Neighborhood relations: key in holding back terrorism

 

Daesh

A good neighbor is something very important for the security of a country. Last week Mr. Abdelhak El Khayam visited Spain; he has in his hands the ultimate responsibility for the fight against terrorism in Morocco, therefore he is an official of the highest relevance for Spain and for the rest of Europe, given the recent jihadist attacks in France and Belgium. The words of the French Minister for Sports, who has expressed her concerns about the potential risk involved in the coming European Football Championship to be held in France, are giving us the indications that we are on high alert.

The military intervention in Syria has reduced the influence of Daesh in this country where the terrorists are losing control gradually of the territories which they formerly occupied. Now, it is very worrying that many of the jihadists have moved to Libya, and whether they are in Libya, are very close to Morocco, and therefore to Spain, and therefore to Europe. And that is very dangerous for our countries. We must keep in consideration that they have taken over much of the Gaddafi ‘s military arsenal, which gives an idea about the threat.

El Khayam also spoke about the risk and challenge involved in the crisis of refugees from Syria, a humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions and the displacement’ flows of thousands of people who are taking place. So far, the terrorist’ networks were using two different ways: arms’ trafficking and illegal immigration. Now, the Daesh has seen an opportunity involving to this refugees’ crisis, attempting to introduce terrorists among those people, in order to attack Europe. There is no doubt that the Syrian refugees should be treated as people escaping from war, but given the complexity of the situation also requires us to be vigilant with regards to them and to all organizations that work with them. We must keep it in mind, and it should be possible to cast these concerns without provoking harsh criticism.

Morocco should be a barrier to stop the spread of Jihadism and other kind of crime to Europe, and it seems that they are doing a good job in that regard. Of course Morocco has not always been the ideal neighbor. The relationship with the Alawite kingdom have always been kind of complex.

But there is a high risk in Ceuta and Melilla, the Spanish cities in Africa, where it has been detected some jihadist cells recruiting young fighters to send to Syria and Iraq. These cities have been stops from weapons trafficking’ networks installed in Belgium which are being using the same route already for several years. The Belgian authorities, after the Molenbeek’ attacks, have begun to change attitudes and make some change on its weapons’ legislation, as well as facilitating the exchange of information in this field, which is essential, a fact that not happened hitherto. Belgium has not been an example of good neighborhood.

We must be aware about the terrorism as a global phenomenon, it does not belong only to just a unique region, and it requires the cooperation of all the countries. When we have a neighbor with whom collaboration is null, it means that we must redouble our vigilance. We are able to defend our territory, but if there is a country with common borders which does nothing to fight against this danger, this country puts all of us at risk.

Dilma’s House of Cards

 

Dilma

There is something wrong about Brazil’ politics. There are all sorts of accusations against the politicians in Brazil: from taking bribes; or concealing from the local Tax authorities bank accounts abroad; or planning the escape of prison of a country’s convict in a private plane. The main accusation that could cost to Rousseff the Presidency of Brazil is not the Petrobras’ bribery scandal which is splashing her government. It is also not the accusation about her 2014 presidential re-election campaign received diverted money from the state oil company and also from the biggest public construction companies, as one of these construction companies’ former executive Andrade Gutierrez declared to the prosecutors.

The central accusation against Rousseff is the violation of the tax rules, making up the budget’ deficit, which in Brazil is called “fiscal pedalling” which involves the use of public banks’ money to cover  the government accountability’ programs.

This particular process has caused a rift in Brazil and it is dividing to those who believe that it would be fair to dismiss the President, from those who argue that it would be a terrible injustice or even a coup. Dilma has the unconditional support of the Bolivarian axis, which always saw this Brazilian cabinet as an economic giant and a loyal political ally to the Bolivarian revolution, not the best partners from my point of view. On the other side, Argentina and Colombia have been unwilling to make an opinion publicly although no one denies indoors about the concern and consequences of the impeachment process opened against the President of Brazil.

The news in Brazil are running with breakneck speed. Waldir Maranhao, the interim president of Congress, annulled the trial of Rousseff in the Senate on May 9th, and he reversed the decision the following day. Maranhao is also investigated for corruption. Although Dilma still resists: as the last attempt to stop her impeachment, her government presented on May 10th an appeal in the Supreme Court by “legal defects” in the legal procedure when starting the process.

The impeachment process also has been questioned because some of its promoters are involved in corruption scandals which would exceed the accusations against Rousseff. Eduardo Cunha, former Senate’ President, who is the impeachment ‘process leader against Rousseff, was suspended from office for being investigated recently by the Petrobras’ issue. Luis Almagro, OAS Secretary General, has questioned this process’ legitimacy after meeting with Rousseff in Brasilia: “a high percentage of congressman and senators who might be involved in this process, are being investigated or charged from corruption affairs.” A report of the NGO Transparency Brazil revealed that 49 of the 81 members of the Senate have been convicted or accused of crimes at some point. There is almost the same percentage in the Congress’ Chamber.

Dilma is very isolated; she has lost the support of the political parties of the cabinet’ coalition, and no longer has much of the strong support from the underprivileged Brazilians, her usual biggest sponsor. According to the polls her political support has fallen to 10%, and 61% of the population approve her impeachment. With or without Dilma Rousseff, the future ahead for Brazil in such a politicians’ hands is devastating.

 

Cortes & Pizarro: The great Conquerors

hernan-cortes--250x200

The Spanish conquerors have been really mistreated. They have been turned into a politically incorrect issue. The nations which they helped out to form, do not recognize them as their own, and in the case of Pizarro it is even more painful. Pizarro began his legend 20 years after Cortes conquered Tenochtitlan. At that particular time, Cortes was considered already a great hero by his fellow countrymen in Castile. He was so charming that even the Emperor Moctezuma had for him a kind of Stockholm´ syndrome. The hero´s image was admired by an entire generation; he was long seen abroad as the stereotype of the European hero.

Francisco Pizarro was a different kind. Born in Trujillo (Extremadura, Spain), Pizarro was the bastard son of a nobleman related to Hernan Cortes. It has been believed that both were cousins, although in reality they were uncle and nephew. Pizarro was 50 years old when he joined to Diego de Almagro to travel South America in order to search for the another great American empire of the time: The Incas. The Europeans had brought the smallpox illness in 1525, which had already killed to half of the Inca population; the arrival in Peru of Francisco Pizarro was the final push to conquer an empire tottered because of diseases, famines and the war of their two main leaders, Atahualpa and Huascar.

Cortes was charming and he went to the royal court of Charles V to tell his exploits. Pizarro did not seem to be made as the heroes are made. As a result, the world reminded him in the wrong way:  greedy, cruel and seeking for his personal interest. Because of several historical researches over the years, a new legend arose about the humble Pizarro, the unprivileged one who left aside poverty and swelled the ranks of the traditional nobility. Pizarro´s reputation was cleaned up by Hispanics’ historian W. H. Prescott, who in his “History of the Conquest of Peru” noted that Spain had neglected one of its most famous heroes, “No Spaniard has ever tried to write about the history of Peru´s conquests based on original documents.”

 After the US triggered Cuba´s war in 1898, the US joined the conquerors´ portrait as genocide for having destroyed the native cultures upon their arrival, despite of being these cultures rather bloody by the way. Neither Mexico nor Peru have ever considered Cortes or Pizarro as founding fathers of their countries. The documents discovered by the Hispanic’ historian G. Lohmann showed that the real Francisco Pizarro was not alike he is portrayed by the Black Legend at all. He was not a despicable person and he died completely broke. He claimed insistently to respect the Incas´ properties and he promoted laws to protect the Indians. He did not mean to destroy the Inca´ empire, as it can be proven when reading his letters.

In Mexico there is an anti Hispanic stream although Cortes has aroused more interest due to his own attractive personality and because he instructed to the chroniclers to extolling his exploits in the very first place. Pizarro´s deeds were also written, but no one bothered to highlight his figure. Pizarro never wanted to take away the Incas´ land. The Spanish Crown seized the temples and palaces of the Incas, scrupulously respecting the lands of the population. The New Laws of the Indies of 1542 were the first Habeas Corpus of the history with the purpose of defence the local population´ rights.

From the Latin American left-wing´ politicians, the conquerors have been portrayed as genocides, although there is no historical basis for stating such a theory. On the other hand, since some years ago the conquest of America is not studied in schools anymore for being considered ´politically incorrect´, shame of Spain! The genocide was committed by the English men. They colonized the United States with the idea that ´the best Indian is the dead Indian´ and they stole after the Indians´ land. No wonder that they created the Black Legend against Spain. We can not label Cortes & Pizarro as genocides. The point is that in certain political sectors, genocide is a word used too easily.

pizarro-estatua--510x286

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.

2360337_w2

Amancio Ortega´s 80th birthday

 

los-trabajadores-de-inditex-sorprenden-a-amancio-ortega-por-su-80-cumpleanos_gallery_a

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.

Maduro

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.

Unknown

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.