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About Fernando Betancor

Fernando Betancor is an American economist living in Madrid, Spain. He is an active member of Democrats Abroad and an advocate of political and economic liberalism. He publishes articles on his website Common Sense and tweets @fdbetancor

Fernando Betancor es un economista norteamericano residente en Madrid. Es miembro activo de Democrats Abroad y defensor del liberalismo político y económico. Publica artículos en su website Common Sense y tuitea en  @fdbetancor

Articles by Fernando Betancor

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

The Second Amendment and democracy

Could our democracies be on the wane and our rights under attack because we are less willing to take up arms to die and kill for our country?

Brexit: all bad options

From its inception, the referendum has suffered from a fundamental misalignment: it is not asking the right questions. "Leave" and "Remain" are stark contrasts in a world that never presents binary choices.

Bernie wins big, but does it mean anything?

The American voter is being offered a much more informed choice than if Mr. Sanders had simply gone back to Vermont after 'Super Tuesday'.

Brasil en caída libre

En vez de vivir el año triunfal que había previsto, Brasil ha entrado en el año de la ingobernabilidad. English

Brazil in free fall

This was supposed to be a triumphal year for Brazil. Instead, Brazil has entered the year of ungovernability. Español

Extend-and-pretend comes to the refugee crisis

Erdogan is not doing this just for the money. Turkey is legitimately concerned about its security situation and needs European and American help to resolve it.

Coalition air strikes and the Sunni 'endgame' in Syria, Iraq

The pattern of strikes by the disjointed US-led coalition of Operation Inherent Resolve remains the best and most reliable public indicator of intentions and future operations in the short-term.

To the shores of Tripoli

Great Britain and Italy are preparing to send ground troops to Libya, and American troops will likely be involved eventually – ironic developments given western intervention helped create a failed state in Libya in the first place.

Spanish fragmentation continues after the elections

Spain is facing several weeks of political paralysis before somebody gets to form a government – with or without new elections. But fragmentation and dysfunction will continue in the coming years. Español.

Fragmentación a la española

España se enfrenta a semanas de parálisis política antes que, con nuevas elecciones o sin ellas, alguien consiga formar gobierno. Pero la fragmentación y las disfunciones continuarán en los próximos años. English

Outside the box: a Sunni endgame in Syria, Iraq?

A series of related events point to a possible endgame scenario in Syria and Iraq.

French regional elections warn of an impending disaster for the EU

For the first time in its history the Front National is a legitimate contender in French politics. What does this mean for France and Europe as a whole?

La tragedia interminable del Día de Colón

La celebración del Día de Colón no es de recibo. La colonización trajo consigo una inmensa tragedia que hay que empezar a recordar. English, Português.

The Continuing Tragedy of Columbus Day

The celebration of Columbus Day is not acceptable. The colonization brought with it an immense tragedy that it is necessary to start remembering. Español. Português. 

A tragédia interminável do dia de Colombo

A celebração do Dia de Cristóvão Colombo não e aceitável. A colonização trouxe consigo uma imensa tragédia que há que começar a recordar. English. Español.

Catalonia update: adéu Espanya?

Spain cannot continue ignoring the democratic, peaceful and repeated demands of Catalans for a referendum; continued obstinacy will ensure the rupture.

Catalonia: butifarra-slicing towards independence

How does Catalonia plan to gain independence without provoking a reactionary backlash? By using subtle, inconspicuous 'butifarra-slicing' tactics to slowly approporiate key institutions.

Outside the box: is the Islamic State close to victory?

Many facts belie the myth that Islamic State is on its back heel, and its longevity, proximity to Damascus, as well as the weakness of its enemies mean that it may wreak yet more havoc.

Catalonia's regional elections: scenarios for independence

Should the pro-independence parties win a majority in the regional elections on 27 September, what would happen next? Here are a few scenarios on how the independists may use their popular mandate to secede from Spain.

Germany's demographic challenge

Germany is by no means an unstoppable juggernaut, and the re-erection of trade barriers across the continent and a return to a strong Deutschmark would ravage the economy.

The outline of a “deal”

Imagine if the US states had rejected the Constitution and opted to keep the Articles of Confederation; Europe remains in this embryonic, weak and unstable state.

Nothing in politics is an accident

“More cynically (or realistically) the Hellenes must be kept in the NATO orbit and timely aid is the best guarantor of it.”

Mourning hymn of the Republic

Reactions to the terrorist activities of a white supremacist in Charleston serve as a timely reminder that “post-racial” America is still a long way off.

Spanish election: analysis of an earthquake

The Spanish regional and local elections have sent shockwaves through the country. What happens now?

Catalonia vote: first reactions

Artur Mas was suitably elated at the turnout, while Mariano Rajoy continues to denounce the "referendum" and its leaders.

The rise and fall of states

Why do states form, and why do they collapse?

Catalan independence: the necessary choice

After many years of beating our heads against the wall of the Spanish state, trying to reform it into something more multi-national, we’ve come to the conclusion that it is best to simply jump over that wall. Interview with the Catalan National Assembly (Assemblea Nacional Catalana).

Just who are Podemos?

Who are the people voting for Podemos? An analysis of election data reveals some surpising results.

The Last King of Spain?

After 39 years on the throne, Juan Carlos de Borbón has announced his abdication of the Spanish Crown in favor of his son, Felipe. But with leftist, republican and independence movements brewing, could Felipe be the last King of Spain?

Can Europe survive without Britain?

Most commentators have asked, “Can Britain survive without Europe?” Perhaps the opposite question is more pertinent.

Spain and Catalonia: an Iberian dilemma

PM Mariano Rajoy has refused even to acknowledge the possibility of a Catalan referendum on independence. Does he realise that his options to save the integrity of the Spanish state are dwindling?

La Serenissima

What Europe needs is a re-engagement of her citizens in the integration project: Europe needs to start making Europeans again.

The destruction of the commons

These tools are too powerful for governments not to use. John Boehner, Dick Cheney and Nancy Pelosi – who agree on nothing – have agreed to defend the legality of the NSA program. That’s positive: the rules of surveillance and the supervision of the snoopers might need to be re-written.

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