Ramon Rovira was TV3's correspondent in the United States for six years, from 1996 to 2001, an experience that he says marked him and which allowed him to witness first hand “an innovative and powerful country, a land of opportunity that rewards effort and creativity and that defends freedom and democracy like no other.” But it is also a country of inequality, racism and violence. The two sides of an America that Rovira, international correspondent for Preséncia, knows very well and which he has now portrayed in his book, Gracias, Estados Unidos (Plataforma Editorial, 2016). Rovira is currently Director of Communications and Institutional Relations at Banc Sabadell
The book defends and almost lauds the US, but it does not show the dark side.
As I said in the preamble, I wanted to reflect on a big country and a great country, and at the same time show my gratitude for being accepted and all the things it taught me. I wanted to emphasise its defence of freedom and democracy, the value it places on the daily efforts of people, the integration of diversity and respect for all thoughts and ideas. And, especially, its infinite capacity to renew and reinvent itself. Obviously, it is a country with shadows, inside and outside. Violence, racism, poverty and interventions and interference in other countries that have caused many deaths and pain, true. But there is an ability to analyse the mistakes and despite the good and the bad, the balance is positive. Moreover, in international terms, what other options are there now? Russia? China? Europe? What is the alternative?
Our society is a major consumer of American products and culture, but, curiously, there persists a strong anti-Americanism.
It's pretty surreal and we have to go back many years to understand it. Maybe until the end of the Second World War, when Spain was left out of the Marshall Plan and Franco stayed in power. With our general lack of English over this time, it all leads to this point of incomprehension.
What do you miss about the United States here?
The meritocracy. With effort, people are able to reach goals that in normal circumstances they couldn't. I am not talking about Obama, but Clinton, with an alcoholic father, from a small town in Arkansas, with many economic and family problems in his youth. It's extreme, but in general everyone who strives is rewarded, and those who succeed are admired. It is also true that those who don't make it suffer more than here because the social safety nets are weaker.
Who will win the election?
I hope it won't be Trump. That said, I think we are in a campaign that broke all the moulds of a presidential election. First, because the candidates do not have the level of the previous elections, and secondly, it is the first time in many years that a candidate –Trump– without any previous experience of political administration has been in the race for the presidency. A candidate who also won the nomination by pitting many groups against each other: Hispanics, African Americans, women, homosexuals, the military. Trump has insulted everyone. And now, he is doing things that nobody has ever done, whichis facing the final stretch of the campaign. It is unheard of.
He has got away with his lies
It is extraordinary. Trump has not been punished by the so-called “punishment of lies.” Traditionally, when a candidate is caught lying, he or she can say goodbye to the campaign. There are a lot of cases. But not Trump. The media must take a lot of the blame, because they didn't see it coming and in fact, many have made a lot of money from Trump, who has given them very good ratings.
And if Trump wins?
American democracy works much better than people think. The founding fathers did very well in the separation of powers and oversight. If Trump wins he will not be able to do what he wants. It is true that the US is a presidential regime and the president has a lot of power, but it is also very limited by Congress, the Senate and the judicial structure. We saw a few days ago when Obama was unable to prevent the Congress from deciding to investigate Saudi Arabia's role in the September 11 attacks.