The fiasco of the initial meeting with the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, and the absence of meetings with any other current president during the four-country tour of South America has not discouraged the Catalan government, which this afternoon expressed its satisfaction over balance of the nine-day Latin America visit by the president of Catalonia, Pere Aragonès. "There is a very graphic way to define it. It has been proof of the Catalan government's return to the international stage", assured the spokesperson for the executive, Patrícia Plaja, who concluded that this has been "the highest level tour that the government of the Generalitat of Catalonia has ever organized."
The president returned this Tuesday from Chile, the last stage of the nine-day official trip that also included Colombia, Uruguay and Buenos Aires. Throughout this tour, Aragonès did not met with any president of the four countries, which provoked criticism from the opposition. In the case of the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, a meeting had been scheduled, but was suspended when Aragonès had already been at the headquarters of the Colombian executive for two hours. With regard to this, the spokesperson insisted that the meeting did not take place for "reasons of force majeure".
Criticism of the trip had already been registered before the president's return. Last week the leader of the opposition, Salvador Illa (Catalan Socialists), expressed his concern about the frustrated meetings, while this weekend the general secretary of Junts, Jordi Turull, criticized the low political level of the meetings achieved.
According to the Catalan government spokesperson, "the tour has achieved the results expected". After affirming that Aragonès had met with five ministers and two ex-presidents, she summarized the tour by ensuring that "the president has met with more ministers in just nine days than the last Catalan presidents in the last 9 years" and that he "has been received in as many ministerial offices as all the members of the government in the last seven years".
The spokesperson included the meeting that Aragonés had with the Colombian foreign minister, Álvaro Leyva, with whom he met during the two hours in which he was waiting for the meeting with Petro at the presidential headquarters. In fact, the minister was expected to be present at the meeting, as was the Spanish ambassador. Also during that time he held a meeting with the finance minister, José Antonio Campo, at Palacio Nariño. In Argentina he met with the head of the Cabinet of Ministers, Agustín Rossi, at the Casa Rosada. In Chile he met with the finance minister, Mario Marcel, and the economy minister, Nicolás Grau. In Uruguay, Aragonès planned to meet with the vice president, Beatriz Argimón, but the meeting was delayed at the last moment and did not end up taking place. At that time, the president was due for another meeting with ex-president José Mujica.
Plaja also included in the overall balance the fact that the president met with two European commissioners in Brussels a few months ago and the meeting that the foreign minister held with a minister from Finland.