on October 1st, according to a detailed analysis of more than five million messages made by the George Washington University. The report warns of serious damage to the reputation, political and economic of Spain and the EU.

Following on the same line, the different European elections held in 2017 in France, The Netherlands, Germany, the Czech Republic, have been a perfect testing ground for these purposes. Although the Russian interference, according to some observers and analysts, is more a symptom than a cause: “Even without Russian interference, Donald Trump probably would have won anyway, because of the dissatisfaction and the satiety of the people. And that is exactly what Russia can exploit. As it is happening in Europe with the radical parties of the extreme right or extreme left’ growth.” Another account which defends the Kremlin’s interests very aggressively is ‘Voice of Europe’ (@V_of_Europe): Voice of Europe looks like a newspaper, but it has only one channel on Twitter and another on Facebook where shares content from other media, clearly false information: “British public schools force four-year-old girls to wear a veil” or “The Dutch police lacks powers before criminal immigrants.” The anonymity offered by the networks would therefore fit perfectly with the new strategy of the Kremlin.

The Russian perception of the threat derived from the EU and NATO has remained unchanged since the Cold War. Lately Russia has tried to combat it in a different way, more subtly, where its participation is not clearly shown, but pushing and interfering in any conflict or internal EU matter. The objective is to weaken the EU cohesion and to question its own foundations. Internally, the Russian government also uses this strategy to show an image of strength and stability as opposed to the “chaos” that Western democracies show.

These are new times. When the media started to speak not long ago of hybrid wars, nobody even imagined about battlefields far from the scenarios where things happen, and cross border attacks without leaving a trace. Or they not leaving clear traces but allowing to track their origin. So, the idea of a Russian interference in Western democracies was something like the conspiracy theory, i.e., a boutade.

It would be necessary to analyse more thoroughly the figure of Nigel Farage, Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning, the transsexual soldier who was the source of the Cablegate leaks. Nigel Farage, once the leader and soul of the Eurosceptic Ukip party, which played a vital role in the Brexit campaign, has been involved with Assange, whom he has even visiting in his self-imprisonment. Farage assures that it was a journalistic meeting for his radio program on LBC, but to date no material referring to this meeting has come out on the air. Assange, an Australian hacker with an anarchist ideology, persecuted by the FBI, has been taking refuge at the embassy of Ecuador since June 2012. Ecuador is a member country of ALBA, the Bolivarian alliance founded by Hugo Chávez. Julian Assange is responsible for WikiLeaks, whose website published thousands of emails harmful to Clinton which, according to the US intelligence services, were part of the plan to achieve Trump’s victory. The director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, said that “WikiLeaks was a hostile intelligence service often instigated by state actors like Russia.” Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, exchanged messages with WikiLeaks during his father’s White House campaign, as he himself would have acknowledged. The communications made through internal messages on Twitter occurred at the same time when WikiLeaks leaked hacked documents from the Democratic Party. In these messages, WikiLeaks urges the president’s son to disseminate the hacked documents and proposes some ideas such as not recognizing the results of the elections, if the Clinton Democrat would have win.

Every day seems more plausible that Assange does dirty work for Russia, as a part of geopolitical strategy to destabilize the European democracies and the US. With regards to Spain, Assange has been very much in favour of the seditious movement of Catalonia, insulting in the media to the PM and the King of Spain. The concern has reached such a level that companies like Google are putting into operation a series of cybersecurity tools to protect democratic electoral processes against foreign interference. The combination of intelligence operations, disinformation, post-truth, unconventional media and computer attacks which some experts define as ‘hybrid warfare’ has not stopped gaining prominence until today. And we are the enemy. It is worrying.

Nationalism, supremacism and sedition.

For the last 40 years, we haven’t known in Spain anything different in our democracy than being bastardized and weakened by the nationalist cancer. It’s being the kidnapping too long. The nationalism is a perverse tendency which thrives only in division, generating an enemy and cultivating it with care. There is no use the appeasement and the covenant. It is insatiable and pollutes. It thrives because it feeds the worst of the human being. It is as simple as dividing the world into good and bad ones, and pointing the finger at the bad guys. It is a geographical populism, and it is nourished exactly in the same way: promoting dissatisfaction and supremacy of some over the others. Its own internal mechanism repels intelligence and decency, and therefore easily put together to all those who wish to prosper and touch power and do not know how to do it in a constructive way.

The Catalan nationalism, which in the end has led to independentism, has in common all these characteristics with other nationalisms: this superiority feeling of the Catalan independence movement compared to the rest of the Spanish regions. It is made of a narcissistic type which is characterized, among other traits, by its immunity to any self-criticism; by a grandiose sense of its own importance, which makes it believe itself superior to all others; by an exaggerated perception of its own rights, refusing to admit having participated in the creation of problems, always attributed those to external circumstances, and, above all, losing all contact with the reality. The same characteristics of individual narcissism are reproduced in the collective, which is at the origin of all the nationalistic movements.

The Catalan nationalism’ narcissism has already turned into a megalomania: it is enough to point out that on several occasions, the pro-independence politicians have compared themselves to Mandela, Gandhi and Martin Luther King, personalities who, due to their mythical heroism and integrity, have become an example for the Humanity. From the Institut Catalá de Nova Història, it has been asserted that Da Vinci, Colón and Cervantes were real Catalans. The former President Artur Mas already said that of, an independent Catalonia would become “the Denmark of the Mediterranean”, which would entail quality employment, high salaries and a robust and sustainable welfare state. This statement that is not without its grace, as it is pronounced by a politician whose party has exercised a systemic corruption to the point of having to change the name of the party, and being Denmark the least corrupt country in the world. Mr. Mas does not explain how such an amazing transformation could be achieved.

The Catalan secessionists have declared the Catalonian independence illegally, of course. They say they are leaving, but all the Spaniards know that it is not the reality. They are just devising a more perfect form of extortion. Or is it that someone has taken this Catalan pantomime seriously? Where are they going to go where they can continue enjoying so many privileges? Not wanting to be Spaniards has been transformed into such a profitable business which those nationalist gentlemen are not going to give it up.

But the problem is not only in Catalonia. It lives, grows and has always prospered in Madrid. All the Prime Ministers of Spain have paid the ‘Catalonian toll’, with the joy, always after payment, of the Catalonian nationalist oligarchies. And they have bought their mandates undermining the bond of solidarity which must unite the nations, by granting to some regions privileges that others are denied. We are going to say it clearly: nationalism steals from us since long time ago. The territorial inequalities which are present for centuries in Spain have no other origin.

There is no sacred duty or historical blame, no original sin in being Spaniards which forces us to endure these infamies. We, Spaniards, are fed up with insults and belittles on the part of an oligarchy who only seeks to get more privileges. According to them, one can be a Catalan with pride, but not Spaniard. I refuse this discourse. We must free ourselves from this disease. And then we with big hope must start to improve Spain, because we are many, many millions. We must recover the public space for the Spaniards, most the inhabitants of these lands, who have lived in semi-underground conditions for years. It is urgent to clear this fog of abuse and noise. We are the ones who must decide if we want Catalonia to remain Spanish, not them. Those of us who want to be Spaniards are entitled to say something about the matter, if those who do not want to be, pretend to be entitled.

This regarding Spain and our rights and self-esteem as Spaniards. I would like to make a brief final reflection on the traveling companions who the seditious Catalans have sought; also about their destructive wave threatening within the EU territories: The Belgian racists of the New Alliance party are the ones who have welcomed and protected Puigdemont, the President who declared the Catalonia independence and fled away. Puigdemont belongs to the category of those who escape from Spain to destroy and curse it. Historically we have suffered this traitors’ kind more than once. Bart De Wever, president of the party filonazi New Alliance, and Jan Jambon, the current Flemish Inner Affaires’ minister, have made several critics about the impartiality of Spanish justice because of Judiciary statement to send these seditious to prison. The Flemish separatists who collaborated with the Nazis during Belgium’ occupation. The same Jambon who defends Puigdemont, a year ago caused a scandal because he defended the Nazi collaborators. The independentists are not aware about the black wolves are getting together in bed: Le Pen, Farage, Wilders, Jambon… all those which Putin has subsidize and secretly support, just like he did to the Catalan secessionists, because what he and they seek is the destruction of Europe, and specifically of the EU, as we know it.

Let all remember, and specifically those who has been sympathetic with the separatists, that nationalism is war.

Macri: a new Argentina is possible

Mauricio Macri and his political project are getting consolidated. And from my humble window, I congratulate him and Argentina for it. Macri is reinforcing the liberal center-right against the weakened Peronism represented by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who seems exhausted after 12 years in power and several allegations of corruption.

The new Argentina era with Mauricio Macri is managing to reinforce its way with the results of the last legislative elections. The coalition led by Macri ‘Cambiemos’ prevailed in most of the country and overturned Cristina Fernandez’ aspirations of regaining the national leadership. This win far exceeded expectations, winning clearly in 14 of the 24 Argentine provinces, and with an adjusted result in another two of them. The Government’ coalition has significantly increased its presence in Congress and the Senate. The results showed the emotion and feelings of many people, among whom I am.

Mauricio Macri, the last politician to speak on the election night, said “This is just the beginning“, and assured when he knew the results “today the certainty that we can change history forever, has won.” Satisfied, knowing that dawn had cleared his way for the re-election in 2019.  Macri, who already defeated Peronism in 2015, sees thus his power reinforced to undertake the necessary political and economic reforms in the country.

While the officialism’ candidates won in most of the Argentinian provinces, the weakened Peronism has continued to yield territorial power. One of Macri’ main challenges was to beat Cristina Kirchner in the province of Buenos Aires, the populous district with almost 40% of the electoral roll. At the head of ‘Unidad Ciudadana’, the former president has not been able to revalidate her triumph of the primary elections in August. As a senator, Kirchner will enjoy parliamentary immunity from potential court decisions against her. The former president faces several legal cases related to cases of corruption and abuse of power during her tenure.

Macri said “this is a long-term project which seeks to change Argentina forever.” In his victory speech, the president kept the measured line that has always characterized him: “We are just beginning to transform our beloved Argentina.” If something offers Mauricio Macri to the Argentinian people, is the hope of a better future.  And right now, he is in a favourable position to push forward the fundamental reforms which he has not even been able to raise in two years of office. Until now, he was focused on organizing a market economy which only now begins to give some small signs of improvement.

In order to win support from the middle,  upper classes and even from the working classes, Cambiemos (meaning let’s change) has been able to make an electoral connection with its constituents, so that its voters identify the coalition with certain measures very approved by the citizens. In his speech, Macri has made entrepreneurship and volunteering work the core of his values, and when he thinks about what kind of society he would like to have, he thinks in those terms.

Some conservative, radical and Peronist leaders came up to the new center-right ship. But the command post seems to be in the hands of a new class of leaders coming from non-political spheres: professionals, entrepreneurs, members of NGOs,… A new combination of people together with Macri, a former entrepreneur, are working in Cambiemos.

The Argentinian economy is starting to come afloat after a severe recession. At the presidential office are expecting 2018 to be the year of take-off, with the arrival of foreign investment and the generation of employment. This confidence that things will improve in the medium term is what has made, among other factors, that Cambiemos becomes the country’s main electoral brand over the exhausted Peronism. For the first time since taking office, Macri is preparing to announce a major national agreement to move ahead with those reforms the country needs. These include budget approval and tax reform. Macri, once again dismissed a labour reform. “Generating work is the fundamental tool to reduce poverty. Today we have two problems: people who do not have jobs and half of Argentines working in black,” said the head of state.

Since the August’ primaries, when the victory of the ruling party began to take shape, Macri has said, “Argentina begins to go through the best 20 years of the country’s history. We have confirmed our commitment to change. We will go together, because we aspire to more, to live better, to have dreams and to carry them out.

Argentina must occupy again the place that deserves in the world, and for good. This victory confirms that Latin America may have different kind of governments and politicians. For those who believe that there can only be dictatorships like Castro’s, or populist regimes like Maduro, Correa or the Nicaraguan Ortega, Macri is proving that things can be done right, with a government open to the market and the world, where the rule of law and legal security are in place, and most importantly, improving its citizens’ lives. 100 years ago, Argentina was a very rich country, an economic power. It should be again: it has natural wealth and educated population who has suffered too much from their bad choices. Right now, is the time to make it good.

Persecution of Christians

Last week was held in Budapest the International Day on Persecuted Christians, an initiative of the Hungarian Government. There were leaders of the Church of the Middle East, Russia, United States and Europe; victims of the Christian genocide, representatives of NGOs, the president of Hungary and several ministers and parliamentarians, along with other parliamentarians from Canada and Sweden. “The Christianity was born in the Middle East.” This was one of the most heard phrases in the two days of the meeting in Budapest. Some have remembered with tears in their eyes how in 2014 and for the first time in 2000 years, there was not a single Christian celebrated Christmas in the Nineveh’ plain.

The Christian community is the most persecuted in the world. 215 million people in 108 countries survive in a hostile environment, mostly scattered in the Middle East and Africa, without an umbrella to shelter. Four out of five people persecuted and murdered for their religion are Christians. And almost nobody speaks about this.

Many witness were heard, such as that of the young Iraqi, Hussam Banno, describing how the school made a mockery of his Christian faith: “They called us infidels, they insulted us and they attacked us, they made fun of us, there were bombings and terrorist attacks every day. When the Islamic state (Daesh) conquered the plains of Nineveh, we fled to Ankawa, in Kurdistan, we walked miles and miles to save our lives, and now Qaraqosh, my city, is liberated, but our house is a heap of ashes. Despite these painful circumstances people have begun to rebuild their homes, but the situation there is very unstable.

In recent years, we have witnessed a Christian genocide: mass executions, expulsion of hundreds of thousands of people from their homeland, destruction of churches, temples, monasteries and all possible representations of the Cross. Tens of thousands of Middle Eastern Christians were forced to flee their homes in 2016 for reasons of religious hatred. A total of 1,207 died for their faith in terrorist attacks and attacks, according to the report presented this week by the Evangelical NGO ‘Open Doors’.

The drama of the oldest Christian communities which have survived since the 8th century in an always hostile environment, seems to be shocked in the most apocalyptic context of wars, which explains the phenomenon of mass emigration to Europe. But terror by religious hatred has its own physiognomy and less support, especially if it is Christian, than the political or the economic. Only the Vatican and a handful of non-governmental organizations raise their voices and call for concrete action when bomb attacks occur periodically in those humble Christian neighbourhoods in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. In the ‘Open Door’ report of the fifty countries with the most persecution of Christians in the world, no one surprises that eight of the ten most hostile are nations with Muslim majority. Of the total of 50 countries supervised, 36 of them have political regimes inspired by the Sharia, the Islamic law.

The aggression against Christians not only come from the jihadist terrorist groups Daesh, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al Shabab, the four most brutal. There is also an atmosphere of intimidation and aggression in many Muslim social environments, which identify their own economic precariousness with a supposed Western neo-colonialism, and look with hatred on their Christian neighbour, often much more indigent than the Muslim. This is the saddest Pakistan case. Being a Christian in Pakistan is at best, condemned to being a second-class citizen. But this religious minority also runs the risk of ending their days in prison if a Muslim decides to accuse them of taking the name of Muhammad in vain, through the ‘Blasphemy Law’, which allows three Muslims to agree to lock up in jail or condemning a Christian to death if they accuse him or her of having insulted Muhammad or the Koran. “More than 1,000 people are in prison in Pakistan for the Law of Blasphemy, which is used unfairly to persecute members of religious minorities. Many of the accused are killed before they are judged,” recalls AIN (Aid to the Church in Need) Director, Javier Menendez Ros. The most well-known victim of this lacerating rule is Asia Bibi, a large family’ mother who has been in prison since 2009, after a court sentenced her to death for a false crime of blasphemy. Four million Christians live in Pakistan, half are Protestants and the other half are Roman Catholics.

In Egypt, for some Muslims’ imaginary, the Coptic Christians are the wealthy businessman who enjoys a fortune of suspicious origin; No one seems to notice those belonging to the garbage collector’ cast, the Zabalin, much more usual in Cairo. The defenestration of the Muslim Brotherhood has hardly changed that perception, and the attacks on the Copts continue to take place under the secular authoritarian regime of Al Sisi. Paul Marshall, of the Hudson Institute’s Religious Liberty Center, said that “the worst pogrom on Christians in Egypt for about 700 years is taking place right there, right now.”

Within the territories controlled by Daesh in Iraq and Syria, it has been repeated the literal theses of the Quran on dealing with other religions. Christians thus belong to the group of “Book Persons”, so they are being offered three paths: flight, conversion to Islam, or vassalage, which involves the tax payment to the ‘caliphate’ among other easements. However, the vassalage that the Christians of Pakistan already live did not save them from dying under terrorist bombs in the last months. Weeks before the attack in Lahore, a jihadist commando in Yemen carried out a massacre of a group of Mother Theresa of Calcutta’ nuns, in a nursing home. Despite this, the Missionaries of Charity continue to work with the poorest of other twelve Muslim majority countries, which are among the 130 where they work.

Throughout the Middle East, the Christian minorities have been the target those conflicts arising from what were supposed to be transitions to democracy. The latest report by the NGO Open Doors on religious freedom highlights again, according to the editor of International Francisco de Andres, that Christianity is the most persecuted confession in the world. In 2015, more than 7,000 Christians died victims of hatred for their religion, in attacks that the media did not give publicity, because it happened in the Middle East and black Africa.

Some Western leaders like Pope Franciscus and Prince Charles of Wales, have expressed much concern about the threat to the Christians in the region that gave rise to their faith. And yet, in the United States, it has attracted relatively little attention, outside of some Christian groups or legislators. They are too self-absorbed. But it seems that, from a time to this part, there is some hope shyly appearing again in the life of persecuted Christians. Since they do not have too much notoriety, interest of the Western media, or defence, I trust that it remains so.

Columbus day

On last Sunday October 8th, we saw to the Spanish-Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa, a, Hispanity prince, defending the democracy and the constitutional unity of Spain against those who deny it and want to break it. It is a well-known fact and widely used for propaganda, that a lie repeated hundreds, thousands of times, even if it is still a lie, in the collective imagination becomes true. These days we are attending the spectacle of how two of those lies which hurt us so much, are reaching our heart, these two new invented truths are: ‘Spain is robbing us’ cradled by the Catalan secessionist and, ‘The Spaniards who came with Columbus to America are genocidal.

Saving the well-known names and individualities of science and arts, what has Spain contributed as a political identity to the becoming of the world?

Saving the infinity of painters like El Greco, Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbaran, Goya, Sorolla, Picasso, Gray, Dali or Miro; writers such as Cervantes, Garcilaso de la Vega, Lope de Vega, Gongora, Becquer, Garcia Lorca, Machado, Unamuno, Baroja, Perez Galdos, Jiménez, Delibes, Valle Inclan, Rosalia de Castro, Calderon de la Barca, Ortega y Gasset, Espronceda, Zorrilla, Cela and many and many more; or of men of science like Ramon y Cajal, Marañon or Severo Ochoa …

In Spain concretely Castile, was where were created for the very first time in history, those organs of representation of the three estates, seed of the parliamentarianism. Something which was done long before the Commons were constituted in England, because here the three states were already in the Cortes (Parliament) of Castile from 1188 and, later, in the other Hispanic kingdoms. Those would not arrive to England until 1258. Another key contribution of the Spaniards in the Middle Ages was their own miscegenation with Muslims and Jews, who brought different versions of Hellenism and Eastern wisdom from the East.

There was no phonetic writing In America before 1492. That is why it is so important to remember that in 1492, the grammar of Antonio de Nebrija, the first European grammar since the Romans, was completed, which would serve as a model for other languages and marked a milestone in the maturation of the Spanish language. The Spanish universities were the first of the American continent, many years before than the Anglo-Saxon universities which boast of antiquity and solemn reputation. It is still debated today on which one of them was officially the first, whether the National Major University of San Marcos in Peru or the University of Santo Tomas de Aquino in Santo Domingo: Both were created in the first half of the sixteenth century.

In 1700, the Hispano-American Empire had more than eight million inhabitants, mostly all in the census. All were in: native, mestizo and peninsular. At that particular time, the British colonies barely exceed 200,000 inhabitants. Any attempt to compare them is a forgery. The miscegenation was spectacular. Hugh Thomas, an English historian, writer, diplomat and member of the House of Lords until his death in May 2017, pointed out: “The miscegenation was the greatest work of art achieved by the Spaniards in the New World, a mixture of European and those of Indians. To those who think that is an obvious statement, I would ask you to consider how rare was this state of affairs between the Anglo-Saxons and the Indians of North America.” It was not rare, but non-existent. Or with the aboriginals of Australia, who were, like the Indians of North America, simply exterminated almost in their entirety.

Continuing with this issue, in the United States today there are approximately 2.5 million of its Indian descendants, 0.8% of the US population, living in reservations. But, oh! we Spanish genocides have left a mark on South America impossible to erase: Bolivia, with an indigenous population of 72% and 27% mestizo, mostly bilingual, who speaks Quechua or Aymara in addition to Spanish; Peru, in an 1876 census, some thirty years after their independence, had an Indian population of 59%, which has gradually diminished during the Republic. In 2012, the population of different ethnic groups in Mexico was 15 million, most of whom speak Nahuatl, the Mexica language and the most widespread, but also up to 65 different ethnic minority languages.

In parallel to the conquest of the American territories, a debate on human rights was held, until then untold: Facing the abuse of some conquerors, many Spanish missionaries denounced the excessive violence, and worked to enforce more fair laws against the Encomienda’s, a type of covert slavery. Their efforts were materialized in the ‘New Laws of 1542’, which recognized the Indians as free citizens of the Spanish Crown, and opened an unpublished debate on human rights in the sixteenth century. Despite their shortcomings, these laws were precursors of the International Law and represented the avant-garde legislation for their time. Francisco de Vitoria, father of the International Law, posthumously lit the so-called ‘controversy of Valladolid’, held between 1550 and 1551, where was argued that the Indians had the same rights as any Christian, a thesis defended by the Spanish historian, social reformer and Dominican friar Bartolome de las Casas, who was the first Bishop in Chiapas.

But Spain lost the battle of propaganda so far. The Spaniards never made good communication about their actions, their merits or their conquests. This is due to a minority complex developed over the years, especially since the Disaster of 98, with the loss of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines. Another cause is the existence of a left wing who denigrates the Hispano-American politics, who were speaking badly about the conquest and the civilizing work overseas of Spain. In Latin America, after the independence the children were taught in schools that a monstrous genocide had been carried out and many Indians had been killed by Spain. This statement is completely false, there is no trace of truth in that theory. The civilizing history of Spain is almost totally unknown even for the Spanish themselves. Research should be done to reorient the youth and make the Spanish population proud again. Not only of being Spanish, but that of magnificent empire extended to the whole world, which offered education to many people, who founded hospitals, colleges … Which neither the English, nor the Portuguese, nor the Dutch ever did in their colonial possessions.

It is imperative to know our past accurately, although today there is scarcely the political will to make a great community of united Hispanic nations. The institutional weight we would have in the world in GDP would be very important. Unlike England creating the Commonwealth, in the Hispanic America was cultivated hatred towards Spain. It was sponsored by the great revolutionaries like Bolivar or San Martin, supported by England, that thus took its revenge against Spain. One of the first actions carried out in New Granada by the ‘liberators’ was the expropriation of the Indians lands which were protected by Spanish laws. As a new egalitarian republic, the Indians could not have privileges. It was the great Creole oligarchs who expropriated those Indians lands, which originated the indigenous poverty. Lacking the land, they found it necessary to serve as cheap labour in conditions very close to slavery.

It is necessary the Renaissance for the Hispanic nations, and I include today’s Spain. We need to embrace the empire which engendered us, in both sides of the Atlantic. Doing it will do the same that Europe did with Rome in the fifteenth century: be proud of our origins and learn from it.

The Catalan post-truth (II)


After more than 40 years of democracy in Spain and with a recent history of which we have much to learn, it is unbelievable that we have experience a day like that of last October 1st. The cause was a secessionist process which has broken all the rules of the game. A deep reflection should be made: the Catalan society, an entrepreneurial society which has much contributed to our common Spanish history over the centuries, has been immersed in a process that, beyond claiming legitimate aspirations for political and economic improvement, has been driven by the path of radicalism and rupture.

It was not a casual drift, but a process induced from the regional Government of Catalonia and the secessionist parties, some very radical ones, who have violated the law, the Constitution, the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia itself, and the resolutions of the courts of justice, to achieve its objectives. Being illegal and serious this behaviour, it is even more disturbing because it has encouraged the confrontation between Spaniards, the rupture of the pacific coexistence, and it has created a climate of collective tension with consequences difficult to predict. On October 1st, the exacerbated, supremacist nationalism which Catalonia is suffering, gave rise to a full day of confrontations which made necessary the intervention of the law enforcement bodies of the State, to comply with the judiciary decisions, and avoiding a plainly illegal and unconstitutional action.

In many media out of Spain was shown strong criticism and outraged over the use of police force to comply with the judiciary decisions. Twitter was on fire. Two days later, the harassment to the police which is taking place in Reus, Barcelona, Lerida, to the Police Headquarters of Barcelona and other Catalan towns, has not been mentioned by those same media at all. “In many places are being harassed and insulted, are receiving threats, coercion, some have reported that even have been thrown acid,” confirmed the police unions spokesman. They are being bullied not only the Civil Guards and Police who have temporarily moved to Catalonia but also those who always lived there, who are Catalans, born in Catalonia and with family in Catalonia. Who is behind systematic and organized harassment?

Yesterday, more than fifty roads connecting the Catalan cities were closed by strikers who placed burning tires as a barrier. In some cases, before the presence of the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police). Groups of people who cut the streets at their will, carrying independence flags, shouting that the own streets, and commanding to the few business which remain open, to close in protest for the police charges of last Sunday, when this strike was called long before those events. They are surrounding the police stations, the headquarters of the constitutionalist parties. Most of the demonstrators are young, high school students and university students. But there are also middle-aged people and children. “They are turning the schools into a kind of concentration camp where they put a Star of David on the arm of our children.” This is what some non-nationalist parents say about the treatment of their children in schools, if they don’t follow the teachers’ instructions.

Finally seems like some media out of Spain begin to see things with more objectivity: “Given the low participation and the indisputable illegality, there is no justification for the declaration of independence in Catalonia.” The printed edition of the Financial Times printed this yesterday, criticizing in its editorial the action of the Catalan regional government in the secessionist crisis. On the other hand, the French newspaper Le Monde said that the referendum “is manifestly against to the 1978 Constitution and o the rule of law, and does not respect the consultation rules which are admitted in a member country of the European Union…. This serious situation has plunged Spain into a deep political crisis.” Both Le Monde and the Financial Times come to the same conclusion regarding Sunday’s consultation and its low turnout.

While the spokesman for the Catalan regional government announced to the world that the “Yes” in favour of independence got 90.09% of the votes, based on a total of poll 2,262,424 ballots, there is another perspective: 42% of the census is a figure too small to legitimize any decision. About the counting I won’t speak: The examples of polls in which voting was repeated are infinite. In the small village of Palol de Rebardit of 470 inhabitants, the “Yes” casted 1,002 votes. A minor detail which does not seem to stop the unilateral statement. The Financial Times also believes that “the results of the October 1st referendum should be taken with caution, since there are many reasons to doubt the accuracy of the percentages and the number of votes presented by the Catalan government.” The complaint filed in which were seen images of several people voting twice in different schools, or ballot boxes which came to the polling stations with ballots inside, are just some of serious irregularities.

Those who have provoked this situation, who forced to the opposition parties to leave the Catalan Parliament before the political and legal outrage which took place on September 6th and 7th, who have despised the mandates of the Constitutional Court, who have used without restraint the regional police as their political police, who have committed this unforgivable crime of breaking social peace … they are now putting their hands to their heads because on October 1st were clashes with the law enforcement forces. But to those who are looking for a culprit here and there, I remind them that we all know clearly which institutions, political parties, names and surnames who have originated the “cause of the cause.”

The Executive guidelines and strategy to avoid the referendum do not seem to have worked, and the illegal and unconstitutional behaviour of the Catalan government has been somehow covered by the manipulated report about the police intervention, oversized, if not distorted, by the media terminals of the seditious, inside and outside Spain. Instead, those responsible for this crisis are still free outside there, denouncing and threatening the State and denigrating the Spanish democracy, at no cost. And the rest of the Spaniards continue to endure this denigration daily. This must end and there is only one way: by suspending Catalonia’s self-government as long as it takes, in order to return to the legal normality of institutions.

The Catalan post-truth


It seems like Catalonia wants to separate from the rest of Spain. However, at the time of the Catholic Monarchs, Catalonia only wanted to be as close as possible to Spain. Without that union, Catalonia would not have become what it is today. The Emperor Charles V, when he first arrived in Barcelona, was very surprise by the magnitude of the applause, the Catalans saw in him the great hope, the great king. This is not reflected, of course, in the history books of the Catalan region: the point of Jean François Revel (1989) makes a lot of sense here: “The first the forces running the world is the lie.”

 Today and already for the last years, Catalonia is the most serious issue which Spain has raised Spain. Oh! The feelings! A compelling and irrefutable argument! As are world peace or climate change. It is necessary to protect the special, differentiated and exclusive feelings of the Catalans!

In Catalonia, there is a feeling like Brexit’s, or the inward turn of the US, or the growth of nationalist parties in the Netherlands, France, which want their country to leave the EU. These are part of a new context in which, given the inequalities after the last and hard economic crisis, many people believe that identity and their own nation are the best instruments to get out well in a global environment. In Catalonia, many people believe it as well, especially from the upper-middle classes, who perceive themselves as more prepared than the rest of the Spaniards. As with Brexit or with Trump, warnings about the separation’ consequences tend to be denied or ignored; all the warnings about the chaos which will arrive the day after, no longer take effect.

Meanwhile, the president of the Catalan region Carles Puigdemont, has appeared to ensure that the state “has de facto suspended self-government and has de facto applied a state of emergency.” He knows, as anyone who wants to know, that it is a lie, too. If the government had de facto suspended the Catalan self-government, the first thing done would be to get Puigdemont out of his office and indict him for sedition.

Also from the Football Club Barcelona and even some of its players, such as Gerard Piqué and the former coach Pep Guardiola, have come forward to defend “democracy.” For the Barsa’s leadership, democracy must have been the homage of the precedent directors who preceded them, to Francisco Franco in the Palace of El Pardo: Barsa’ leadership awarded twice to General Franco as a “favourite son of the club”!! But it does not matter now, because as the whole history of Catalonia, it is infested by lies and no one wants to remember it there. Some, because they are ashamed of it, and others because of what could happen to them if they told the truth.

The episodes of coercion, pressure and threats experienced in Catalonia in the last hours are inadmissible. Fortunately, no outbreak of dramatic violence has emerged, but it does not hide the hatred shown by thousands of separatist demonstrators to law enforcement, the Civil Guard, the police and the members of the administration of Justice applying executing orders with a strict legality criteria. It is evident that those separatist folks are interested in agitation, rebellion and violence as the last resort to the State’s retort against their separatist blackmail.

In Catalonia today, the safeguarding of many rights and freedoms is simply non-existent. The current regional rulers have devised an authoritarian regime based on hatred to Spain. Without law there is no order, which is exactly what separatism claims: those citizens protected in the anonymity of a multitude, acting as Catalonia is a lawless territory, in which the most cowardly constraints and the discrepant’ stigmatization, are valid. Just as it was the Basque region during the bloody stage of our history, when the terrorist band ETA murdered: the divergent was pointed out as a criminal objective. Currently, the law in Catalonia has no prestige: the idea about any democracy couldn’t be as such without the law protection, has lost the media battle: the separatists have stated that any opposition to their will, it is fascism.

As Puigdemont also knows, if the regional government had really been suspended, which some of us believe it should have been suspended long ago, his call for people to vote on October 1 would make no sense. But the reality is that the Government of Spain, headed by its president Rajoy, has had a patience far superior to that of many of us. Although his political party is right now within a context of parliamentary weakness, his cabinet has so far been able to measure its steps, controlling and cancelling out each seditious action of the Generalitat (Catalan government). Luckily for them, sedition no longer carries the yesteryear penalty!

Those Catalan separatists are convinced that they will win, but I think the overwhelming visit of the reality will crush them. From there, the Spanish government must start from scratch: withdrawing all the powers of self-government to Catalans, especially those of Education, Public Order and Media, which have constituted its seditious propaganda apparatus. And not giving them back again until loyalty to the Spanish Nation is demonstrated and proved.

Another measure should be once and for all, the prohibition of secessionist parties, as those are forbidden in the constitutional systems of another countries, such as France (Article 89), Italy (Art. 126) , Germany (Art. 21), Norway (Art.3), Switzerland (Art.53), United States (by the Supreme Court “The Constitution, in all its provisions, ensures an indestructible Union composed of indestructible States“), and many other nations like Lithuania, Estonia, Brazil, Peru … Spain and its government must apply these measures to avoid situations like these in the future.

Unpredictable or mistaken?

I’m afraid this is going to be an incendiary article. One of the kind I will receive some comments, not the nice ones, I guess. It is about my view of the recent events in the United States.

It seems to me quite evident the fact that only in few Western nations, the scourge of racism is present as it is still in the United States. Some historians emphasize that it is not only an aberrant sentiment shared by some segments of the population, but it has been a structural factor in the socio-economic formation of the country, from before even its foundation, and which today still manifests in very different forms. Obama himself, until now the only African-American president of the US, ended his term expressing his impotence over how little progress he made in reducing the inequality and racial hatred’ gap.

Today, the US is an increasingly polarized society, with the danger that it represents. Although all the laws in the country are now consecrating equality, and since the great struggles in the 1960s there have been extraordinary advances in the field of civil rights, racism and discrimination, very open wounds remain.

The US has a serious issue with the rise of the ultra-right-wing supremacist movements. And for that cause, the ambiguity with which Trump condemned what happened in Charlottesville was very unfortunate, attributing the fault “to many parts“, without aiming directly at the white supremacists. The president has equally angered Republicans and Democrats alike. And again, he demonstrates his inability to exercise the moral leadership that corresponds to his position.

After these events and after only seven months in office, the gap between the Republicans and their president is beginning to be insurmountable. Donald Trump’s rectification about the Charlottesville riots in the form of a new nod to the white supremacists, after he had first lashed out at them, has had even more impact than his equidistant sharing of blame between extreme right and extreme left about the unfortunate racist riots in the first place.

The two former presidents Bush, George H. W. and George W., stepped out of rectification with a joined statement: “America must always reject racial fanaticism, anti-Semitism and all forms of hatred.” The rejection of the senators is absolute, including Trump’s bigger supporters, who blamed him for his lack of moral leadership, “is dividing the Americans, rather than uniting them,” as denounced by Sen. Lindsey Graham. The president’s phrase “there is also good people among white supremacists” has been devastating for the Republican Party.

Trump is hurting the White House: these facts has led to the mass batch of companies which formed Trump’s Manufacturing Advisory Board, which he has been forced to dissolve it. The impact of a president’s unprecedented behaviour toward racist groups in the United States is directly threatening his own agenda. The enormous distance between the White House and Republican congressmen will make increasingly difficult for the president’s initiatives to get ahead in the legislature. The failure with ‘Obamacare’ was the first warning. Trump’s effort to be conciliatory with racist men, threatens his tax cuts and the infrastructure plan which he has just submitted.

These recent events have placed Trump in front of an awkward mirror. The idea of the post-racial America, which was fondled when the African-American Barack Obama first came to the White House, an era in which the race’ issue would move to a secondary place, has faded. President Trump has repeatedly emphasized the value of being “unpredictable,” and he has set a pattern for triggering poorly conceived comments, which make him seem deranged sometimes. He seems to believe that this kind of behaviour will persuade both the allies and the adversaries, who will do what he asks or needs to be done, for fear that this impulsive man would do something terrible. It is wrong. With these actions, he could become a failed president. Fire and fury is a boomerang which destroys everything and everyone.

North Korea: Why the escalation now?

Contrary to the traditional meekness and diplomacy with which the US presidents have faced the delicate problem of North Korea, Donald Trump has been involved in a verbal duel with the North Korean regime which is keeping the whole international community alert. Trump’s warning about he will unleash “a never seen sea of fury and fire” has exalted the North Korean leader, already a person of erratic behaviour and quite easy to excite.

On the very last July 4th, the American Independence Day, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un announced a “gift for North American bastards”: The North Korean army successfully tested an intercontinental missile capable of reaching US territory. Announced on last Tuesday by the North Korean state television (KCNA), which reported that Kim Jong-Un witnessed the launch, like he usually does. Since then, provocations and warnings from one side to another have occurred, as if it were a race to utter the last word, ever stronger and more aggressive. Trump’s strategy of maintaining maximum tension, perhaps as the way to get China out of inaction with Pyongyang, is becoming increasingly unique. In the midst of the escalating tension between the US and North Korea, President Donald Trump regained his war rhetoric and redoubled the tone of his threats against the Pyongyang regime: “They should be very, very nervous.”

As a finishing touch, the “beloved leader” as he likes to be called, of the last Stalinist regime on the planet, Kim Jong-Un, made public his intention to launch an attack on the island of Guam, an island taken from Spain in 1898 and where the US maintains a contingent of more than 3000 soldiers. The North Korean “beloved leader” did not just announce his pretensions, but presented an exhaustive military plan with all the details of the hypothetical attack. Thus, he was putting more fuel to the fire of his unprecedented verbal shock with the United States. North Korea threatened with a “sea of fire” to Washington after the harsh economic sanctions against the country approved by the UN Security Council. North Korea occasionally threatens to “turn Seoul into a Sea of Fire.”  The South Korean, US and other international media often relay this statement, amplifying its effect. But it is yet quiet normal North Korean dialectics.

But for the first time in a long time, the international markets are showing signs of concern over the escalating North Korean threat. Although the balance of tension has reached a point never seen before, many experts doubt that a military conflict will indeed be triggered. It would not benefit either party. For North Korea, a war against the US would mean to signing its disappearance as a country. For the US would be a serious deterioration of relations with its allies in Asia, mainly Japan and South Korea, who would pay very dearly in human lives. It seems that Kim Jong-Un’s regime has settled into such a crazy moving forward, as is the mood of the “beloved leader”, which prevents him from gauging how far he can stretch the rope without causing a catastrophe. Not only because of such direct threats to the US, if there were to be an attack on its territory, would an immediate war unfold which would suppose the end of the Stalinist and hereditary Kim’ regime, but which would cause many victims in neighbouring countries and allies such as South or Japan.

For years, the White House has tried to defuse the tension, pushing ways of negotiating to various side, although truly unsuccessfully, and urging China, at the same time, to exert its influence over Pyongyang. The sanctions imposed on the regime were relatively limited and Washington appeased the fears of its partners in the region, Seoul and Tokyo, reinforcing military alliances and defence systems. But the Trump Administration seems determined to go further.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests. That is really quite a lot. Some expert analysts in North Korea, such as Jeffrey Lewis of Foreign Policy, ensures that “some of my colleagues still think the United States might persuade North Korea to abandon, or at least freeze, its nuclear and missile programs. I am not so sure. I suspect we might have to settle for trying to reduce tensions so that we live long enough to figure this problem out. But there is only one way to figure out who is right: Talk to the North Koreans. There is no other alternative. The other options are basically terrible.”

My opinion is that the luck we have is these threats are not for those North Korea adversaries but for their followers, which guarantees the peace in some way. I’ve always been fascinated by the closed world of the Kim’s, since everything there seems so aberrant to me. Guys who believe that Kim Jong Il, father of Kim Jong-Un, never defecated, as his biography claims. Or that he could make eleven holes of golf in one shot, or that he published 1,500 books and the three best world operas in just three years. But the truth is that a dictatorship is not a place where the people believe a lot of stupid things, but in which you cannot say that you do not believe them. It seems like the secrecy attributed to North Korea contrasts with so many ridiculous details which the biographers give us about their leaders.

Despite the disastrous situation of North Korea’s economy, now a little better than in the 1990s when the country suffered a terrible famine, the regime extensively uses military propaganda and exploits its role as a victim to mask the misery, the continuing violations of human rights and the lack of freedoms of the population. And the North Korean authorities are aware that nuclear weapons are the only option they have for counteracting their asymmetrical relationship with their rivals.

As the concerns grow over an unprecedented possible military conflict, which aligns the main powers between the criticisms in the language of Trump, as Germany, with Chancellor Merkel to the front, and those who support him, as the United Kingdom, the former Spanish island of Guam, is situated in the worst of the situations. But for the time being, as US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said, given his less provocative mood, and based on expert analysts, “the Americans can quietly sleep.”

Critical time in Venezuela


The decomposition of the Chavismo in Venezuela is advancing in giant steps. In these last hours, the kleptocracy dictatorship which heads Nicolas Maduro adds the greatest discredit to the ridiculous one: the revelation that the recount of the votes to the Constituent Assembly was manipulated, leaves the regime in an unsustainable situation. What was intended to be the main argument to legitimize its maintenance in power has already become the indisputable demonstration that it cannot remain in charge of Venezuela for another minute. If the international community had chosen not to recognize the results of the elections because it was clearly unconstitutional what was being approved, the announcement that the scrutiny was altered, declared nothing less by the company in charge of supervising it, ruined all the plans of the tyrant to cling to power. On the contrary, it accumulates one more crime to the list of crimes for which Maduro would must answer before an international court.

The figures of the participation in the election for the Constituent Assembly of Venezuela were manipulated by at least one million votes, according to Smartmatic, the company which works in Venezuela since 2004 observing the electoral processes. “We know, without a doubt, that the participation data of the recent elections for a National Constituent Assembly was manipulated,” said Smartmatic CEO Antonio Mugica at a press conference in London. “We estimate that the difference between real and reported participation by the authorities is at least one million votes.” That same morning, Reuters had already voiced alarm over the disparity in the participation: according to internal Electoral Council data, only 3.7 million people had voted at 5:30pm in those controversial elections to the Constituent Assembly of Venezuela. According to the Maduro government, a total of 8.1 million people came to the polls.

Nicolas Maduro and his more radical followers threatened before Sunday’s Constituent Assembly to crush the opposition and eliminate parliamentary immunity. Said and done. Just a few hours after consummating their coup to the National Assembly, agents of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service (Sebin) broke into the homes of two of the main opposition leaders, Leopoldo Lopez, leader of the Popular Volition, and Antonio Ledezma, Mayor of Caracas, to revoke their house arrest, and take them back to a prison. So far it is not known where they are. Ledezma and Lopez are the most critical personalities with the Maduro regime.

As reported by the Spanish newspaper ABC, the wife of the opposition leader Antonio Ledezma said, “Nicolas Maduro no longer has more argument than the force, the crude repression against most Venezuelans, who have done everything possible, within the narrow margins left by the dictatorship, to peacefully claim their ideas.” After the rupture of the constitutional order, the dictator has no possible defence. The words of condemnation and rejection of the whole world against their attempts to subvert the legality to cling cynically to power are nothing more than the verification of what Venezuelans have been denouncing and suffering for more than a decade. The Chavism, the Bolivarian socialism, or whatever the revolutionary project which has been perpetrated there was called, was nothing more than a one-way road to totalitarianism, so that finally the country officially enters the Dictatorship which was already de facto. There are no longer any votes with which to achieve the political change that most Venezuelans still claim on the streets, with more than 120 deaths because of the protests. There is only one way out.

The utopia which has ruined one of the richest countries in the world, and which in its last moments is summed up in the pathetic scenario of a dictator who is determined to stay in power by the force, crushing the citizens and arresting the opposition leaders. The Castrochavism will be remembered as the author of an economic miracle in reverse: making the richest country in Latin America, a miserable one is not a feat every day. It has created so much poverty that every day people must fight with teeth, a bag of milk, a kilo of flour or a piece of meat. In that frantic race towards disaster, the Castrochavista government had to proceed to the gradual elimination of all freedoms, of thought and conscience, to the ruin of institutions, journalism, parties, universities, trade unions. For everything has been fulfilled after the relentless design of the inspiring elders of this system, Fidel and Raul Castro, who once again have demonstrated their audacity, their total lack of consideration and respect for the most important values ​​of the human kind, but also their absolute lack of talent.

The Venezuelan people are in the streets, ready to be killed. And they’re being killed. Youth, students, who know they have no future, are not afraid and will not allow any cowardly continuity. The businessmen lost everything a while ago. And the corrupted by the system see with terror that the system no longer has money to buy their consciences. For those accomplices with this ignominy who establish an awkward equidistance with the governments which preceded the Chavism, they only should contemplate the devastating scenario of a country whose economy has been consumed by a corrupt fever a thousand times more perverse than the one registered in the worst times of any the previous regimes. And those who insist that sanctions have no effect other than to harm citizens, it should be remembered that what protesters are asking for is not just freedom, but also food and basic consumer goods which have disappeared from the market, not because of the sanctions, but because of the catastrophic management of this narco-regime and its Cuban accomplices. The Castrochavista corrupt and murderous regime has shown that is willing to anything to stay in power which means murdering more people. The world must do everything possible to end with Maduro in power as soon as possible.