Spain's blacks welcome Obama's "symbolic" victory

5th November 2008, Comments 0 comments

Obama's historic achievement of becoming the first African American president will change the common perception that people have on the black community.

5 November 2008

MADRID - Representatives of Spain's black community Wednesday hailed US president-elect Barack Obama's victory as changing the world’s perception of black people.

This totally changes the vision that people have of "the capacity of the black community," said Luis Alberto Alarcon, an Afro-Colombian activist who lives in Madrid.

In an interview with Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, Alarcon, who heads the Spanish section of the ecologist Life Foundation said Obama's victory proved that blacks could reach the highest levels whenever "the political context allows them to move forward.

Welcoming Obama's triumph as a "moral victory" is Antumi Toasije, president of the Pan-Africanist organisation Centro Panafricano.

"This debunks the idea that the United States is the most racist country in the world," said Toasije, stressing that blacks still lacked for sufficient representation in European power structures.

Toasije and Alarcon estimated the number of Latin American descendants of Africans at 120 million. Hundreds of thousands of them live in Spain, which also has hundreds of thousands of Africans, they said.

Hundreds of Americans and Spaniards celebrated Obama's victory overnight at a Madrid arts centre, while Republican candidate John McCain's supporters staged their own party.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero meanwhile sent a congratulating telegram to Obama, saying his victory was based on "a message of unity, joyful hope and solidarity".

"It is a triumph that opens a road of hope and trust for the world in moments of difficulty and uncertainty," Zapatero said.

Spanish political parties agreed that Obama's victory opened an opportunity for Spain to improve its relations with the US, which worsened after Zapatero recalled Spanish troops from Iraq following his election victory in 2004.

Obama would open a "new era" in international relations, giving a push to dialogue and multilateralism, government sources quoted Zapatero as saying.

Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos expressed trust that Obama would soon receive Zapatero, in contrast with George W Bush, who did not meet bilaterally with the Spanish premier.

[dpa / Expatica]

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