Category Archives: Uncategorized

Final of the Champions League

I must admit that I am ´madridista´, and today I feel very happy about because yesterday Real Madrid qualified for the 14th time to play the final of this famous tournament that Real Madrid has been the winner for 10 times. Real Madrid supporters suffered yesterday almost about to the heart attack. Football has nowadays such a social relevance that we could go from the glory to the hell in just a moment, like last night.

Atletico de Madrid qualified as well on last Tuesday, which makes very good news for Madrid and Spanish´ football. Madrid´ football dominates Europe.  The match that both teams played in Lisbon two years ago will re-issued and it will face two totally different football ‘notions. Every Atletico´s supporter see this as an opportunity to beat once and for all to the old rival. Atletico Madrid is the favorite for most of the sports press. The same people who praise Simeone now, the “Cholismo”, were the ones who ended the stay of Mourinho at Real Madrid with their strong criticism for his football ‘style, which is very similar to the Cholo´s, tough, defensive, going to the limit sometimes. The same style that Simeone had as a player. But for them the Cholo is miraculous.  Atletico de Madrid has become the politically correct people´s team.

Zinedine Zidane, the Real Madrid´s coach, was an elegant, brilliant football player, one of the best in the world, and took over Real Madrid 4 months ago. Yesterday he had his doubts about the qualification but whatever would had happened he is proud to coach Real Madrid. After the match he left the whole credit to his players. He says that he is very grateful to the Club for letting him coach it. He does not like the spotlight, he is modest and humble, similar personality than Del Bosque or Ancelotti. The Real Madrid´ players have a crush on him, because he is humble and listen to them.

Real Madrid is the team favored by Dictator Franco for the opinion of some sports media. When Madrid won several of its Champion Leagues, it was the same period when all Europe turned their backs to Spain, when Spain did not belong to the “civilized” Europe. According to this press Real Madrid won these championships thanks to Franco, which detract them all the credit and the excellence. It is quite contradictory and pathetic. Even about these things is Spain very politicized.

Atletico de Madrid´s supporters are the best. On the other hand, the Real Madrid´s are often too demanding. That’s not good for a team that needs their support which sometimes it is not granted. On Tuesday evening I congratulated my Atletico de Madrid´s family for qualifying back to the final like in 2014. Yesterday no one of those congratulated me. That makes the difference.

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Amancio Ortega´s 80th birthday

 

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Last week was the 80th birthday of the President and founder of Inditex, Mr. Amancio Ortega. His birthday surprised him working, as he has been doing daily since the 50s when he opened a small store and atelier and where work gowns were sold. The employees of Inditex worldwide threw him a surprise celebration where Mr. Ortega became really emotional, so much that it became a Trending Topic. Inditex´s employees are themselves company´s shareholders, and his founder shares the success with them all. Inditex has even become a case study in the best worldwide Business Schools such as Harvard, Yale and MIT.

With the Inditex group and its different fashion brands like Zara, Left, Zara Home, Massimo Dutti, Uterqüe, etc., the fashion has reached to all the budgets. The company has created thousands of jobs worldwide and he is recognized for his great generosity with all the € millions donated each year to foundations such as Caritas (€ 40 million last year) or the Spanish Food Bank Foundation.

Since the 80th birthday of Zara´s founder, from the stalest and extreme left of the populist party Podemos, have rushed to launch attacks on Amancio Ortega´s wealth, that came alone as a result of his hard work along the years.

If a result of bad luck Inditex disappeared tomorrow, it would be a catastrophe in jobs, in taxes which would no longer were raised, in donations to organizations in need. While this gentleman created hundreds of thousands of jobs, creates wealth, he has not even been charged with tax fraud, and his name never appeared on tax paradises, such as the recent infamous Panama Papers. Nobody would want that to happen.

If ´Podemos´ of Mr. Pablo Iglesias disappeared tomorrow, whose members are dedicated to criticize and cast aspersion against Mr. Ortega while collecting € millions from Maduro´s Venezuela, a great interference issue by the way; who created companies to avoid paying taxes, and who are seeking to live the exchequer, if that happened, it would be totally irrelevant.

The Pope Franciscus writes a letter to Maduro

The Pope Franciscus wrote a personal letter to Nicolas Maduro, President of Venezuela, with reference to the serious situation of the country. The letter´s full content has not transcended, but it has been confirmed to the Vatican´s accredited journalists by spokesman Father Federico Lombardi.

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Because in Venezuela the situation is worsening for days. On April 20th the Cabinet has ordered a new electricity´ rationing plan for the entire country, including the capital Caracas, in order to address the energy crisis in Venezuela. Such measures announced that from now on, all the Public sector employees will not work on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays as an energy-saving measure, because of the drought afflicting the country. This situation has also led the Cabinet to hold scheduled electricity cuts, especially inside the country side and in the shopping centers.

A result of these measures, according to the statements of many citizens through the social networks, for the last few days have taken place in cities of the Venezuelan interior several intermittent protests as rejection of the electricity rationing and the other measures taken to mitigate the energy crisis. Caracas, soothes of the Cabinet and all the Public Institutions in the country, has been less affected than the interior, but the crisis is also arriving to the capital. Both the government of Hugo Chavez as Nicolas Maduro have always taken great care to keep the capital free from all these restrictions. In this regard, in the social network Twitter were comments such as “finally the caraqueños will get what we are suffering on the interior of the country.”

The streets do not seem to get used to the chaos. The police are regulating the traffic as the traffic lights are off, and the houses´ refrigerators are full of ice packs in order to keep not spoil the food, the same food which costs the Venezuelans to queue for hours to get them.

The Government warns constantly on the possibility of a social explosion “If the right-wing (the opposition) wins …”, but the fact is that the social explosion seems to have already started, since looting, barricades and protests were reported in seven provinces.

All these events are happening in a country which is one of the world´s leading oil producers …. Was it the paradise promised by the Bolivarian revolution?

 

Spain without Cabinet (II)

Two days ago, the King of Spain Felipe VI ended the briefest ever parliamentary term of our recent Democracy. The Monarch closed these last four months of negotiations, agreements and disagreements; break covenants and debates; the endless meetings and press conferences. The King´s House reported through an official statement that “there is not a candidate who has the support enough to form a cabinet.” This fact is a historical and unprecedented failure of the political parties in the nearly 50 years of democracy. Also the beginning of a new electoral circus which many describe as the ´second round´: the coming elections on June 26th.

These former negotiations to reach an agreement confirmed the fact that politics in Spain has become a play-acting. The inability to reach agreements was visualized in a very expressive way and specially within the left. Our politicians who all boast about they have read “Don Quixote de la Mancha” the universally known novel of Miguel de Cervantes, they have proven false, they have not read it. “Don Quixote” is about true dialogue, friendship, real acceptance of others. Miguel de Cervantes was the son of convert Jewish in a Spain in which the importance of bloodline was the key to thrive; he knew the importance of each other´s acceptance as a key for peace and coexistence.

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The talk of peace and dialogue in Spain has been cynical lately: Zapatero, former Prime Minister, inserted it in our political life. There is only a fake willingness to dialogue, which has led to our recent political failure and the start of an immediate new election campaign full of stories and accusations. PP blames PSOE, and PSOE like Ciudadanos, to Podemos and PP.

Just the King raised the general applause for his neutrality and professionalism in the performance of his duties: A perfectly achieved arbitration function, far away from the militant mediation or sponsorship agreements… Felipe VI made only two recommendations to the concurrent political groups: the call to an austere and positive campaign, which would prevent to the citizens from more battered government accounts’ spending on and even more political confrontation.

For the sake of the country’s future, a great coalition between the two main parties PP and PSOE, as the German style “Grosse Koalition” would be the more reasonable. Will our political leaders able to pull it off?

 

Populism & Pacifism

Pablo Iglesias (Podemos)

The leader of Podemos party Pablo Iglesias and the spokesman for Izquierda Unida-IU in the Second Chamber of Spain, have invited the former member of the terrorist organization ETA Arnaldo Otegi, author of several bombings and assassinations, who is just out of the jail, to give a speech in the European Parliament as if he were a hero, with great indignation of many MEPs.

It is very suspicious that someone who defends a terrorist as “man of peace” and calls him “political prisoner“, who has never criticize any violence whenever it comes from the left side, of course, he wants to be perceived in the European institutions as a ‘pacifist’.

Arnaldo Otegi has never condemned the criminal activity of ETA, he never had any gesture towards the victims, furthermore, he keeps offending them by his statements justifying their criminal activities.  Just out of prison, he is postulating to lead the candidacy of Independentist party Bildu in the Basque regional elections, without giving up any of their old strategic objectives: seems like he changed the manners, but never the means.

Pablo Iglesias quoted, “I am glad that Otegui is out of jail, because it must be said that without people like Otegui would be no peace“. Also he said “ETA’s terrorism had real political reasons”. At the same time, he has never been able to condemn after the incarceration of political prisoners by the government of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela. Furthermore, he calls them ” imperialism’s agents” following the official slogans, these imprisoned whose only crime was to be opponents of the regime, people like Leopoldo Lopez, Antonio Ledezma or Manuel Rosales. According to Venezuela Awareness organisation, based in Miami, there are currently 99 political dissidents imprisoned in Venezuela. Iglesias has also not made a single criticism of the Chavista government for harboring ETA’s criminals hidden in Venezuela under the government’s umbrella, where some of them have even served on important political positions.

Podemos and IU are trying to clean up white Otegui, ETA and its criminal history. It is good that the European Parliament MPs are aware to whom they will receive. Also the European’s public opinion.

 

The Castro´s Dynasty

Tuesday April 19th was the last day of the Cuban Communist party´s 7th Congress. Once again the ruling group continues as usual, without any political change at all. Whether there is a redefinition of the economic model which has been called ¨Neocastrismo’, that is some small and limited economic openings to attract foreign capital to the island.  While their international friends keep applauding Raul Castro´s anti-imperialist speech, the Cuban people living in penury, nearly all of them, are determined to make changes or make a living, either getting a visa or a rubber raft to jump into the sea.

Announcements for renovation were left for the next dateless session. This time they were busy with Barack Obama, who visited the island recently after more than 50 years without diplomatic relations, whose speech in the island has been stated as “a frontal attack to our political conception, our history, our culture and our symbols.” The rest of the meeting was as it has been for the last 50 years, a series of secrecy, lack of solutions and revolutionary enthusiasm that nobody does not believe any longer, not even those at the assembly. Although they did treat the succession to the highest office in the country: In order to consolidate the Neocastrismo, Colonel Alejandro Castro Espin, Head of Intelligence & Coordination between the Ministry of Interior and the Military Department, would succeed to Raul Castro. If this decision is finally make, it would consolidate a new communist dynasty at the North Korea’s style, and it would continue the squeezing of a nation which keeps impoverishing everyday.

At the same time that this Congress was taken place, elsewhere in the city the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White) were beating up by the political police. These women whose peaceful and dignified calling for the freedom of their husbands, who were imprisoned for their political ideas, are fighting the regime from within.

 

Spain without Cabinet

The latest Parliamentary elections in Spain took place on December 20th, 2015. The Popular Party PP, won the elections although it       didn´t get the required majority to govern alone. Considering these devilish results, some powerful and influential people began to design the fate of the future cabinet, and their main wish was the Socialist Party PSOE cabinet, headed by its leader Pedro Sanchez and accompanied by Albert Rivera, leader of the Party Ciudadanos, one of new parties in this election. This maneuvering required also the abstention of the PP´s, in order to cast the amount of votes required in the second ballot by ‘simple majority’, in the Parliament. “Do not prevent that another one rules,” said Felipe Gonzalez, involved in the plot, together with main heads of the Stock Exchange, El País newspaper, and PSOE.

From that moment on, Rajoy (Prime Minister – PP) started to received phone calls and a lot of pressure from this powerful and influential people of the economy and finance environment, and Rajoy understood that it was an ambush. He declared its ‘ impregnable independence’ at the same time than he warned that he would not give to Pedro Sanchez abstention and the free way to the Moncloa (Prime Minister Residence), for one simple reason: Rajoy had won the elections in the first place.

At that very moment, the pressure to Pablo Iglesias (leader of Podemos) started. Iglesias who is the king of the slyness art, during his speech before the voting, showed his total refusal against the PSOE and Ciudadanos´s covenant, collapsing the second phase of the conspiracy.

At the same time during all these months, Rajoy has tried to form a government with the PSOE, in the same style of the Dutch or German´s Große Koalition offering negotiations with the PSOE´s leader, who has always been very offensive in his negative answers, and who has even come to say, “Which part of ‘no’ is what you haven´t understood, Mr. Rajoy?”. And so Spain is without cabinet, heading to new elections that will surely take place in late June.

Spain is a member of the EU, but sometimes seems to me that Europe have not come to Spain yet.

 

 

Catalonia

This week in one of the regional television of Catalonia (TV3), a famous Presenter burned live a copy of the Spanish Constitution. Faced with this crime and scandal, the author has justified referring to  the hackneyed “freedom of expression”; then after, from the TV Station have attributed it to the political sarcasm in the media of the perpetrator, and finally, seeing that the matter was getting difficult in the rest of the media and even to the possible legal consequences that may arise from the fact, the female Presenter has stated that it was not really a copy of the 1978 Constitution, but any other different book, and as a matter of fact, the burning was simulated.

During the past 30 years the people living in Catalonia have been indoctrinated through their public TV and radio against Spain and the rest of the Spaniards, using constantly messages such as “Spain steals from Catalonia“, or ” Catalonia is not Spain“, and many other similar messages. The children in Public Schools have been indoctrinated as well, reaching the situation where those children whose parents wanted them to be educated in the Spanish language, are constantly bullied by their teachers and the other children. As a consequence, these children change to private schools. This is not an isolated case, similar cases often come out in the press.

Catalonia has never been a nation itself. In the 12th century the different Catalan Counties became part of the Crown of Aragon, and later, in the 15th century, because of the frequent marriage´s policies at the time, the Crowns of Aragon and Castile were integrated. As a result, Spain was born as a state almost in identical shape as it is right now, being Spain one of the first European nation-state.

The issue of Catalan ´s separatism is today one of the main issues which are affecting Spain. It has definitely to be fixed, in one way or another. But in my opinion, whether after more than 30 years of severe indoctrination against Spain, the Spanish language, the rest of the Spaniards…, the separatists have not yet achieved a majority for the independence, I do not think that will ever happen.

 

Keiko or the second chance

Keiko Fujimori won the election in Peru with almost 40% of the voting. Still she has to go to a second run off (balotage) against the second candidate who has obtained the most votes after her, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski.

Keiko is the daughter of the former President Alberto Fujimori (1990-2000), whose figure is still very controversial in Peru. He is currently serving a prison’s sentence of 25 years for crimes against humanity and corruption. Furthermore, the NGO Transparency International estimated about 600 MM dollars were illegally obtained by Fujimori during his 10 years in government, and Peru was placed the 7th in the ranking of the world’s political corruption. Some Peruvians recognize him the measures to end with Sendero Luminoso and the MRTA’ terrorism, which destroyed the country and its economy during those years. As a result, the Peruvian economy grew by 13% and the foreign investment was encouraged.

Keiko is not her father. She is both loved and hated in equal proportion in Peru. Last week, more than 50,000 citizens demonstrated in Lima to remembering the widespread corruption and the human rights violations of President Fujimori, her political mentor. But she is very popular in the “deep Peru” where people are still grateful to him because of the roads and schools built during his period. At least Keiko did not flee out of the country and she faced investigations when his father resigned by fax from Japan, from where he is also a national.

Today Keiko ‘s program claims “the good Fujimorismo” in the economics, combined with a tough populist policy against crime. Is it true the old saying “Some nations have the government that they deserve”?

 

Poor Panama

Jürgen Mossack and Ramon Fonseca are the owners of the Panamanian Law Firm Mossack & Fonseca.  This Firm is being almost a for a week monopolizing the headline news of the world after the publication of the so-called ‘Panama Papers “. This research is having such a global impact that even the Iceland’ Prime minister has resigned this past week.  Many investigations in governments and parliaments in Europe have been announced, as well as in other countries in the world, like Argentina or Chile.

But which is the relevance of these papers? perhaps the famous names of those persons appearing in these papers? perhaps the existence of Tax paradises? Or the 8 billion $ estimated in these Tax paradises? Indeed, this is a very significant amount, it is about the 8% of the global wealth.

In my opinion this scandal is being a great exercise in hypocrisy. We have known for a long time of the existence of these tax paradises; some neighbouring countries such as Luxembourg or Switzerland have left to be it since a short time ago….  Furthermore, in Europe there are the Jersey Islands, or Gibraltar, in this very last colonial enclave in Europe are registered more than 80,000 companies Off-Shore, more than 3 times the population of the rock!

Any good tax advice office in Europe should have tax experts indicating to their clients the legal means to avoid paying taxes, including the off-shore companies in tax paradises. This is nothing new. I do not understand why something that is being known since so long ago became a scandal right now. This is doing a great harm to Panama as a country when it has nothing to do with its government. I think this is a big hypocrisy, and just a way to sell more newspapers. Nothing more.