A VERY DANGEROUS MAN IS COMING TO LIBYA HIS NAME BERNARDINO LEON
Bernardino León: “The EU wants to militarily support the Syrian rebels, but the weapons turn against us”
Posted: 02/05/2013 21:20 BST Updated: 02/05/2013 21:20 BST
The thousands of secret documents leaked by Wikileaks US repaired no praise when describing Bernardino León (Málaga, 1964). USA dubbed him “golden boy” of the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and ventured that his career would take “far beyond where it is now.” Then he was the principal adviser to the president on foreign policy and today’s special representative of the European Union for the Southern Mediterranean and
Arab Spring that just will not bloom.
Two and half years later, Egypt lives on the edge, with a battered economy, high debt, low and tourism to survive an outstanding loan from the International Monetary Fund hours. The country, as in Tunisia, Islamism and grow governs the voices calling for restricting the rights of women or freedom of the press. Syria remains a tinderbox and other regimes resolve the dissatisfaction with the necessary concessions to perpetuate power.
Leon, waiting to be renovated in office in June, facing the situation calmly. The special representative, who runs marathons, believe in almost everything, even in the Arab Spring, perseverance is the key to success.
They’ve spent two and a half the outbreak of the Arab Spring years. Can you say who has spent a great feast to a tough hangover?
As Europeans, we are required to analyze it from a historical perspective. We know that transitions last long and in some European countries have not yet been completed. Pretender finding results very quickly and, above all, link their lack of real will to democracy is a huge mistake. I think the process continues to meet its logical steps. The Islamists are not building dictatorships and excluding others.
The Arab Spring – follows an Islamist winter?
They just finished the transition phases linked to the previous regimes and now we live in a completely logical process when you consider that this revolution did groups with a vision of politics and very different society. Now the Islamists have won in Tunisia and Egypt. There is polarization and instability is normal but in the end, what matters is an agreement between Islamists and liberals. In Tunisia, after a very difficult time after the Chokri Belaid murder was a moment of great tension. However, it has formed a coalition government. They have even gone more games than the previous.
That is, that the rise of Islam is not a risk but an unavoidable stage.
We are accustomed to see Islam as a threat, but not per se to be a hazard. We tend to confuse Islam with fundamentalism and jihadism. But governs Islam in Turkey and the country has proven to be the most pro-European reformers of the past decades.
They’re different countries makings. In the case of Turkey has always outweighed the influence and legacy of Atatürk, the father of the country and its secularism.
Ataturk and Habib Bourguiba [president of Tunisia between 1957 and 1977] have many similarities. The role of women in Tunisia is unmatched in other Mediterranean countries. In short, we know that Islam is not the problem. There are different types of Islam by country.
They will make mistakes. We are seeing and is common in such countries.
‘In Egypt there are fewer than Hosni Mubarak parliamentary and there are voices that criticize that there are pressures to restrict certain rights that existed before. Against Mubarak life was better?
No. The leaders of Islamist movements in Tunisia and Egypt have insisted that there will be no turning back. The gains for women are collective achievements and country. We’ve heard of Rachid Ghannouchi, the Tunisian Islamist leader. It is true that in the Egypt of Mubarak timid changes occurred. His wife, Suzanne Mubarak led a campaign against female genital mutilation.
Precisely Salafist groups now claim mutilation.
Salafism is a difficult qualifying as a political movement and the distances between them and the Islamists are enormous. Even within Salafism we are seeing big changes. Just before the revolution leaders were very rough, with very basic speeches, and in recent months have come a long way. When they commented to the IMF loan to Egypt I was told that “the Koran says that necessity makes the unacceptable acceptable.”
Right. They begin to understand that politics is the art of the possible and you can not work on the basis of unrealistic principles. Islamist governments know they have to make virtue of necessity. Your credibility depends on foreign affairs as progress in women’s rights.
CAN THE ECONOMIC CRISIS TRANSITION TO THWARTING DEMOCRACY?
‘The Arab Spring was born not only as a requirement of democracy, but to improve the standard of living. Does the economic instability threatens political transitions?
Revolutions settled around dignity not only understood from the political arena. Egypt is now living a very difficult time, with most of the population in poverty, in unacceptable conditions, work without any protection. Investment has fallen and tourism. The situation has solutions that work for us immediately. The IMF is negotiating an agreement but not yet closed.
-What will happen it not?
Failure to reach an agreement with the IMF soon, which it will be an important opportunity for Europe and USA strengthen their investment in the country condition, the situation will be very difficult. In Egypt no reserves left. It is resisting because it has had a emergency loan of 3,000 million Qatar and Libya 2,000 million. The budget deficit will exceed 12,000 million and debt to energy companies is 9,000 million. Or we find a solution in a few weeks or there is a real risk that the economic problems to affect the political transition.
- Political and economic instability slows the spread of revolution to other countries, such as the Gulf monarchies? Stated another way, the experience of Tunisia and Egypt slows monarchies concessions to their citizens and avoid demands of society?
They are two different phenomena. Not the fear of instability which slows societies that have a thirst for freedom. We know that in Libya and Syria people took to the streets against regimes that had no scruples and commit savage acts. It is not that fear that stops them. But I do not think we can talk of contagion to countries in the Gulf. Except in the case of Yemen, who is a tribal society, the only country where there has been conflict in Bahrain, for problem which came back.
That is, the Arab Spring has consolidated only where there has already been riots, no more travel.
Has a long journey. Egypt has a key that can open or close a door. Tunisia also, but it is a very special case, because it is known as the Switzerland or Singapore of the Mediterranean, with unique characteristics. If a functioning democracy is consolidated in Egypt, I am convinced that we will gradually changes in all Mediterranean countries.
When? It depends on how long it takes Egypt to reverse the key. But once you do, it will be irreversible.
SYRIA: ARM THE REBELS YES, BUT HOW?
-What The EU and USA are unable to overthrow Bashar Al Assad, who massacres his people, which says on its ability to accompany transitions?
Syria is a very special country in which there are more than 20 minorities. We are not only witnessing a conflict between those who want democracy and they do not want, but the actors choose to support one side or another depending on future consequences. Decisions have to be taken with extreme caution, because there are close to Al Qaeda elements that make us all think twice. Many have memories of Afghanistan, where he supported the
Taliban. We have made mistakes in the past, supporting Mubarak, Ben Ali, Muammar Gaddafi. That mistake we are not committed in the Syrian case.
‘In March, the EU showed its division between those who wanted to arm the rebels and those who do not.
If the lowest common denominator in the EU does not serve to advance Syria, where 27 have tried to go beyond not have agreed.
Everyone would like to spend the economic and political opposition to military support, to help tip the balance in favor of supporting the rebels. At the same time, everyone wants to ensure that these weapons are paid with the money of our citizens do not end up turning against them. It is necessary that these weapons will ever be good hands to fight for truth and freedom democrtacia and are not elements that reinforce or elemenos of jihadists and Al Qaeda is a threat to Europe. Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece are very close to
- Arming the rebels is not the solution now. It’s not what but how I care at this time.
“SPAIN LIVE A CRISIS OF VALUES, MORALS CASI”
Spain -How seen in the distance?
The situation is difficult. We say that the situation will improve in 2014 or 2016 as if the crisis were only economic. It is, but also politics, values , almost moral. The trouble is that finding, but one does not see action with the depth and ambition needed by the whole of society and institutions. The perspective that gives you exposure to areas where everyone is involved, where a vehemence for solutions means you can not be optimistic.
How do you see the protest movements emerged in Spain and disaffection of the policy?
They are a logical answer. My own children are in that dynamic. It is a rejection of politicians who seem to engage in defending formulas always like things have not changed. I’m not worth the view that everything that has to do with politics is bad, because politics is nothing more than finding solutions. These movements are on the street are also political, but not enough to reject it. From politics to look for solutions in which everyone must get involved.
‘The corruption in countries like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, much of the carried resources to accompany a successful transition. Did he think the Corruption in Spain was so ingrained? Did you know?
I had no idea. It has been one of the biggest blows throughout this stage. It’s terrible, a big disappointment. Together, we must transform a model that goes beyond the legal or political. Have to focus on earlier stages as the field of education. A society with corruption, which does not take into account other values is a society that has no future.
- Europe is a part of his career, is he back from exile?
The question contains an assessment we make many times. When you come called black men, when it comes to giving sovereignty to Europe … we talk about Europe as alien, but it’s not. We are Europe. Spain is a huge part of it, so I, being Andalusian or Malaga, I am one of those realities. Many solutions involve the EU. The biggest challenge facing Europe is Spain and southern Mediterranean. That does not mean they do not ponder, does not take me that no part of the reflection and debate.