Monday, November 29

Ayuso rivals Sánchez in international projection in the US.


Correspondent in New York

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Isabel Díaz Ayuso arrived in the United States last night for a tour of almost a week in which she will visit New York and Washington. The objective is ‘sell’ Madrid in the first world potential, something that many presidents of autonomous communities have done in the past. It is clear, however, that Díaz Ayuso has a political relevance in Spain that goes beyond the borders of the Community of Madrid and that he has become an influential figure on the right throughout the country after his resounding victory in the elections. Madrid last May.

Due to this national profile and because of Pedro Sánchez’s recent trips to the United States, it is inevitable to compare the international projection between the president of the Community and the president of the Government. Sánchez has also just returned from New York after a fleeting stint at the UN General Assembly. That trip, diminished by the situation on the Canary Island, is not comparable to that of Ayuso, but perhaps it is the one that Sánchez also undertook to the United States, unexpectedly, at the end of July, just two months before this week’s New York visit.

La Moncloa organized the trip to project Spain as an investment destination and to strengthen economic and political ties with the United States, similar intentions to those of Díaz Ayuso.

The opportunities

“It is not a question of competing, but of finding the best opportunities for our community”sources close to the Madrid Presidency assure this newspaper. In this objective, even without intending to, Díaz Ayuso has organized a trip that is not far behind – even in some aspects it is more ambitious – with respect to that of Sánchez, despite the fact that the latter has all the machinery of the presidency of the Government of Spain and its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In New York, on the first day of his trip, Sánchez held a meeting with investment funds and financial entities, including interviews with the billionaire and former mayor of the city, Michael Bloomberg, and with the CEO of BlackRock, Larry Fink. In Los Angeles, the President of the Government met with audiovisual production companies such as Netflix or HBO, while in San Francisco he had a meeting with Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, which neither the media nor the official photographer could witness. accompanies the president. Only two images of the meeting provided by the company were leaked.

Spanish protagonism

Spanish also had a special role in both agendas. In Los Angeles Sánchez announced the creation of a new Cervantes Institute center, something that he had already promised on the same stage in 2018, and which he said will open next year, although without giving an exact date.

In Ayuso’s case, a good part of his trip has to do with promoting Madrid as the «World capital of Spanish», an engine for attracting tourism, students, cultural projects and audiovisual productions in the region. In turn, the Madrid president will seek to “vindicate the Spanish legacy in America,” an aspect that has had little prominence in Sánchez’s recent visits to the United States, not even in places like California, a state with a large Hispanic presence and that It has its origin in the missions founded in the 18th century by Spanish religious in the then Spanish territory. Its most prominent figure, Fray Junípero Serra, has been one of the victims of the historical revisionism of the Spanish presence in the US, with statues stained or removed and his name removed, for example, from the Stanford University campus.

Where there will be more difference between Ayuso and Sánchez will be in the political weight of the trip. The Prime Minister has failed to establish a fluid relationship with his US counterpart, Joe Biden. Unlike with previous Spanish presidents, Biden did not speak by phone – he did with dozens of leaders from around the world, including many countries weighing much less than Spain – in the first months of his presidency and their only meeting in person. it was a short walk through the corridors of the NATO summit in June. Sánchez did not meet in person with Biden either in the July visit or this week, nor are there any indications that it will take place in the remainder of the year. Biden’s neglect was only interrupted by the crisis in Afghanistan, when they talked about the evacuation of Afghans through shared military bases on Spanish territory.

Ayuso will have a political visit to Washington. She will go to the US Congress, invited to a session of the Hispanic Caucus, the group of Hispanic legislators from the Senate and the House of Representatives. There he will give a speech and will have the opportunity to meet – and perhaps face positions – with political personalities such as Senator Bob Menéndez – chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee – or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the most influential figure of the leftist current of the Democratic party.

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