Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Spain joins the world in celebrating the inauguration of President Obama

The photo on the right can be found on the El Pais web site with the words: "El sueño americano accede al poder," or "The American dream comes to power." And today I have found Spaniards to be optimistic about President Barack Obama and expressing good will towards the USA.

An American friend and I took time off from work this afternoon to come to my apartment for a "multi-media" observance of the inaugural event. We watched Spanish television, saw an American web-cast on my computer and listened to NPR's live radio broadcast. We cheered, laughed, teared up, clapped and felt hopeful for our country and the world.

At the same time, in Madrid Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero reportedly watched the inauguration and listened to the new American President's speech in his home -- Moncloa Palace. The media reported that he claimed to believe that the ascension to office of President Obama "opens an opportunity" that the Spanish Government will not "waste." The PM, who did not exactly have a good relationship with former President G. W. Bush, was quoted as saying that Spain and the United States are "on a good road for a smooth and and fruitful relationship."

Zapatero described the American President's inaugural speech to reporters as something "very positive, that corresponds to the project that he advocated during...his campaign. A speech...that keeps alive the hope to achieve a more just international order, and for peace and dialogue to find a place in the conflicts that exist in the world today, and that the distribution of wealth is fairer."

Obama and Zapatero spoke on November 7, when the then President-elect returned the PM's congratulatory telephone call. On November 17th the then Vice President-Elect Joe Biden telephoned Zapatero to inform him of Obama's intention to tour Europe, and stop in Spain, sometime in early 2009. Zapatero and Obama will also have a chance to meet at the international economic summit to be held in London next April, and then again a few days later at the NATO summit in Strasbourg that will mark the 60th anniversary of that North American-European organization.

Meanwhile, I joyously join Spaniards and people around the world in saying "¡Bienvenido y buena suerte Presidente Obama!"


P.S. Almost immediately after Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the USA, the White House web site reflected that change had come. Visit the site's home page here -- and the site has a blog! That's right, A BLOG!!

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