Aznar: “The historical continuity of a Nation deserves to be defended with the greatest courage and conviction” First FAES Campus Chile and launching of the FAES report ‘Latin America: An Agenda for Freedom 2012’


    _ “Respect for democratic institutions and the Law is the great legacy of the Transition and what we must defend”

    _ “The middle class is the backbone of an open society, granting it stability and dynamism”

    _ Aznar will participate in a discussion with Chile’s centre-right presidential precandidates

The former Prime Minister of Spain and President of FAES Foundation, José María Aznar, stated that “the historical continuity of a Nation that embraced democracy and stands as a guarantee of freedom deserves to be defended with the greatest courage and conviction”. Aznar said as much in Santiago de Chile during the launch and presentation of the FAES report ‘Latin America: An Agenda for Freedom 2012’ during the first FAES Campus Chile, where he also said that “respect for democratic institutions and the Law is the great legacy of the Transition and that is what we must defend clearly and resolutely”.

The former Prime Minister of Spain also stressed that “a weak Nation, divided or disorganised can never be a prosperous Nation. A Nation that challenges its best collective achievements can never hope to face future challenges with conviction. A Nation that disregards its institutions jeopardises their coexistence. And a Nation that tolerates the non-enforcement of its laws is a Nation verging on failure”.

In Aznar’s words, “The Chilean and Spanish Transitions are two great examples of patriotism, intelligence and generosity”, as they “were articulated by a large political consensus, thus enabling our countries to make their greatest advance in both their histories”. In his opinion, safeguarding that legacy means “preserving the will of consensus, remaining loyal to the democratic project of national coexistence and claiming identical allegiance to all” and, especially, “it means an unwavering commitment to their specific achievements”.

“The Chilean consensus, like the Spanish one, was the instrument enabling the articulation of a framework of coexistence from the assertion of a fundamental principle: that there is no democracy without strong institutions and without the scrupulous observance of the law”, Aznar said. Adding that he would like the Spanish to “value the political and economic gains we achieved when we worked together in order to forge that great project of national coexistence. That we clearly denounce those who, because of frivolity or sectarianism, set out to break the large consensus of State. And, above all, that we do everything necessary to ensure respect for the institutions and Law enforcement always and by all”.

During his address, Aznar has also referred to the middle class, stating that it is “the backbone of an open society, granting it stability and dynamism”. “So there is nothing more wrong and dangerous for a country than promoting policies that undermines or erodes it” he said. Instead, he observed that there is “a need to strengthen the middle class emerging under the protection of the good situation that Latin America is going through”.

In order to forge a middle class that is “strong and solid”, Aznar has considered that “ambitious reforms to ensure quality education for all and the best opportunities for everyone” are necessary requirements. In his opinion, this is possible given a “fiscal policy that’s austere on spending and moderate on taxes, with measures that facilitate business creation, with structural and liberalisation reforms that consolidate a flexible, open and competitive economy. And, above all, with strong democratic institutions that enable citizens to develop their full potential”.

In this vein, Aznar said that “these days we are being able to see clearly the abysmal difference between countries that are governed by the Law and democratic institutions, such as Chile, and those which still support the arbitrary rule of a sole person and his cronies”. “In the former, the Rule of Law prevails, and in the latter, the whim of an autocrat, though disguised as a democrat”, he noted.

However, Aznar celebrated that Latin America has “overwhelmingly opted for representative democracy and market economy,” and said that “the implementation of sensible policies has given excellent results in terms of growth, investment, job creation and poverty reduction”.

The launch of the report ‘Latin America’ in Santiago de Chile was introduced by the Chilean Minister Secretary General of the Presidency, Cristián Larroulet. It can be added to the ones which, over the past year, have taken place in Lima, Mexico City, Guatemala, Buenos Aires, Santo Domingo, Bogota, Washington, Sao Paulo and Cadiz. The paper analyses the changes in Latin America, raises renewed proposals and promotes liberal democracy, respect for individual liberties, the Rule of Law, institutional strengthening and open economy.

Aznar will take part in the FAES Campus Chile again today, participating in a colloquium with the centre-right presidential precandidates Andrés Allamand and Laurence Golborne. The event, entitled ‘The future we want’, will be chaired by the president of the Union of Latin American Parties (UPLA), Jovino Novoa. Also, during his stay in Santiago de Chile, Aznar has met with the President, Sebastian Piñera, at La Moneda Presidential Palace.

FAES Foundation is currently celebrating the first edition of its Campus in Chile, organised with UPLA, an association of the Latin America’s centre-right parties and political movements. The sessions are taking place at Andres Bello University and they are analysing issues such as the political consequences of ideas, economic freedom and middle class societies, the values of liberal democracy, the situation in Latin America, Chile-Spain relations, and the joining of the like-minded.

This first edition is part of the Campus model that the Foundation has established in Latin America during 2012, together with those already held in Central America & the Caribbean, Peru, Colombia and Argentina. Among others, the Campus hosts as speakers the Minister of Finance, Felipe Larrain; the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Nicholas Monckeberg; the Ambassador and Managing Director of Bilateral Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, Rodrigo Gaete; the Presidents of the National Renovation Party and the Independent Democratic Union, Carlos Larrain Peña and Patricio Melero; the Secretary-General of FAES, Javier Zarzalejos; the FAES Director of Constitution and Institutions, Ignacio Astarloa; and the director of FAES’ International Department, Cayetana Alvarez de Toledo.

Secretaria de Estado de Cooperación Internacional y para Iberoamérica