Spanish Socialists' Promise for Major Foreign Policy Changes Alters Latin American Political Landscape

NotiSur - South American Political and Economic Affairs, March 26, 2004 | Go to article overview

Spanish Socialists' Promise for Major Foreign Policy Changes Alters Latin American Political Landscape


Spanish voters' decision to throw Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's Partido Popular (PP) out of power has broad implications for Spain's policy toward Latin America, with the winning Partido Socialista Obrera de Espana (PSOE) promising to renew its ties with countries across the Atlantic. In South America, those changes have become apparent most quickly in Colombia, while in other countries many politicians and analysts are foreseeing future relations with Spain quite differently than they had one month ago.

The elections, held four days after a bombing of trains in Madrid left more than 200 dead and almost 1,500 injured, brought victory to Socialist leader Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. Spanish voters resented the attempts by Aznar's right-wing government to portray the bombing as an attack by the Basque separatist group ETA, even as evidence emerged to link the attack with al Qaeda. The election hinged on that issue, since PSOE leaders had previously encouraged negotiation with Basque political groups, while Aznar had led Spain to war in Iraq hand-in-hand with US President George W. Bush, despite the opposition of the overwhelming majority of Spanish citizens. The vote, which saw a huge turnout, seemed to show that Spanish citizens believed the pro-US policies of Aznar had put them at greater risk of terrorist attack, rather than made them safer.

The ripples of Zapatero's triumph became immediately palpable, with the prime minister-elect calling the occupation of Iraq "a disaster" and promising to withdraw Spain's 1,300 troops from Iraq by summer if the UN did not take political control of the occupation. This led Honduras to say it would also remove its more than 300 troops along a similar timeline (see NotiCen, 2004-03-18) and emboldened the head of Poland to say that he had been "misled" by Bush. The Polish president, Aleksander Kwasniewski, said he felt "uncomfortable because we were misled by the information on weapons of mass destruction." He did not say he would withdraw his country's 2,400 troops, the third-largest force in the region after the US and Britain, from Iraq on the same timeline Zapatero was planning, though he said his troops could leave earlier than planned.

Bush's appearance with Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, designed to show that his base of international allies was not crumbling, left many reporters unconvinced as they later grilled White House spokesman Scott McClellan about Balkenende's not-so-resounding endorsement of the occupation. When reporters asked Bush and Balkenende whether Dutch troops would remain in Iraq, neither gave a firm answer.

Uribe loses European ally

Colombia is also scrambling to maintain support for its war policies with the fall of Aznar and the PP. Aznar was Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's most vocal supporter of his hard-line military policy in the civil war there. While many European parliamentarians and human rights groups have pressured Uribe on his draconian security policies, Aznar backed him as a fighter against terrorism. The condemnation from European Union (EU) leaders was so strong that many characterized Uribe's February visit to the EU as a "failure" (see NotiSur, 2004-02-13).

Uribe had at least one firm European ally in Aznar, who helped defend him from the increasing criticisms from the rest of the EU. Colombia expects to continue "anti-terrorist" operations with the cooperation of the new Spanish administration, though Zapatero said he intends to review agreements between the two countries.

The incoming Spanish government will review the contents of the Protocol of Cooperation between the Ministries of Defense of Spain and Colombia. The document, signed by Aznar and Uribe last month, allows Colombia to buy 20 howitzers, 40 tanks, and artillery pieces from Spain. The PSOE said it would honor the commitments the Spanish government had made and said it was pleased with the "donation to Colombia of two medically equipped airplanes, which will allow the evacuation of wounded from remote zones of their territory.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Spanish Socialists' Promise for Major Foreign Policy Changes Alters Latin American Political Landscape
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.