Relaciones Internacionales – Comunicación Internacional

Spain’s international reputation

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One of Spain’s roadside bull signs originally designed to advertise Osborne sherry: the bull is an unofficial emblem of Spain. Photo: Tomas Fano (Published by The Local on May 8, 2013)

If George Mills, the author of the article published by The Local on May 8 under the headline   ‘Nobody wants to be like Spain now’, had read carefully the last Elcano barometers under Javier Noya’s supervision, he would have tinged or toned down his main conclusion

Spain’s international reputation has taken quite a battering since the country’s economic problems began five years ago but the Spanish government is fighting back in a bid to restore the nation’s prestige.

Mills’ post, however, puts his finger in one of the main problems recognized today by most national and foreign observers on Spain: the loss of influence abroad as a consequence of its internal divisions and, above all, its economic crisis, with one of the highest unemployment figures in the Western world. 

Since Spain’s real estate bubble burst in 2008, foreign media outlets have covered in great detail the country’s high unemployment, its seemingly endless string of anti-government protests and — perhaps most damagingly for the country’s image — Spain’s corruption scandals.

This coverage reached a devastating peak in September 2012 when the New York Times published an article titled ‘Spain recoils as its hungry forage trash cans for a next meal’.

The high-profile newspaper cited figures showing that the Catholic Charity Caritas had fed “one million hungry Spaniards” in 2010.

More harmful for Spain, however, were the gritty black and white photographs that accompanied the piece. These showed a country on the brink of disaster.

«Nobody wants to be like Spain now. Spain is only good for flamenco and red wine,» Richard Boucher, the deputy secretary general of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said in early 2012.

In the same year, Spain slipped from 14th place to 19th place in the rankings put together by brand consultancy Futurebrand. MORE


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