_ ‘The first rule to avoid populism is not reaching any agreements with the populists. This is common sense, but it's just the opposite of what's happening in Spain’
_ ‘Populism is not interested in the future of Spain, the Spain of 2030. What it wants it to go back’
_ ‘Spanish populism has not only learned from Venezuela, but has even contributed to the situation in that country’
_ ‘There cannot be a legitimate call for elections when there are political prisoners, they must be released immediately without conditions’
_ He calls for a ‘rigorous process of international observation’ that ‘should not take place 48 hours before December 6, but many months before that’
_ ‘Freedom fighters in Venezuela have been too alone and that is totally unacceptable’
The former Prime Minister of Spain and president of FAES Foundation, José María Aznar, has said today that ‘The first rule to avoid populism is not reaching any agreements with the populists’ and that's ‘exactly the opposite of what is happening in Spain’. Aznar has spoken this morning at the meeting of the FAES Campus dedicated to the situation in Venezuela, where he launched ‘a very clear demand for the freedom of all political prisoners’ and called for ‘a strict and rigorous process of observation and international monitoring’ that ‘should not take place 48 hours before’ the election but ‘many months before that’ and should be carried out by ‘qualified persons’. ‘It's a great responsibility of governments and international institutions at this time,’ he noted.
Aznar said that ‘The first rule to avoid populism is not reaching any agreements with the populists.’ ‘It's plain common sense and outright logic but that is exactly the opposite of what is happening in Spain,’ he added. And he warned that ‘when populism comes, it comes to stay, to empty the institutions from within and remain in power,’ because ‘it is not a democratic alternative’. ‘What must be avoided is reaching any agreement with those who come to stay, and not respect the rules and change them,’ he reiterated.
Aznar has made specific reference to ‘Spanish populism’ which, he stressed, ‘has not only learned from Venezuela, but has also contributed’ to the situation in that country. ‘It has contributed in Bolivia, it has drafted legal texts, it has contributed in Ecuador and in many other places’, Aznar stated. Spanish populism, he said, ‘is not interested in the future of Spain, it is not interested in the Spain of 2030. What it wants is to go back precisely because it is not a democratic alternative; in order to empty the institutions, create another legitimacy and stay in the institutions’.
In front of the wife of the Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Capriles, imprisoned by the Venezuelan regime, and of the editor of the newspaper El Nacional, the only paper that is still independent in the country, Aznar exhorted ‘a very clear demand for the release of all political prisoners’. ‘There cannot be a legitimate call for elections when there are political prisoners. The prisoners must be immediately released without conditions,’ he said.
He also called for a ‘very strict and rigorous process of international observation and monitoring as the condition to accept the legitimacy of the elections, and that cannot take place 48 hours before December 6, by many months before that.’ ‘It must be carried out by qualified persons and it is a great responsibility held by different international institutions and governments at this time,’ he noted.
‘The more committed the institutions in various fields to the process in Venezuela, the better for the democratic process, for its cleaning and for the future of Venezuela,’ Aznar said, who also stressed that ‘we will work for the European Union to take part of this decisive and determinant international activity with regard to respecting the rules of democracy’.
EUROPEAN AND SPANISH RESPONSIBILITY
‘The European Union also has a responsibility, European Democrats have a responsibility and European governments have a responsibility,’ the former president asserted. ‘And I hope that the Spaniards, starting with the Government of Spain and various institutions, as they have done on other occasions, are the pioneers and the vanguard of this action in the European Union,’ he added.
Aznar, who also considered that ‘organizations such as UNASUR and the OAS have a very special responsibility,’ recalled that ‘freedom fighters in Venezuela have been too lonely, very lonely, and precisely because they have been to lonely things have come so far in Venezuela.’ ‘That is totally unacceptable,’ he asserted.
‘The example of Venezuela is very relevant and very clear of the consequences of populism in countries,’ Aznar stated, who also referred to the statements of the Greek Finance Minister on the ‘terrorist’ attitude of the European Union with Greece. ‘We are seeing that there are two completely different realities. In the same way as agreements in which populist choices are triumphant should not be eased, because that ultimately means the humiliation of democratic systems and international rules, in domestic policy, what must not be done for starters, is reaching agreements with them’ he reiterated.