The Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arancha González Laya, explained that Spain will participate next year in the commemoration of the 200 years of the independence of Mexico but he does not plan to apologize for the conquest, as requested by President Andrés Manuel López Orador.
At a press conference at the residence of the Spanish ambassador in the Mexican capital, the minister recalled that 2021 will commemorate the 500 years of the conquest and the bicentennial of Mexico and that “On this anniversary, Spain has promised to participate after an invitation from the Mexican Government.”
González Laya made a brief trip to Mexico on Tuesday to strengthen ties in the country, where he met with his Mexican counterpart, Marcelo Ebrard, the Secretary of Economy, Graciela Márquez, the Mayor of Mexico City, Claudia Sheinbaum, and Spanish businessmen.
The minister spoke with Ebrard about President López Obrador’s controversial proposal that King Felipe VI apologize to indigenous communities for the abuses of the conquest.
“We have been very transparent from the beginning: Throughout its history Spain has had a reflective look, a critical look and it has not waited 500 years to have it, it has had it throughout its history”Explained González Laya.
He recalled that Fray Bartolomé de las Casas was already in the 16th century critical of the treatment of indigenous people and that the kings of Spain visited the southern state of Oaxaca in 1990 in recognition of the indigenous communities.
For this reason, the minister stressed that in next year’s commemorations “It would be tremendously useful” look to the future and “ask ourselves what we want for the next 50 and 100 years”.
The relationship between Spain and the Government of López Obrador started on the right foot, with the assistance of King Felipe VI to the Mexican’s investiture in December 2018 and the visit a month after the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, who showed good harmony with the Mexican president.
But shortly after the relationship cooled, when in March 2019 the Mexican president asked Felipe VI and Pope Francis by letter to apologize for the conquest, something he continues to insist on to this day.
VALUE SPANISH COMPANIES
Another point of friction has originated from López Obrador’s nationalist energy policy, who has criticized several foreign companies, including some Spanish, which in his opinion were benefited by the energy reform of the previous government that liberalized the sector.
Last October, the president of the power company Iberdrola, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, said that he ruled out starting new projects in Mexico if the country’s government does not want it to continue investing there.
González Laya was on Tuesday with representatives of several companies of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, including Iberdrola, Naturgy, BBVA and Banco Santander, to get their point of view.
The minister promised to “To value the work of these companies and facilitate the performance of their functions.”
In Mexico there are 6,500 companies with Spanish capital that generate 1.3 million jobs in the country. Spain is the second investor in Mexico, while Mexico is the second investor in Spain among countries outside the European Union.
Regarding the regulatory changes of the Mexican Government that prioritize the public energy companies Pemex and the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), the minister insisted that in the sector there should be “Transparency, security and clear rules of the game.”
The visit also served to promote the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico and the European Union (TLCUEM), pending signature, and prepare the Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government scheduled for next year in Andorra.
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