He has not held any institutional position for more than 25 years but the word of the former president of the Spanish government Felipe Gonzalez it continues to carry extraordinary weight. And from his vantage point he receives awards such as Universal Spanish 2021, awarded by the Independent Foundation, and gives advice to whoever wants to listen to them: «I don’t want to forget what happened, but I don’t want to relate from a grudge. We would rather be children of democracy than grandchildren of the Civil War. And he remarked: “Forgetting is bad but living off a grudge is worse.”
González, who was president of the Spanish government between 1982 and 1996, has recognized how it is now more difficult than ever to do politics, due to the coronavirus pandemic and challenges such as climate change. «It gets harder and harder to be a politician. The politician is a person presumably guilty … Politicians have the difficult task of solving doubts with the pillow so as not to transfer uncertainty to citizens, “he said. At 79, he has proven to be in top shape. Without papers, he has once again testified to his excellent rhetoric.
The Spain we know today, modern Spain, fully democratic, rooted in the heart of Europe, cannot be understood without Felipe González »
Pedro Sánchez, President of the Government
In a video, the president of the government, the also socialist Pedro Sánchez, has confirmed his reconciliation with González, whom he has recognized for his role in the transition to democracy, in the insertion of Spain in Europe and in strengthening Spain’s relationship with Latin America. Sánchez has praised González’s ability to “build consensus with his political opponents by sowing an example that we Socialists have always followed.” The president of the Independent Foundation, Aldo Olcese, has indicated that the leader of the Popular Party, Pablo Casado, wanted to attend the tribute but could not because of the changes in the agenda on his trip to Greece.
Sánchez recalled how “the Spain we know today, modern Spain, fully democratic, rooted in the heart of Europe, cannot be understood without Felipe González and the leadership of his governments.”
Wrapped up by the Minister of Territorial Policy and government spokesperson, Isabel Rodríguez, and by his family and friends, such as former Minister José Bono, Felipe González has defined himself more as a globetrotter than as a «universal Spaniard» because «universals are gift. Quixote and Sancho ”, but it has recognized its European dimension, and above all, Latin American. “Latin America is an added value to our identity of which few Spaniards are aware.”
An exceptional Latin American
Hence it is explained that laudatio It has been in charge of former Colombian president José Manuel Santos, Nobel Peace Prize winner for the agreements with the FARC, signed five years ago. Santos has told how his relationship with González, who has Colombian nationality, began in 1992, when he came to the Seville Expo. Santos has assured that “no other Spanish ruler has been so aware of the affairs of our region”, and in the Colombian case this presence has been even more constant: “There is not a Colombian president who has not had his advice … and in my case was fundamental ». González accompanied Santos to Oslo when he collected the Nobel Peace Prize. Santos concluded by acknowledging that he considers himself a friend of González, “a wise man with the heart of a child.”
From the other side of the Atlantic, the former president of Chile Ricardo Lagos, also a friend of González, also participated in the event, held at the Real Casino in Madrid. who has highlighted the role of the former president of the Spanish government as a “bridge between Spain, Europe and America.”
His greatness is in a broader vision, which leads him to maintain a privileged relationship with Hispanic America »
ricardo lagos, former president of chile
«This Spaniard understood that for Spain to be integrated into the world, his country not only had to cross the Pyrenees and join the nascent European Union. His greatness is in a broader vision, which leads him to maintain a privileged relationship with Hispanic America. Felipe González is as Latin American as the best of us, ”said Lagos.
The former president of the European Commission has also participated virtually in the tribute Romano Prodi, who held the position just when Helmut Kohl wanted González to do it, to which the Spanish refused. “He did not want to occupy any more institutional positions.” For Prodi, González’s contribution to the modernization of Spain is undeniable, as is his work in integrating Spain into Europe. Looking to the future, he points out that it is needed to reinforce the momentum of Spain, Italy, France and Greece in the Mediterranean.
The president of the Independent Foundation, Aldo Olcese, has justified the award of the award, unanimously, for being “a patriot of the XXI century, a statesman and for the appreciation he arouses”, beyond ideologies and borders. “Figures like Felipe González allow us to have hopes of living in a better society with greater consensus,” Olcese remarked.
González follows in the wake of Margarita Salas, Rafael Matesanz, Camilo José Cela and Father Ángel as Universal Spanish.
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Felipe González stands out from the rancor: “We prefer to be children of democracy than grandchildren of the Civil War”