President Donald Trump has had one of the most controversial rises to power in the history of the United States of America. When Trump announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States on June 16, 2015, some people believed that he would eventually become president. Trump has also had an effect on foreign countries. Many of the foreign students here at Loy Norrix can shed light on how our neighbors and associates across the sea and around the world are feeling
Finnish Student is Concerned with Trump’s Ties with Russia
Senior Sarita Nieminen is a foreign exchange student from Finland. Nieminen has been in America since August 2016.
“I thought really America? Really?” Nieminen said about her first thoughts when she found out that Trump had been elected.
In Finland the people vote directly for the president while the parliament votes for the prime minister. Finland is considered a unitary parliamentary republic which is why there is a president as well as a prime minister.
“The current president is Sauli Niinistō who has been in office since 2012,” said Nieminen. “The prime minister usually handles the problems in the country while the president deals with foreign affairs.”
“We are a small country so we need the support of the west since we are right by Russia and with Trump as President, we might not have that support,” said Nieminen.
The New York Times recently wrote an article that talks about some of Trump’s campaign aides having communications with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.
“In Finland we think that he is a smart businessman and he is one of the types of people who only thinks about himself,” added Nieminen.
Bolivian Student Fears Deportation
“I was afraid I was going to get deported,” said Leonardo Gutierrez Caceres, a senior at Loy Norrix and foreign exchange student from Bolivia, of his first thoughts when he found out that Trump was elected.
“The current Bolivian president is Evo Morales and the vice-president is Alvaro Garcia-Linera,” said Caceres.
The Bolivian electoral system is very similar to that of the United States, but there are a few differences. According to the Political Database of the Americas, which is a website run by Georgetown University that contains information on all of the 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere. In Bolivia it is mandatory for the citizens to vote in presidential elections while in the United States it is not.
Evo Morales has been the president of Bolivia since 2006. President Morales is currently serving in his 3rd term that ends in 2019.
“In Bolivia we are afraid that we will no longer be allowed into the United States,” said Caceres, reflecting the fears of the Bolivian people on Trump’s presidency. “I wanted Hillary Clinton to win because I felt that she was a better fit to the presidency.”
Donald Trump beat out Hillary Clinton by 77 electoral votes. Prior to the election, Clinton was viewed as the favorite to become the next President of the United States.
Spanish Student Preferred Bernie Sanders
Sophomore Paula Diezguez Fernandez is a foreign exchange student from Spain. Fernandez has been in the United States since August 2016, but followed the election from home before she arrived.
“I wanted Bernie Sanders to win because I really liked his ideas,” said Fernandez.
Fernandez paid attention to the election before coming to the United States as did most of Spain. “My family and most of the people in Spain don’t like him [Donald Trump]. A lot of people think that he is racist and sexist,” said Fernandez.
Spain has a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy which includes a king and a queen as well as a prime minister.
“The current prime minister is Mariano Rajoy, the king is King Felipe XI, and the queen is Queen Letizia I,” said Fernandez regarding Spain’s monarchy and government, “In Spain the prime minister must win by 2 times more than the second place candidate.”
Mariano Rajoy has been the prime minister of Spain since 2011. In 2011 Rajoy beat Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, according to Wikipedia.
All of these countries have diplomatic relations with the United States. According to the U.S. Department of State, Finland-United States diplomatic relations began in 1919 following Finland’s declaration of independence from the Russian Empire. Bolivia-United States diplomatic relations began in 1849 following Bolivia’s independence from Spain. Spain-United States diplomatic relations began in 1783 but were briefly severed between 1898-1899 due to the Spanish-American war.
While all of these students are from around the world, Trump as president might still have an effect on their respective countries.
According to David Cord, an American journalist and author, many Finnish people fear that Trump and Vladimir Putin are a little too friendly with one another. During the Winter War Russia invaded Finland in 1939 in an attempt to claim parts of Finnish territory. There is the fear that Russia will begin to pressure Finland and attempt to achieve what Russia could not during the Winter War, which is domination of Finland. This would be possible because Russia would not fear American intervention due to the friendly relationship between Trump and Putin.
Miguel A. Buitrago’s blog, Mabblog, claims that Bolivia could be slightly affected by the withdrawal of the United States in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP.
According to The Local, the United States is currently Spain’s biggest trade partner outside of the European Union, better known as the EU. There are many fears that if Trump makes good on his word of cutting off U.S. involvement in the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), Spain would suffer, as it is one of the biggest beneficiaries in the deal.
The United States also has several bases in Spain which bring roughly $600 million dollars into the Spanish economy. However, Trump has stated that he wants to reduce military presence in foreign countries. This action could result in a great loss of money for the Spanish economy.
If Trump decides to take any radical actions against foreign countries with executive orders against travel like promised, Loy Norrix may be unable to continue hosting foreign exchange students anymore.