Spain: Confronting weaponry - A business that knows no crisis

26 April 2010

On 25 April 2010 Women in Black Madrid held a vigil on the theme of 'Confronting weaponry: A business that knows no crisis'.

Women in Black - Madrid

The weapons business is the most productive of the planet and the one to which the most economic resources and hours of research are dedicated. It is the business that causes the most death and destruction. The military-industrial complex has developed weapons with such power that it refutes the supposed defensive function of the armies, converting them into the greatest threat for the survival of humanity. The armed conflicts feed this terrible industry and at the same time one might ask if it is not also true that this industry feeds armed conflicts.

Last year in Spain more than 1,300 million dollars were exchanged in the business of arms, according to data of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an organization which makes accounting of the world commerce in heavy arms, placing Spain sixth on the scale of exporters, above countries like China and Israel. In the midst of full economic recession, while the real estate and automobile sectors were paralyzed, the sale of aircraft, armored vehicles, military vessels or artillery materiel grew by 53% in relation to the previous period.

In Spain, exportation of arms requires previous authorization from the government. However, given that these exports are considered classified information according to the Law of Official Secrets, almost no information is available.

Failing to comply with the code of conduct of the European Union, among the clients for arms from Spain are the following countries currently embattled in armed conflict (Colombia and Israel), with internal instability (Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka), countries that allocate more resources to military expenses than to health and education (Turkey, Pakistan, Jordan, Ecuador, Brazil and Angola), where human rights are not respected (Kenya, Singapore, Thailand), countries historically in conflict with one another (India and Pakistan), and including the poorest countries of the world (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Angola and Mauritania). Some of the above countries receive Official Aid for Development from Spain. First we conduct business and then we carry out the social work that the respective governments should do for themselves instead of spending money on weapons.

The five countries that are permanent members of the UN Security Council (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France and China) responsible for maintaining world peace and avoiding international armed conflict, nevertheless have enormous potential for nuclear destruction, and move 76% of the world commerce in arms.

For us, the only path is contrary to that which is being followed now: Disarmament. For this reason, we ask the government of Spain:

  • ease allocating funds for research on death weapons and direct those funds to research for peace and social development.
  • to respect the EU Code of Conduct, bearing in mind the criteria for human rights.
  • We ask civil society to be aware that the benefits to us generated by this sector cause war, destruction and misery for other people and countries.

    Translation: Trisha Novak, USA

Women in Black Madrid