The Sunday edition of El Mundo published data from the 2010 Ibero-American Governance Barometer — an opinion poll conducted by Sigma Dos since 1992 and that this year had 11,707 participants in 21 countries. Certain questions garner some attention, but in general, the responses do not stray too far from what can be expected of its participants to think. What is really striking, however, is that this poll includes the United States in the space marked “Ibero-American.”
This seems to me a wise decision; there are more Spanish speakers living in the United States than in Spain itself. If I am not mistaken, this poll began around the same time as the Ibero-American Summits. Despite this, the United States has never been included in its meetings and deliberations.
There were many who sought to have a U.S. presence in order to try and strengthen a system based on history, language and culture. This would then lead to better cooperation in the political, commercial and economic arenas.
After a vigorous start, driven by Spain and Portugal’s integration into the European Union and the restoration of democracy in Latin America, the Ibero-American Summits, presided over by the King of Spain, languished in the political rhetoric and woes of its member states. [Former Spanish President Jose Maria] Aznar attempted to revitalize the summit by creating a permanent secretariat general in Madrid, while having other countries, such as Mexico, run its operations. But the bill is still paid substantially by Spain.
The current head of office is Enrique Iglesias from Uruguay. The secretariat manages funds for cooperation, organizes events and meetings, prepares the next summit, assists in any other summit being organized and valiantly does his or her best to coexist in a sea of initials and organizations — Organization of American States (OAS), UNASUR, Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), FTAA, MERCOSUR, the Andean Community, the Central American Integration System (SICA), URUPABOL, the Rio Group and countless other initiatives that multiply like spores. Mexico, for example, wants to create the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States; a group similar to OAS but without the United States. Here we go again!
There is one piece of information from the poll that I keep coming back to: The majority of Ibero-Americans (including the Spanish) sympathize with the president of the United States and the King of Spain; the other leaders are not looked upon so favorably.