Interview with Carlos E. Díaz Rosillo

Founding Director of the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom - Florida International University

Carlos E. Díaz Rosillo

Founding Director of the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom - Florida International University

Carlos Díaz Rosillo, a former official in Donald Trump’s administration, who was formerly the Director of Policy and Interagency Coordination in the White House, believes that the USA has turned its back on Latin America though the Latin American left has been able to sell its ideology very well. 

Recognising the importance of Tourism as a generator of employment and income in the Region in order to eradicate extreme poverty, Carlos Díaz Rosillo has pointed out the need to hold the “Americas’ Tourism Summit”. The event will take place on February 07 and 08, 2024. Authorities and tourism leaders from all the countries of the Americas will participate together with guest countries such as Spain, Portugal, and France. This summit will allow Latin American economic development. 

This international Congress is organised by the Tourism and Society Think Tank and the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom at Florida International University (FIU).

Before getting into international politics, what will the first Summit (still in the making) on the tourism sector mean for the future attraction of major foreign investment in Latin America?

The objective of this important event is to bring together ministers, authorities of tourism and commercial companies, as well as financial institutions that support the development of the Americas with the aim of contributing to the economic growth of the countries that make up this geographical area. All these stakeholders will develop and promote a plan of action that will help to attract investment. 

It will be held on 07 and 08 February and the idea is to do so every year. The Forum of the Americas, an independent institution that brings together the efforts and initiatives of the countries and leaders of the tourism industry, will also be presented. We will put into practice the adoption of institutionalised public-private partnerships for the social, economic, and cultural development of these countries, though, as I say, the promotion of good practices to stimulate the growth of tourism activity is the main priority.

Similarly, both organisations, Tourism and Society Think Tank and the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom, want to promote the exploratory-descriptive qualitative study of the institutional capacities of tourism management and thus promote the design, development, and implementation of tourism policies in the different territories.

What is your relationship with Ron DeSantis, the current governor of Florida since 2019 and who has just launched his candidacy for the White House? 

I  direct a leading think tank, the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom at Florida International University, created by the Florida State Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis. We aim to inform, influence, and inspire current and future leaders in the development and implementation of innovative public policies to promote economic freedom and prosperity. 

We try to provide our students with the tools to think critically about the importance of democracy and the free market system, not to indoctrinate them, but to let them know how a free-market system works. We have many academic programmes. For example, every semester, we bring to the Center four former public servants, who have served at the highest levels of government from all over the world, to teach and mentor our students.

We also organise public events, conferences, workshops, debates, research projects, and rigorous empirical studies to support decision-making. You asked me about Governor DeSantis.  I can tell you that he is a brilliant man who has done an extraordinary job as governor of Florida and who has a very clear vision for the direction of our country. He knows how to handle himself very well on the international stage.

Regarding the current vision of US foreign policy, what issues do you think a future Republican Administration could tackle and which would involve changes in foreign policy?

I think there are going to be many changes. What happens in Latin America has a direct impact on the USA. This Administration, and to be fair, many previous ones as well, have ignored Latin America. This disregard has been particularly serious in the current Administration.

In the few fields in which some attention has been paid, the focus has been misguided, such as the cases of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. In other cases, they are hitting some of our closest allies, such as Guatemala and Paraguay (the only governments that recognise Taiwan’s independence).  

What I have seen is the politicisation of foreign policy: giving preference to left-wing governments and punishing others. 

China is a threat to democracy, free markets and hemispheric security, and our Allies in the Western Hemisphere can help us fight against this threat. We could play a more constructive role in generating long-term economic growth in the region, which is why the Adam Smith Center for Economic Freedom is working to develop new strategies to promote economic freedom and prosperity in the hemisphere.

What will be the USA priorities in the reconfiguration of the European Security and Defence architecture?

The key to understanding the reconfiguration of Europe and the rest of the world is to assimilate the existence of a geopolitical problem between China and the USA which is getting specific attention. For decades, Republican and Democratic governments agreed on a rapprochement with China and integrating it into the international system. One of Trump’s great achievements has been to refocus the world's attention on the great danger that China poses to Western democracies. 

We are talking in the context of a new cold war. A conflict between two very different systems. Developing countries see the option of going with China as attractive because they are offered great benefits without delving into the clauses of their contracts, which are scandalous. Their incursion is global, as in Africa or Latin America. If the USA and the EU do not unite in the fight against China, we will be speaking Mandarin in the long run. China exercises influence because the USA has not paid attention to the Region and China is occupying that space. Spain could play an important role in Latin America if it wanted to.

Do you think the EU's actions in the Russo-Ukrainian War will lead to unprecedented attrition in the long term? Could there be a progressive decline in this support?

I don't see a big agenda for Europe in this unfortunate conflict. Trump was criticised for believing that NATO should increase its military spending if it wanted to be a strong organisation. Today, NATO can defend Ukraine effectively because the resources available came in part from the pressure exerted by Donald Trump. The idea was that European countries would pay more for better self-defence. And who would have thought that we had a war on the horizon?

And what is your opinion on the current USA involvement in the war in Ukraine: Is it going to be feasible to maintain military support in the long term? 

Support from all countries has been essential to curb Russia’s abuse, but the average American questions for how long this transfer of billions of dollars will continue. It is the American taxpayer’s money. Politicians will have to do a better job to justify the reasons to aid Ukraine. There will not to be a decrease, but there will be a greater and more effective level of auditing to justify the spending.  Accountability, in short, and for the Department of Defence to be able to justify it properly. The USA will continue to support Ukraine but not at indefinite cost.

Tell me about the significance of the recent agreement signed between the USA and Spain on migration.

For Washington, it is about relieving the migratory pressure on its border. I must admit that I don't understand why Spain is taking part in this. There is no great strategic benefit for Spain, so I don't see much logic in it. If the USA wants to curb illegal immigration, it should secure its border and, in parallel, create economic development plans in the Latin American countries of origin and help minimise extreme poverty levels. 

 How would you define current Spain-USA bilateral relations?

To be respectful of the Spanish government, I can affirm that with a Republican Administration and a Popular Party Administration, bilateral relations would be much more solid. They are governments that share many ideas. Relations could improve infinitely. It is already an exhausted period for the Spanish voter who is looking forward to a forceful change. I am no expert on Spanish politics, but I can clearly see from afar that there is enthusiasm for a new path. What will happen to the absentee ballot? Elections have never been held in the middle of summer. Is the desire for change going to manifest itself effectively, even if ordinary Spaniards are on holiday? That is the question. The situation is complicated when it comes to the postal vote, no doubt about it.

Author: Carmen Chamorro

Directive of the CIP/ACPE/Diploma in International Relations by the SEI/ member of ADESYD.

Published in Atalayar

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

This site uses cookies from Google to deliver its services and to analyze traffic. Information about your use of this site is shared with Google. By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies.