By Carmen Parejo Rendón
When you analyse the public communications output of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Spain, particularly those communiqués relating to the internal affairs of other countries, what grabs your attention most is that the approach, diction, forms and design which they adopt vary greatly depending on the country to which they are directed.
We can unpack the logic of these foreign policy documents by classifying them in the following groupings:
a) condescending, tautologous, disrespectful statements, when referring to sovereign countries such as Nicaragua, Venezuela, or Cuba, among others;
b) communications that only exist ephemerally and which are complacent and highly accommodating, when they apply to Colombia, Chile, or the Zionist entity of Israel, among others; in reality, communications directed to this second grouping of countries do not exist or, when they are published, are phrased in highly equivocal ways.
By way of illustration, I will address the recent communiqués that the Spanish foreign ministry has directed to Nicaragua, and which have been answered with great dignity, subtlety, and respect by the Central American country.
All the aspects that we assess can be distilled in one key point: the communiqués abound in interventionism and a logic of domination that has its origins in the Eurocentrism, as identified by the great Egyptian Marxist Samir Amin, which continues to reproduce the ideology of the colonial oppressor in neo-imperialist times and which, in the specific case of Spain, signals a failure to overcome the idea of Empire that persists in the psyche and makeup of the Spanish nation state.
These statements are the reflection of the precarious nature of European coloniality (and its neo- or post-colonial forms), in the face of sovereign, free and independent countries that have established their own path. However, what hurts Europe most is that this path, despite having to resist the economic warfare and the constant aggressions of US imperialism and its followers, including Europe itself of course, have proven to be viable and successful in every way.
Nicaragua is a clear example of this, as its development model has had a broad positive impact on Nicaraguans, specifically in areas such as health (the best hospital network in the region), education (the country in the region that invests the most in this sector), energy (the energy matrix has been dramatically improved in its reliability, coverage and ecology), housing (it has the strongest housing programs in Central America), production (it produces more than 90% of the food consumed by its population), security (it is the safest country in the world). region), equality (number four in the world in terms of gender equality), civil liberties and freedom of expression (constitutionally guaranteed and permissible almost to the point of excess; indeed, the media and the opposition can rant and rave in ways that would not be tolerated at all in Spain or other so-called liberal democracies.
Therefore, the overriding aims of the recent statements by the Spanish foreign ministry (issued August 9 and 11) seek to discredit, undermine and delegitimize Nicaraguan institutions and democratic processes. The statements are also written with a mindset, as colonial as it is condescending, that seeks to handout lessons to another country that has achieved mass, popular-democratic participation, not only in regard to its elections but also in the fabric of its civic life promoting community organizations that function as active participants in public affairs and which are granted oversight of those public affairs. Hence, the essence of the effectiveness of the public policies that Sandinismo has promoted, is embedded in a truly democratic model, inasmuch as it is the people who propose, guide and monitor good practice in relation to the management of resources and society.
Such a participative model is a long way from being realised in a country like Spain, since the system there is created and sown up in favour a so-called liberal and plutocratic democracy, the ‘Spanish anomaly’ as Santos Juliá deems it, which is the exact opposite of the Nicaraguan model whose centre is occupied by political subjects who had been excluded from decision-making for centuries.
For this reason, it is striking that in these communications from the Spanish ministry, the disrespect can be discerned and framed by the use of verbs such as “to demand”, or the deployment of phrases in which “Nicaragua is urged to provide itself with an independent electoral entity”, all because of one simple fact: that Europe, or Spain in particular, maintains a colonial proprietorship whose interests reside in expanding its capital across Latin America and anchoring its political connections, all of which are antithetical to the social progress and transformations that the Central American country has carried out in full accordance with its legal system.
The phraseology deployed by the Spanish state clearly demonstrates the arbitrary arrogance of its foreign ministry in trying to delegitimize Nicaragua’s electoral institution, by ignoring the fact that it is indeed an autonomous and independent body, democratically constituted almost forty years ago (making it one of the longest-running in the region) and that, in Spain itself, there is no similar electoral entity. It is also evidence of the very basic lack of knowledge of these specialised institutions in Nicaragua from those who are drafting the communiqués on behalf on the Spanish state and making such brainlessly contradictory statements.
These statements are full of falsehoods, omissions and misdirection, when they refer to countries like Nicaragua. Likewise, it must be said that the Central American country has always answered refuted these statements respectfully and robustly. Now, as result of this recent set of actions directed by the Spanish authorities, it seems that, in the rigorous terms of its forthright and respectful response, one of the many truths that Nicaragua has brought to light (and the Spanish state really does not like this!) is what Sophie Baby calls the myth of the model of peaceful transition to democracy from Francoism in Spain. After all, for more than forty years the Spanish State has been dining out on its spurious reputation through a false discourse built on thousands of victims who, as Nicaragua’s communiqués in reply to Spain have indicated, have yet to merit the attentions of the Spanish authorities, never mind attaining the just compensation for they have had to endure. Indeed, Spain continues to uphold a state of affairs maintained by consistent political repression and increasingly deteriorating economic and social conditions.
From a Spain like this, subjugated to the directives of large European and national capital, as well as to the interests of the United States – in most cases, even when that servility goes against Spain’s own interests – we should instead look not only with respect but also humility at the peoples who have actually managed to make themselves free.
This year is the bicentenary of several sovereign countries in the Americas, including Sandinista Nicaragua, that were established after intense struggles for independence from the former Spanish Empire. And I personally am ashamed to see how, two centuries later, the Spanish State, which still does not seem able to find its own identity and only lives on only in outdated and fictitious stories about itself, looks with hubristic arrogance at those peoples who, despite having had to overcome much more difficult historical and political circumstances, have managed to move forward with dignity.
I would like to remind the Spanish authorities that for two hundred years these peoples have been sovereign countries; they are no longer your colonies, and nor do they need to bow before you.
About the author: Carmen Parejo Rendón is a Journalist, International Analyst, and Director of La Comuna magazine. She is also a Member of the Artists, Intellectuals and Communicators Solidarity Network with Nicaragua and the FSLN.
SOURCE: Revista La Comuna, 12 Aug 2021
Translation: Aaron Kelly