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Palabras de Su Majestad el Rey en la cena inaugural del Foro España-Estados Unidos

San Agustín (Florida), 18.09.2015

G

ood mornig, buenas noches, thak you for your welcome, for your kind words, and for the hospitality –once again- of the Flagler College.

President Abane, the Queen and I have spent a large part of the day in your dominions, so special thanks for your patience and generosity…

Over the years, I have had the opportunity to attend, along with The Queen, other editions of the United States-Spain Council Forum, which has always had a high level due to the caliber of its participants. (Remember last year in Malaga, two years ago in Sta Bárbara, California)

This year, I would like to highlight that the Forum which brings us together has some additional special features. One is that it marks the final event of our first official visit to the United States of America as King and Queen of Spain, and our first meeting at the White House with President Obama and the First Lady. Secondly, because we are celebrating the 450th anniversary of the foundation of St. Augustine, the oldest city of European origin in what is today the United States.

Our friend and host Senator Tim Kaine wanted to hold the Forum here in order to commemorate that extraordinary landmark event, so that more and more Americans can learn about it and appreciate its history. As Governor of Virginia he promoted the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, a city which many members of the general public honestly think is the oldest city in their country. However, in the words of the historian Michael Gannon: “While Jamestown was being founded, Saint Augustine was up for urban renewal.”

Los españoles estamos legítimamente orgullosos de esa primacía histórica —tanto en el territorio de los actuales Estados Unidos como en el conjunto de las Américas. Una primacía que, junto a nuestra presencia de varios siglos en este continente, hace que España no pueda entenderse sin su dimensión americana, como he tenido oportunidad de señalar en este mismo país en otras ocasiones.

No obstante, lo que hoy quiero destacar es el hecho de que este aniversario de San Agustín adquiere pleno sentido en el marco de un fenómeno de gran calado que es la revalorización del legado hispánico en los Estados Unidos y su contribución a la construcción de esta gran nación.

Sterling examples of other landmarks in this process include Congress’s recent declaration of Spanish-born Revolutionary War hero,  General Bernardo de Gálvez —envoy of King Charles the III—, as an honorary citizen of the United States, as well as the upcoming canonization of Spanish missionary Father Junípero Serra by H.H. Pope Francis during the Papal visit to Washington next week. Many Americans of Hispanic origin are pleased by these forms of public recognition highlighting the Spanish dimensions of this great land’s history, and the rich diversity of the U.S. identity from its very beginnings.

The story of St. Augustine’s foundation is a tribute to the creativity and tenacity of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés and his companions. A creative capacity to carry out an ambitious project under circumstances that were utterly new, in the eyes of those men who had come from a world away. Tenacity to persevere in their efforts despite the formidable obstacles in their way, and the moments of despair they were able to overcome.

But it is not my intention to focus here on those great deeds, which fill us with such pride, but rather to highlight their capacity to inspire. Indeed, on this trip to the United States I have seen first-hand that these qualities live-on in the many Spaniards who are making such valuable contributions to the progress of this country in so many areas, and to further intensify the relationship between Spain and the United States.

I am referring first of all to the important number of reputed researchers who, during these days, have been participating in the 1st Meeting of Spanish Scientists in the United States, with whom we had a chance to talk on Wednesday at my beloved alma mater, Georgetown University. I would like to underline the huge talent pool I saw there, and the prestige that all of these researchers have attained at the centers of excellence where they are working. Moreover, the creation of international networks of Spanish scientists abroad is going to have a positive impact on the already very high quality of science in our own country, and on our contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge would wide.

Another group that is showing its high level of creativity is, of course, the business community —so well represented at this Forum. The presence of Spanish companies, entrepreneurs and top managers in the United States is growing significantly both in Q and quality, and there is a real collective drive to show that they can make it in this very demanding market, competing with the best of the best. Even during the most difficult moments of the economic crisis, the presence of Spanish companies in the United States never stopped growing, reaching levels never seen before. And the interest is palpable in both directions. As I had the occasion to see for myself at a meeting in Washington with leaders of a good number of U.S. corporations, the expectations aroused by the recovery of Spain’s economy are high, and the forecasts point towards a significant rise in investment from the United States.

The expansion of the Spanish language is another field open to creativity and innovation. This is not only because this language is the vehicle for different forms of artistic expression, which are becoming increasingly popular here in the U.S.A., but also because the internet is undoubtedly the great forum of our times, where communication and information are being reinvented on a daily basis. We were talking about this just yesterday in Miami, a fascinating bilingual city which has become the hub for contacts and exchange between the Americas.

So that all of these varied projects can attain their full potential, the United States and Spain, allies, partners and friends, share a responsibility to promote a secure environment to protect our citizens, so that they can carry out these initiatives with maximum freedom. It is true that today open societies are vulnerable to the terrorist threat that we can see mutating and spreading throughout much of the world, but our values and convictions give us the moral strength necessary to confront it. At the same time, we need to mobilize human and material resources, and Spain is doing so as a member of the coalition against that heinous terrorist organization that wants to be considered —and calls itself— a State (we’ll leave it as DAESH).

My country plays as well a prominent role in many other international missions; but at the end of the day, we are also engaged in a battle of ideas and values, which we must also wage on ideological, intellectual grounds.

In an increasingly interconnected world, where threats are global, how we address them must also be global. The best guarantee for our security lies in our capacity to cooperate, in our solidarity, in our capacity to forge alliances.

In these past few days I have had the opportunity to discuss these challenges with President Obama and members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I have also participated in a meeting involving two of the main international studies centers from both our countries, precisely to address challenges to our joint security. All of these talks have strengthened my conviction that a balanced, vigorous transatlantic relationship is our most valuable asset. This is why today’s Forum for dialogue is so relevant, bringing together representatives from the Governments and civil societies of both countries.

No quiero terminar estas palabras sin hacer alusión a la realidad de progreso y crecimiento vivida por España durante las pasadas décadas. Este ha sido, efectivamente, el periodo de mayor desarrollo económico y social de nuestra historia, logrado gracias a la apertura democrática de nuestro país hace casi cuarenta años y a la voluntad y el esfuerzo de todos los españoles, y a nuestro deseo colectivo de recuperar nuestro lugar en Europa y en el concierto de las naciones.

En esta reciente etapa histórica, España se ha integrado sólidamente en el proyecto europeo —al que nos adherimos ahora hace 30 años y del que somos un actor fundamental—, y ha afirmado su posición en el mundo desde su compromiso activo y permanente con la Organización de las Naciones Unidas a la que nos incorporamos precisamente 60 años atrás. Buena prueba de ese compromiso es nuestra activa participación en el Consejo de Seguridad durante el bienio 2015-2016. Además hemos asumido un papel de responsabilidad y solidaridad en Ayuda al Desarrollo en muchos lugares cercanos y lejanos.

Ladies and Gentleman,

I would like to close here by once again thanking Senator Kaine for his initiative to hold the twentieth United States-Spain Council Forum here in St. Augustine. The past can be a point of encounter, because it gives us good reasons to promote a vision of the future like the one we have ahead for our two great nations.

Thank you very much.

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Viajes Oficiales

Viaje Oficial a los Estados Unidos de América
Sus Majestades los Reyes con el presidente Barack Obama y su esposa Michelle15.9.2015/18.9.2015