Former Spanish President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero defended Latin American integration in Mexico on Wednesday as a solution that allows “autonomy and strength” in the face of the “world financial system in which the United States rules.” Lavished in recent years in diplomacy work in Latin America, the former socialist president (between 2004 and 2011) concentrated his speech as a guest at the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) on extolling the democratic values of “dialogue, trust and reconciliation ”, accompanied by the historic leader of the Mexican left, Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas.
Zapatero started his speech at the table entitled In defense of an egalitarian democracy in the face of authoritarian alternatives, moderated by the journalist Carmen Aristegui, thanking President Lázaro Cárdenas, father of her table companion, for the reception in the 1940s of the republican exile caused by the Franco dictatorship: “those Spaniards who merged into Mexico”. Doing a historical review, he concluded that “History is a history of violence” and that “no nation can give lessons to another.”
In his defense of regional integration, the former Spanish president cited the case of the European Union as an example: “A great social and economic stabilizing vector as demonstrated during the last two financial and health crises.” Cárdenas, founder of the PRD in the eighties and head of government in the Mexican capital in the nineties, “seconded Zapatero’s proposal, considering that” in a world that is constituted in blocks, it would be the opportunity to speak to you with the United States or China to improve democracy and freedoms ”. Cárdenas recalled that since the creation of the Pan American Union at the end of the 19th century, “the United States has always impeded progress in the political and economic unification of Latin America.” For Zapatero, the project is “a utopia as powerful as those that culminated in Independence.”
Wrapped in a spirit of harmony, the former socialist president recalled that Europe has lived mired in conflict from the Roman Empire until the Second World War, to now pass “60 years of very intense peace: military coups, violence, terrorism, etc. ”. Therefore, he argued that it is more important than ever to “defend non-violence in the face of new authoritarian risks.” In this line he defended the Millennium Goals, the UN development program. It is, he said, “the embryo a world constitution.”
“Why does democracy have problems?” Asked the moderator. The answer had two bifurcations: First, “because society has become more demanding, more critical”; the second because “advances always provoke reactions.” Zapatero considers that in recent times there has been an “acceleration of democratic rights”. As a consequence, “the extreme right has feminism as a great element of counterattack”, evidencing the “reaction of those who do not want to lose patriarchal power”. The recipe would be “more political, which means dialogue, recognition of the other, reconciliation in the face of contempt, solidarity.”
In recent years, Zapatero has lavished on the tasks of diplomacy and international mediation, especially in Latin America. He has been a particularly visible figure in the negotiations between the Chavista government and the opposition in Venezuela. Asked about it, he stressed that it is an example of the importance of “restoring basic consensus.” Zapatero defined the Venezuelan situation as “a political conflict over two visions of the country that has been going on for more than 20 years.”
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