Monday, August 2

Cuba, versus Hungary or Colombia: Casado’s difficult balances in international politics

The citizen protests against the Cuban government that took place in the streets of the Caribbean country on July 11 have become the last weapon of the Popular Party against the Spanish Executive. Practically since Pedro Sánchez arrived in Moncloa, Pablo Casado’s leadership has tried to link the progressive government with Cuba and Venezuela, accusing him of wanting to establish a “dictatorship” in Spain through a “regime change” similar to that of the ” Bolivarian system of the XXI century “. And that is also its main objective after the protests that began two weeks ago in the streets of the main Cuban cities.

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“Mr. Sánchez, repeat with me: Cuba is a dictatorship. Nothing happens to say it. It is the same as any democrat would do,” insisted the PP leader last week, despite the fact that the President of the Government and other members of the Executive they will publicly assure that “it is evident that Cuba is not a democracy.” According to Casado’s theory, who has met on several occasions with both Cuban and Venezuelan exiles, it is the ministers of United Podemos who would not let Sánchez be more forceful against Castroism, because those members of the Executive “vindicate Cuba as democratic paradise “.

The denunciation of the violation of human rights in the Caribbean island and, above all, in Venezuela, is an obsession for the leadership of the Popular Party that, however, shows its double discourse and its balances in international politics by keeping silent and refusing to censor other rights violations, such as the homophobic laws of the Hungarian Government of Víktor Orbán, a partner of the popular Spaniards, or the harsh episodes of police violence experienced in recent months in Colombia, presided over by the right-wing Iván Duque, friend of Casado himself.

On the 8th, the European Parliament demanded that the Commission not approve Hungary’s access to the post-pandemic recovery plans, of which it corresponds to around 7,000 million euros, until it is verified that the Union budget does not go to “actively contribute to the violation of fundamental rights” in that country. It was a resolution that was approved by 459 votes in favor, 147 against and 58 abstentions, in which the European Parliament also demanded “immediate” legal action from Brussels regarding the law that links homosexuality with pedophilia and prohibits talking about sexual identity in schools and the media, as it finally happened last week.

The majority of the European People’s Party voted in favor of the sanctions, but Casado’s leadership ordered its MEPs to abstain, thus avoiding censuring the homophobia of its Hungarian partner. 12 of the 13 Spanish parliamentarians in the Community Chamber followed the Genoa 13 slogan and only Esteban González Pons, vice president of the European popular group, voted in favor. The argument of the PP leadership is that these sanctions could harm the Hungarian population, although in reality the popular Spaniards have always avoided supporting any initiative against Orbán and have come to support him while the leader rubbed shoulders with the European extreme right.

The friendship between Casado, Aznar, Duque and Uribe

Faced with more than 200 parliamentary initiatives and public allusions about Venezuela, and now about Cuba, the PP has also decided to ignore the Colombian conflict after the outbreak of street violence last May due to the harsh repression exercised by the Government against the protesters protesting against his policies after a year of Duque in the Executive, and police violence that, according to different international organizations, as Amnesty International, has caused several murders there.

This silence of the popular Spaniards before what is happening in Colombia is explained by the close relationship between Casado and Iván Duque himself, as well as with the main supporter of the same, the former Colombian president and personal friend of the former Spanish president José María Aznar -padrino politician of the current president of the popular -, Álvaro Uribe. Casado has branded Duque as “a friend and ally of Spain, defender of freedom and democracy in the face of Maduro’s totalitarianism, which has caused the flight of a million Venezuelan refugees to Colombian territory.”

Married also showed his disloyalty with the State in international matters last May, in the face of the migratory crisis experienced in Ceuta. The leader of the PP blamed the Government for the massive entry of young people to the autonomous city for the opening of the borders by Morocco. And he did so, paradoxically, just a week after meeting with Moroccan parties that defend the annexation of Ceuta and Melilla behind Moncloa’s back.

The action of the head of the opposition in the face of the diplomatic crisis, trying to discredit the government’s foreign policy, was very similar to that maintained by the PP just a few months ago in Brussels, when the European Union debated there about the funds that were going to be destined to face the consequences of the pandemic, and of which 140,000 million finally corresponded to Spain. At the end of September, the ‘popular’ leader met with the ambassadors in Madrid of all the European partners to show them his distrust in the Executive to manage those millions of the recovery fund.

Offensive against Spain in Brussels

In the middle of the negotiation process of the regulation for the distribution of funds, when it was at stake what conditionalities were going to finish being demanded, Spain led the data of contagions in the EU – it was known as the second wave of COVID – and it was one Of the countries most affected by the economic collapse of the pandemic –in terms of unemployment and falling GDP–, the leader of the PP stirred up the specter of distrust towards the Government among the 27 countries of the Union. Casado then claimed an authority above the ministers to manage the funds, fueling those suspicions against the Executive, which he still maintains today.

At the same time, the head of the PP delegation in the European Parliament, the former minister Dolors Montserrat, sent a report on the letterhead of the popular Europeans together with a letter signed in her own hand to the Commissioner of Justice, the Belgian Didier Reynders, in which he questioned the rule of law in Spain and accused the Government of wanting to “cover up figures that place Spain among the countries with the highest number of deaths in relative terms.”

Casado and his team have also tried to erode Spain’s image abroad by blocking the renewal of the Judiciary, despite the fact that, in reality, it has been the PP itself that has maintained that blockade since 2018, rising from the negotiation table with the Government up to three times in recent months – the last one, in February – when they were about to close an agreement. In November, he came to assure in Congress that the reform proposed by PSOE and United We Can in Congress – which was finally withdrawn in April, due to the reluctance of the European Commission – to reduce the parliamentary majority necessary to renew the General Council of Power Judicial (CGPJ) and limiting it to an absolute majority – now three fifths are needed – was going to condition the arrival of recovery funds in Spain.

To all this strategy of international discrediting of the Government is added the obsession of the PP to link the Executive, which they brand as “socialcommunist”, with the Venezuelan regime of Nicolás Maduro, by the coalition of the PSOE with United We Can – a party to which they try to relate with Chavismo–, to undermine democratic legitimacy. During the Madrid electoral campaign, May Casado it was compared again with the Venezuelan opposition, some of whose leaders are imprisoned.

The beginning of “populism” in Spain

Taking advantage of an act together with the Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, exiled in Spain and protected for months at the Spanish embassy in Caracas – during Sánchez’s term -, Casado said that the government “talks about expropriating homes, setting rental prices with private homes, expropriating the media, expropriating companies and making a kind of five-year plan on the production model and there is talk of confiscatory taxes. In his opinion, “populism” usually begins “by corrupting unwritten norms of democracy” as, in his opinion, occurs in Spain with the attempt to “destroy the constitutional or Council of Europe majorities in the election of judges.” “Only from liberal ideas can we get out of the dark moments in which this virus, that of the pandemic, and this virus, that of populism, attacks our rule of law, our free societies,” he said.

These types of speeches have been a constant in the last two years. Casado has never skimped on disqualifications against the Executive of PSOE and United We Can, which he has called “social communist”, “populist”, “Bolivarian”, “dictatorial” and even “filoetarra”, for his alleged links with Maduro. “The objective of the PP is to defend freedom as the most precious asset that human beings have and for which they well deserve to risk their lives. That is what the brave Cuban and Venezuelan opponents have done, that is what the opposition will do in Spain, and I am sure that is what the vast majority of Spaniards will do when they have the opportunity to choose, “the popular leader proclaimed in December.

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