Geopolitics

European Elections: EU's Latinos Launch Political Movement

Spaniards born of Latin American families are running for the first time in the European Parliament elections. They have a unique agenda.

MIEL movement Jose Cordeiro with EU-Venezuelan supporters
MIEL movement Jose Cordeiro with EU-Venezuelan supporters
Héctor Casanueva

-Analysis-

MADRID — A new movement of Latin Americans has emerged in Spain ahead of the EU parliamentary elections, to be held this month. The Independent Euro Latino Movement, or MIEL ("Movimiento Independiente Euro Latino"), is made up of Latin Americans with double citizenship or residing in Europe and it seeks to represent more than 2.5 million Spanish Latin Americans or Latin American Spaniards with the right to vote. They have 52 candidates for the EU parliamentary elections.

The movement will add diversity to the intense debate on the future of Europe at a crucial moment for Spain and the European Union. Spain's emerging European Latinos or Latin Europeans want to keep their identities and original cultures, while becoming more involved within Europe, contributing work and ideas. The movement is also seen as a way of helping Latin America from the EU.

The idea is to reach Brussels to strengthen cooperation with Latin America, and defend the rights of Spanish and European Latinos within the EU. The list of candidates is multicultural and includes Venezuelans, Ecuadorians, Colombians, Peruvians, Cubans, Bolivians, Dominicans and Spaniards.

It is a new coalition and is yet to become familiar to Spanish Latino voters.

The movement will put forward proposals regarding specific concerns of European Latinos, like visas for the Schengen zone, migratory restrictions for relatives and family members, detention in migrant centers, remittances or recognition of university and professional qualifications.

The movement's founder is José Luis Cordeiro, a Spanish-Venezuelan engineer and graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has written several books on the economy and technology, and is particularly known for contributions in the fields of AI and new technologies. His proposals include seeking research and development funds for a European Anti-Aging Agency. Cordeiro favors boosting EU-Latin American cooperation in nanotechnology, biotechnology and academic exchanges beyond the existing EU-Latin America and Caribbean pact in the sector.

The group's success in the coming EU elections remains to be seen, since it is a new coalition and is yet to become familiar to Spanish Latino voters. The EU election campaign is very brief and coincides with elections for municipal districts and autonomous or regional communities. There are signs however that the new Latin Europeans might win the 300,000 votes needed in these polls. In any case, their emergence is remarkable, and there is no reason why the movement should not mature and become a permanent fixture of EU politics in the future.

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Society

Chinese Students Now Required To Learn To Think Like Xi Jinping

'Xi Jinping Thought' ideas on socialism have been spreading across the country since 2017. But now, Beijing is going one step further by making them part of the curriculum, from the elementary level all the way up to university.

Children from Congtai Elementary School, Handan City, Hebei Province

Maximilian Kalkhof

BEIJING — It's important to strengthen the "determination to listen to and follow the party." Also, teaching materials should "cultivate patriotic feelings." So say the new guidelines issued by the Chinese Ministry of Education.

The goal is to help Chinese students develop more "Marxist beliefs," and for that, the government wants its national curriculum to include "Xi Jinping Thought," the ideas, namely, of China's current leader.


Xi Jinping has been the head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) for almost 10 years. In 2017, at a party convention, he presented a doctrine in the most riveting of party prose: "Xi Jinping's ideas of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new age."

Behind this word jam is a plan to consolidate the power of the nation, the party and Xi himself. In other words, to make China great again!

Communist curriculum replaces global subjects

This doctrine has sent shockwaves through China since 2017. It's been echoed in newspapers, on TV, and screamed from posters and banners hung in many cities. But now, the People's Republic is going one step further: It's bringing "Xi Jinping Thought" into the schools.

Starting in September, the country's 300 million students have had to study the doctrine, from elementary school into university. And in some cities, even that doesn't seem to be enough. Shanghai announced that its students from third to fifth grade would only take final exams in mathematics and Chinese, de facto deleting English as an examination subject. Beijing, in the meantime, announced that it would ban the use of unauthorized foreign textbooks in elementary and middle schools.

But how does a country that enchants its youth with socialist ideology and personality cults rise to become a world power? Isn't giving up English as a global language the quickest way into isolation?

The educational reform comes at a time when Beijing is brutally disciplining many areas of public life, from tech giants to the entertainment industry. It has made it difficult for Chinese technology companies to go public abroad, and some media have reported that a blanket ban on IPOs in the United States is on the cards in the next few years.

photo of books on a book shelf

Books about Xi-Jinping at the 2021 Hong Kong Book Fair

Alex Chan Tsz Yuk/SOPA Images/ZUMA

— Photo:

Targeting pop culture

The regime is also taking massive action against the entertainment industry. Popstar Kris Wu was arrested on charges of rape. Movies and TV series starring actor Zhao Wei have started to disappear from Chinese streaming platforms. The reason is unclear.

What the developments do show is that China is attempting to decouple from the West with increasing insistence. Beijing wants to protect its youth from Western excesses, from celebrity worship, super wealth and moral decline.

A nationalist blogger recently called for a "profound change in the economy, finance, culture and politics," a "revolution" and a "return from the capitalists to the masses." Party media shared the text on their websites. It appears the analysis caused more than a few nods in the party headquarters.

Dictatorships are always afraid of pluralism.

Caspar Welbergen, managing director of the Education Network China, an initiative that aims to intensify school exchanges between Germany and China, says that against this background, the curriculum reform is not surprising.

"The emphasis on 'Xi Jinping Thought' is being used in all areas of society," he says. "It is almost logical that China is now also using it in the education system."

Needless to say, the doctrine doesn't make student exchanges with China any easier.

Dictatorships are always afraid of color, pluralism and independent thinking citizens. And yet, Kristin Kupfer, a Sinology professor at the University of Trier, suggests that ideologically charged school lessons should not be interpreted necessarily as a sign of weakness of the CCP.

From the point of view of a totalitarian regime, she explains, this can also be interpreted as a signal of strength. "It remains to be seen whether the Chinese leadership can implement this so thoroughly," Kupfer adds. "Initial reactions from teachers and parents on social media show that such a widespread attempt to control opinion has raised fears and discontent in the population."

Die Welt
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