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Martín Santiváñez Vivanco, researcher of the Navarra Center for International Development, University of Navarra .

Do we need a new Ibero-American strategy?

Wed, 30 May 2012 10:38:01 +0000 Published in

Latin America is a priority for Spanish foreign policy. The region is important, not only because of the common ties that unite us, which are in themselves decisive, but also because any solution to the crisis that Spain is suffering depends, to a large extent, on the actions of Spanish companies across the seas. If the Spanish government aspires to a material resurgence, Latin America is an essential factor, indispensable in the configuration of a global strategy of economic and political reactivation.

However, this strategy aimed at maintaining an effective presence in the region does not necessarily imply betting everything on Summit diplomacy. In fact, although the Ibero-American summits play an important role (they are an effective political forum), the current situation Spain is going through forces us to redefine the road map. The Ibero-American summit in Cadiz is an important event in the framework of a historic date and Spanish diplomacy must try, through the appropriate channels, to achieve political support with the presence of various Latin American leaders. In this sense, the trip of the King and our politicians is understandable.

However, due to the fragmentation of the regional scenario characterized by highly unstable internal fronts (the crisis in Argentina is rampant, Bolivia suffers from an internal fracture that Morales has deepened, Ecuador will soon become an electoral battlefield and Venezuela survives in uncertainty), it is necessary to configure guidelines according to each country and give the summit the specific weight it deserves, not more. To pretend that only in Cadiz it is possible to relaunch Spanish foreign policy with respect to Ibero-America is a strategic error. And betting everything on that card, a political mistake that sooner or later we will regret.

The emergence of the Pacific Alliance, in spite of the political motive, will necessarily end up concentrating on the commercial-economic sphere. Piñera is not a regional leader. And Mexico, immersed in a corrosive electoral campaign, before leading a democratic-liberal crusade of Latin scope, will have to conjure the bloody return of Huitzilopochtli, in the form of excessive violence, beyond the capacity of the State.

The internal dynamics of most Latin American economies are so important that dialogue as a block, at this moment, would only entail declarations of brotherhood and superficial pacts on administrative issues. Therefore, without neglecting the global and regional view, it is necessary to return to the bilateral approach , without forgetting that Brazil has a clear South American diary and that it does not count on Spain for its power objectives.

If international paternalism should be discarded, acting in an obsequious manner, in Latin America, also happens invoice. Let us not forget so soon that populism has no word and that it juggles with legal security and let us look for reliable allies (countries, people and institutions), apart from immediate profit. Either we found the great Ibero-American space on political realism or we resign ourselves, like so many others, to the sterile reverie of those who plow in the sea.