Pedro Sánchez puts another stone on the path to the imminent pardons for the prisoners of the you process. From Buenos Aires, where he is on an official trip, Sánchez welcomed Oriol Junqueras’ gesture on Monday, with his resignation from the unilateral path – “any step in favor of detente is welcome,” said the president, but Above all, he has prepared the ground for granting the measure of grace. “I understand that there may be citizens who have concerns about this decision [los indultos] that the Government can take thinking about what happened in 2017. I understand that they may feel reluctance to give these pardons. But I ask you to have confidence, “he said. “We have to bet on fixing the mistakes of 2017, and that implies magnanimity. Thanks to this we will allow Catalan society to meet again. The events of 2017 I have inherited. Despite the objections, I ask for understanding and magnanimity because the goal is worth it, ”Sánchez declared.
The president tries to facilitate the negotiation with ERC as much as possible and has not even ruled out that Oriol Junqueras is at the dialogue table, although he has pointed out, as the Government had already pointed out, that it would not be logical for him to be there because it is a table between Executives. “The political message is the will to open a new period in Catalonia, based on negotiation and dialogue. I do not like to veto anyone, we are all aware that we are talking about a table between governments, but we did not start well if I now say this has to be there or not. The important thing is to take steps towards relaxation in coexistence and to overcome a very relevant crisis for Spanish society ”, the Spanish president insisted. In addition, Sánchez has cleared the possibility of an imminent change of government: “Regarding the supposed remodeling of the Government, I will tell you that I am focused on vaccination, there are 70 days left to achieve group immunity. The rest is not a priority ”.
With the internal situation of the country in full swing, Pedro Sánchez multiplies his trips to reinforce the international role of Spain. This week focuses on Latin America, with a three-day trip to Argentina and Costa Rica designed with two different objectives. Sánchez is already in Buenos Aires, a city that in the middle of the southern autumn is immersed in a very hard wave of the covid that has it completely confined during the weekends and partially the rest of the days. The president has traveled to the Argentine capital with a group of businessmen, among them the boss of the employer’s association, Antonio Garamendi, but above all he has a political objective: to support a strategic and ideological ally such as Alberto Fernández, a moderate Peronist who in La Moncloa associate a social democrat – although Argentine political categories are always unclassifiable by European standards – and who has important ties with Spain and with Sánchez, at a time of maximum difficulty.
The trip to Argentina has surprised the country’s political and economic circles, because no one at this time visits a city banned from tourists and in a devastating economic crisis due to the coronavirus. Sánchez has always supported Fernández, Spain has important business interests in Argentina, and the Spanish president tries to position himself as the great ally in Europe of a country that needs all possible political support for a complex renegotiation of the debt with the IMF of 45,000 millions of dollars. “Spain has always been on our side, we appreciate it very much, Pedro,” Fernández assured in the joint appearance. “Spain is committed to Argentina, a country of which we feel like brothers. We are going to strengthen Spanish investment in Argentina. May this presence serve to show support for difficult but essential measures that the Argentine government is taking, ”Sánchez concluded in reference to the restrictions.
Both also agree in their vision on the need to share vaccines among all countries. “We see with great concern that 90% of the vaccines produced are in the hands of 10% of the countries. We need vaccines to be a global asset, for technology to be shared, ”said Fernández. “We are going to donate more than 20 million vaccines in 2021. We also have to transfer knowledge and technology,” Sánchez insisted.
Argentina, which suffered one of the strictest and longest confinements on the planet in 2020, has been losing control of the pandemic and now has already surpassed Spain in deaths, with more than 80,000, despite the fact that vaccination advances in almost everything the country. The trip will have, in addition to the economic and political part, with a meeting between Sánchez and Fernández at the Casa Rosada and a business summit, a symbolic part with the visit of the Spanish president to the Escuela Mecánica de la Armada (ESMA). This torture center of the Argentine dictatorship – which lasted between 1976 and 1983 – became under the Kirchners’ mandate – Cristina Fernández is now vice-president of Fernández, who was Néstor Kirchner’s chief of staff – into a recognized place of memory. internationally.
Sánchez and his team look at the ESMA as a model of what could be done with the Valley of the Fallen: how to turn a benchmark of the dictatorship into a place of memory for subsequent generations that remembers the repression. Sánchez will also pay tribute to the Spanish disappeared from the Argentine dictatorship. Argentina is the country with the most Spanish citizens abroad in the world, some 400,000.
Interest in Central America
The president will then travel to San José, Costa Rica, a country that, with this stay, he will have already visited twice in his mandate, something very unusual. Sánchez is very interested in Central America, according to executive sources, especially due to the migration crisis, since the economic situation of many countries in this area is pushing a large number of citizens to try to emigrate to the United States or Europe, and the door to main entrance is Spain.
Sánchez will take advantage of the trip to reinforce the role of Spain in the continent where it has more influence, which it has lost in recent years in favor of other actors such as the United States or China. Spanish companies, however, continue to have a huge presence and the main banks, telephone companies, energy or security companies in these countries are the large Spanish multinationals, which are now suffering from the generalized crisis in which the covid has engulfed the continent. Sánchez tries to regain that role and in fact this is his third Latin American tour since he is president.
This Thursday, Spain has organized a summit with the Central American Integration System (SICA), which celebrates its 30th anniversary. The presidents of Costa Rica, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Panama and Belize will attend, but the absence of Nicaragua and El Salvador is almost certain. In addition to economic issues, at the summit or at least informally the issue of the migration crisis will be discussed, which especially affects this area of Central America, one of the most impoverished on the continent. Spain is ready to offer help to try to control the migratory phenomenon. Sánchez also announced at the Ibero-American summit in Andorra that Spain will send 7.5 million vaccines to Latin America, a small figure for a region with 650 million inhabitants, but important for a country like Argentina with 47 million and that is also a gesture for show the political interest in being a reference in the area of natural influence. In addition, throughout the year 2021 Spain will donate through the COVAX mechanism a total of 22.5 million vaccines that will go mainly to Latin America.
Sánchez will return to Spain just for a very intense weekend, in which he will find the debate on pardons in full swing. Above all, he will follow with maximum interest the result of the Andalusian PSOE primaries on Sunday, where it is clarified if his great internal rival in 2017, Susana Díaz, is definitively defeated. If Juan Espadas wins, Sánchez will have completed control of the game, but what worries La Moncloa the most is the weakness of the Andalusian PSOE at this time as a matter of substance. The Socialists need to regain ground in Andalusia, their historic barn of votes, and Sánchez will focus on that as soon as the internal battle is resolved. In addition, Sunday’s demonstration against pardons will also follow, a kind of reissue of the 2019 Columbus photo.
The Government is making a great educational effort to prepare citizens for the decision to grant pardons, and in this context it has achieved a gesture of self-criticism from Oriol Junqueras, with his letter released this Monday, which they believe is very relevant. Despite this, the Executive is aware of the wear and tear that the decision entails, but they trust that over time its political usefulness will be seen to find a way out of the Catalan conflict and leave behind the tear of the you process.