Covering everything from the major news of the week and burning social issues, to expat living and la vida local, EL PAÍS’ team of English-language bloggers offers its opinions, observations and analysis on Spain and beyond.

Spain and Portugal: neighbors or strangers?

Por: | 07 de abril de 2011

ZP nad Sócrates 
It has transpired many a time over the years. A Spanish person begins to vituperate against the French and when I ask whence surges this boiling bile toward the northern neighbor, the answer comes with a shrug: "Well, they just ignore us." In recent years a rather flimsy tennis-based explanation may have tended to crop up more often, but at root, Spanish hostility toward our Gallic cousins seems to be essentially a case of feeling spurned: here we are, looking gorgeous, tanned at a lively bar in the summery south, and the French boy just shrugs and returns to his interminable conversation with a somewhat thickset German girl.

Well, this is the way things go. All countries have to focus more in one direction than others to keep their bearings. Britain looks across the Atlantic and France has always been more conscientious in its efforts of trying to provide a cultural lead to the landmass of central Europe (not to mention two or three other continents) than bothering to see what was stirring the other side of the Pyrenees. And, for several centuries, the truth is that it wasn't missing much. Now things are different, and the French attitude should change; naturally. But my point is not French guilt or otherwise regarding trans-Pyrenean dealings. No. I am looking further west from Irún and imagining a similar conversation in a café in Porto or Lisbon. “What exactly do you have against the Spanish,” I would ask. “Well, they just ignore us." And could ever a truer word be spoken? 

Living in Spain, Portugal might as well not be there, and any visit to Extremadura should come with a warning not to stand too close to the end of the known world. Anyone who pines for a drop of port at Christmas will know what I mean, with only the Corte Inglés gourmet store (if you have on near) offering a meager selection of the wonderful sweet wine. The languages are so similar and yet those flattened vowels are largely absent from the airwaves or the stage. With the death of Saramago, the Nobel laureate resident in the Canaries, a literary link has been lost. Ask someone living in Spain (and I include myself) to name a living Portuguese writer, and they will most likely flounder. 

Ibero-Socialists Zapatero and Sócrates seemed to enjoy a fraternal rapport, with much talk of a Madrid-Lisbon high-speed train route, despite the serious doubts over whether there is much desire for such a service. But how poignant that now, in Portugal's greatest hour of need, heartless neighbor Spain simply cannot be seen in her company for fear of confirming some kind of Iberian curse, proving that inferior coin is the inevitable order of the day south of the Pyrenean divide.

With the humiliation of following the Greeks and Irish in asking for a European bailout now seemingly inevitable, the Portuguese will hang their heads a little heavier as they walk down high streets where Zara rubs shoulders with El Corte Inglés (that’s how they get the port wine). The Portuguese seem to have little choice but to admire their successful and dynamic neighbor, and even ponder idly the possibility of an Iberian federation, as was supported by Saramago. A survey published this week shows that the number of people on both sides of the border in favor of forming a union between Spain and Portugal is actually on the rise.

Busquets and Ronaldo 

The latest Barómetro de Opinión Hispano-Luso, carried out by Salamanca’s Social Analysis Center, reveals that 46 percent of Portuguese (up from 40 percent in 2009) and 31 percent of Spaniards (up a shade from 30 percent), claim they would support some form of Iberian federation. It would certainly produce a strong soccer team, although Spaniards might blanche at the prospect of glory boy Cristiano Ronaldo ruining the all-conquering harmony of La Roja.

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Al contrario, el idioma portugues es hablado oficialmente en cinco continentes, por 280 millones de personas, en 10 países.

Todo el mundo esta aprendiendo el idioma portugues por la importancia economica de la lengua portuguesa. China, Japón, India, Estados Unidos hacen mucho intercambio con Brasil (sexta economía mas fuerte del mundo), Angola, Mozambique, los motores económicos de la Africa porque ellos son super ricos en recursos naturales: petróleo, oro, plata, diamantes, cafe, azúcar, y muchas cosas mas - Mozambique es un país muy rico también por la misma razón. El idioma portugués esta siendo aprendido como segunda, o tersa lengua en todo el mundo: Japón, China, India, Estados Unidos, Francia, la Africa del sur, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico, Namibia, Senegal, Estados Unidos, Canada, Inglaterra, Colombia, Andorra, Luxembourg, y España, si España.

El idioma portugues es el mas hablado en el hemisferio sur, y es el ters aidioma europeo mas hablado. Portugues es el idioma mas hablado an la america del sur por 51%

Y CPLP es la comunidad de países de habla portuguesa. Esta entidad tiene su propios juegos olímpicos, algo parecido a los juegos del commonwealth británica.

El idioma Portuguese sirve en todo el mundo - español no, solo en las Americas punto! Y muchos países hispanos todavía están en la miseria económica, especialmente los de la America central.

El español sólo está creciendo en número de hablantes, nada mas. Eso no lo va convertir en una lengua influyente, o al menos no le va bastar. Otra razón es que los principales países hispano parlantes no pesan ni económica ni políticamente a nivel global, ni siquiera España está bien posicionado. Tampoco hay muchos productos fabricados en países hispanos que se vendan por el mundo, pocas importaciones, en conclusión, es una lengua poca demanda. Que hayan más países o mas hablantes de español es algo muy superficial.

Portugal is the most Hateful and Racist place on earth dude, or is it simply easier for you to Ignore that Truthful Fact??? From what i see, Portuguese are Constantly spewing anti-Spanish hate comments from their mouths in Canada so cut-the-crap with the poor innocent Portuguese routine, it's old and nobody is buying that crap anymore!
*Portugal started the Global Slave trade in 1441 and it's NOT safe for a black person anywhere there are Portuguese to date! Simply put, You Hate Blacks:

Poortugal is the biggest Xenophobic, racist, anti-Spanish country on the planet! Their ignorant minds are trained from a young age to belittle and insult Spain and they think their comments exist in a vacuum and they never measure their words, never. It's like talking to a 5 year old whenever you have the unfortunate circumstance of talking to one of these clowns; sad - like Pedro, tuga, Ica and Dylan who are the same person spewing hate commentary on youtube). Currently, local police and youtube are investigating the perfectly planned anti-Spanish hate coming from Purtugal and this one person army from the Partido Nacional Renovador doing it en masse on the web will be brought to justice soon.

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What a prick, you are one of those english that shouldn't have a passport.....

The Spaniards did not hate France feel despised by the French, that's absurd, the hatred to France is much deeper and goes beyond ..... it is a historical hatred, and the same goes for Britain and United States,the reason? past wars and the feeling of "still owe me" do you understand what I mean? in the same way that Britain and France remain hostile to Spain pora territorial, economic, colonial issues etc
Then James, is simple, you has no idea what he's talking better engaged your time to other than writing stupid demagogy.

But nothing against Spain - great and good People and peoples.

He is only a man with an inferiority complex and hate speech (here he puts the same 100% phrases but, here, with more respect to the name of the Portuguese and Portugal, contrary to YouTube) but the rest of the speechs are copy-past in majority, obessed with the Portuguese. Give us alone and get terapy and help.

Here in Portugal, maybe the autorities will check the multi-accounts and trolling behaviour in internet in this case and others, Maybe!

Hugs and regards to Spain, from Portugal!

This guy bellow vende toallas-Rui Costa (the same Spanish guy) -the same copy past long speech - the same all argues and resonings, 100% all of them, the same vocabulary (100%) and al al copy-past speechs (you can check in YouTube - exacley the same, heve been reported in YouTube for many multi-accounts and xenophobic, racist and hate speech against the Portuguese People and against Portugal´s name (literaly). He made also bullying, psycologic abuse over users, and threatened to kill people in Youtube. He then runs away as coward with his multi-accounts (since then).

By the way, comparing medieval disnatic fights Scotland-England-France-Castille-Aragon-Portugal, the 100 years war, the religious cisma - the Pope of Rome and the Pope of Avignon, and division and alliances in these kingdoms over all of these, the 1383-85 Revolution and war, with alliances on colonial powerr rivalry centuries later and Napoleonic wars its rubbish and lies. England had nothing against Castile and Aragon at the time (later medieval times) or Iberian nations, under on the contrary, and the equilibrium of forces in Europe were other.

He is also a xenophobe against British peoples. Other thing: He forget that was Spain (not only btw) who helped directly USA war of independence (open an historical independentist precedent) and he is admired with the indirect (not direct) british aid to independentism in latin-America.

Abd by the England had not yet past Greeland and Newfound land (Spain and France(corsaries) already were surpassed that, and Portugal already was the First Global Empie and had the biggest and power Armadas in the world (Famous India Armadas) for over all the Atlantic and Indian Ocean and beyond in the beggining of the 16th century, rulling alone there.

Every country , even Portugal, has something to teach to everyone else. Someone said before that Spain has nothing to teach to Portugal and that's why they keep their eye on other countries like England. Well, that's good. I admit that the the British have been great culture creators, but as I said every country has something valuable and something to teach.
It's your fault as a backward country to not find anything valuable in Spain. That's the reason why you are known as the ass of Europe. In the end, why did you learn from those mighty northern European countries appart from old fashioned imperialism? I wish you were a brighter pupil even if Spain was not your teacher so you would not end up being such a Spain's embarrasing neighbour. Spanish regions close to the border like Extremadura are in an agonic situation in part because Portugal hardly represents a chance for them to do business. Even Morocco seems more attractive for andalusian companies than the dying Portuguese economy.

The comment below illustrates "perfectly" the type of a) hate, b) ignorance, c) arrogance and d) anger that the Portuguese typically have of the Spanish. This can be typically heard 24-7 mostly in Canada and the U.S.A. where there are actual anti-Spanish hate promoter networks at play. The hate networks are the product of the Anglo-Saxons (better known as the English which also includes the Americans since they are of the same shit but of a different English pile). The origins and cultivation of this anti-Spanish HATE started with the Anglo-Luso Alliance that has eaten away what little brains the Portuguese had left for an excess of 700 years. The British in their blood-thirst to conquer the planet enlisted the Portuguese to aid them. The Portuguese wanting to be more than their Spanish brothers and sisters agreed to be Satans little helper.

The Anglo-Saxons (English) stole virtually everything that Spain had territory wise and their blood thirsty appetite was insatiable! The Spanish owned 70% of North America and the English and Americans little by little, bit by bit STOLE everything in their site! They also created the Masonic-Based revolutions in Central and South America, and IF that wasn't enough, they also stole all of Spain's South East possessions as well (Filipine Islands, and swaths of Pacific Ocean Islands etc.) They even stole Spains colony in Taiwan! It was bloody war after bloody war after bloody war.The list is soo great that my hand would hurt to write it all out on here! What is worse, is that the Anglo-Saxons invented the Black Legend and made ludicrous stories that the Spanish killed indigenous people and enslaved blacks etc. WHEN the Anglo-Saxons have single-handedly killed MORE Indigenous people on the planet, not just when they conquered them, but still TODAY! Today the Anglo-Saxons have the legacy of "politely destroying" the Indigenous tribes in Canada, U.S.A., New Zealand, Australia and they do this with warm smiles & Polite sounding Propaganda Lies from the MANY Spin-doctors they have in their employ ( the same ones with the network of promoting anti-Spanis HATE worldwide with lies, keeping the Indigenous populations living in third world conditions while whitey lives a lavish lifestyle of Apple IPods and McDonbald's etc.) while keeping the Indigenous people living in RESERVATIONS, where they have the HIGHEST recidivism rates, HIGFHEST suicide rates, highest alcohol abuse and drug abuse rates on the planet! That's not even mentioning the Residential School Legacy in Canada of Sexual Abuse!!! The Anglo-Saxons also has vast networks of slave traders, ships etc. to bring to all their colonies and even the American Civil War was fought over the LOVE the Anglo-Saxons have of slaves and violating human rights!
As a Portuguese man I am ashamed and appalled that my country of Portugal has as a Premier business partner the Anglo-Saxons! Part of it's 3 pillars of Foreign Policy is Britain and the U.S.A. - DISGUSTING!! The absolute disgust I have for the Anglo-Saxons and what they have done to my country is beyond words. These Demonic entities have taken my country and turned it into a foot soldier for their evil, and in the process we have abandoned, ignored, alienated our ONLY true brothers the Spanish! The Anglo-Saxons GREATEST fear back then and still today is that one day Portugal's people would AWAKEN from their 700 year slumber and UNITE once and for all with their Spanish brothers and we would be much GREATER than the Anglo-Saxons! This is WHY we have been fed lies, hate, jealousy etc., about our Spanish brothers. The Anglo-Saxons work on a platform of Divide-and-Conquer all the time with warm smiles, b.s. propaganda and hate networks throughout the globe. Their Spying & LYING CONSTANTLY on EVERYBODY in order to keep their Demonic Empire intact. The fact that Portugal has been a great partner in this Demonic end-game with the Anglo-Saxons sickens me to my body's core. Edward Snowden is a HERO and he is just one of what will probably be MANY more to come out with the TRUTH about HOW the Anglo-Saxons operate. Their Spying on Germany, France, Spain (all rivals just to mention a few here) again with warm smiles, hand-shakes, b.s. propaganda etc.
What is my country of Portugal doing about this?? NOTHING!!!! The SAME anti-Spanish paid hate promoters go to work daily on Youtube, International on-line sites, local, provincial and national newspapers on the globe and continue to spread the anti-Spanish HATE and LIES we are told to spread by the Anglo-Saxons, and we OBEY like good little children awaiting their afternoon Bifana and Zumol.
I challenge all of my people living in both Canada and the U.S.A. to extend their hands in friendship with our Spanish brothers and sisters and cut the crap with the Nao Bom vento e cassamento b.s. already! This is 2013, not 500 years ago! FUCK England, FUCK the Americans and their twisted Demonic LIES. The time has come for my people of Portugal to kick these Anglo-Saxons out of our minds, our homes, and our beautiful country because they have done enough damage to us all!


the spanish dont now anything about portuguese, so i will teach them some things, arigato is from the word obrigado witch means than you, nagasai was founded by portuguese, the 5 oclock tea was created not by english but by portuguese queen living in england, tea was brought from canton via macau china, macau was first european colony in china, the english sold us cloth, wool for wine, port wine, we introduced british opium trade with china witch made them wealthy and us poorer, the english traded goods like we traded goods, with china, the spanish killed and terrorized people in south america, england never invaded portugal, or bombed lisbon, spanish invaded portugal, sometimes with france 52 times since 1358, galiza was part of portugal, galiza is still one of the poorest parts of spain because it was ignored and still is... the spanish where never good at trading, never good at producing goods, because they isolated themselfs and never cared about learning anything from french or other europeans because of their arrogance and their kings arrogance, thats why spanish cuisine is still poor thats why they absorbed very late new ideas from france and rest europe thats why they still today only speak spanish when most nowledge is in english, and english world is most interesting of all, and thats why they became poor, we became poor with spain, because we had spain as our neighbor we never traded goods with spain because it was impossible, every 5 years there was an invasion. spanish love blood, like bull fighting, we hate it. spanish dont understand our poetry, or know anything about us. we eat more fish then bacalau, the portuguese guitar is a mix of english citar our food is varied and has lots spices because of india and ceylon, chocolate was invented in portugal by portuguese jews, portuguese jews where expelled from portugal because of spain, portuguese jews started the dutch east indies company in holland that destroyed our empire and almost destroyed Brazil, velasquez father was portuguese, spinoza was a portuguese jew, portuguese jews controlled european banking for almost 300 years before the rothschilds, we had almost 100 years of war with dutch, and english because of being tied with spain, spain robbed us north african cities, spanish refuse to speak portuguese in portuguese speaking countrys sometimes 10 years after living there, these are just facts no bullshit, in the 90s madredeus had some fame in spain, no musucian from spain had such luck here in recent times since scarlatti came from spain, most portuguese say they dont like spanish but they never met one, most portuguese would not mind having a union with spain if they could kep their language and culture or if the spanish would speak portuguese, actually if the spanish would spea portuguese it was spain that would have turn into portuguese country and not the other way around or a union...

we Portuguese admire Italians for their culture and we where allies from the British because ships, cloth, and civilized manners but most of all because they had something to teach us, the Spanish on the other side lived next door and all we wanted was for them to stay the fuck away, we dont like their language, music, food, and they tried to put us down like the arrogant s they are, ugly fuckers, all the time, can you imagine if we had to change our culture witch is animal friendly, our beautiful language and culture and music for their bullfighting love for blood, gypsy north african type of culture, our economy always suffered because of them they suffocated us by land and sea, war after war, invasion after invasion we went bankrupt several times because of that, do you think any country who does not have anything good to teach anybody, and just offers pain, economic hardship, bigotry is a good partner in anything? even today how many joint ventures or bussynesses have the spanish or where started by spanish? none to few, spanish steal most of what they mae because they have nothing to give the world, we on the other hand have, most times is stolen or adulterated, thats reason why we had to open businesses in north europe to sell goods, and spanish didnt bought our goods they needed because they would have to actually pay us, and thats bad, they consider themselfs superior to us, so they have to put us down, they are so dumb they dont understand that maing us poor is making themselfs poor, whats the country on this planet who had a good view of spain or the spanish? and if we are poor is because we are cornered by land and sea, and isolated from rest europe, the spanish dont have nothing to teach the world, if they had something to teach nobody we would have already their knowledge, many of the idiots we have in our country must have spanish ancestors, portuguese culture shows we are the exact opposite, we absorbed everything we entered in contact with, that's why our food is a mix of indian african chinese american, and with those people we traded and shared everything and absorbed everything, they say arigato in nagasaki, a portuguese founded city, and yet spanish cant say obrigado in portugal, being rude is a spanish thing, how many spanish know we founded nagasaki? or macau in china? and that says alot, also Portugal is always, and was always a unity, a unity that kept Brasil a country, Spain is a fragmented country filled with bigots who think they are better then us, but make nothing better then us, i would like the spanish to really be better then us so we could learn something from or with them, better culture, something... hey spanish lets make our countrys better ah? lets make joint ventures, companys, something, nothing, yet when they see we are doing business in africa there they come the leaches going there, like the colonizers of the ex colonizers spewing European arrogance in Angola or Mozambique a very advanced country that is so much better then Portugal... what do they have nothing to give Africa, or sell Africa, or make Africans lifes better, or their culture, nothing, i would love the Spanish to show me something that makes me fall in love with their culture, maybe i could forget they are so arrogant towards us, but in fact they make simple red wine but we make port wine/

Los Portugueses de mierda son unos hijos de su puta madre que siempre han lamido el ano de sus amiguitos Ingleses para mas de 700 años.
En Canada son la escoria y todos dias se lo pasan hablando gilipolleces anti-Españolas por que no pueden ellos mismos con la embidia de que su pais (y Azores) son una puta mierda de caballo en comparacion de la historia, cultura, riqueza social Española. Y eso ni mencionando que jamas su selecion de futbol-mierda a ganado una Copa comparado con las 3 Euro Copas y 1 Copa Mundial que gano España! Esta parte les comen los sesos todas las noches antes de ir a dormir jajajaja.

Putugal es la mierda en el zapato de todos los Ingleses y hasta su colonia del ayer Brazil les han sobrepasado economicamente, en futbol, en estatus social...ahyyyy Putugal :(

Vão todos os espanhóis mamar na teta traseira de um boi, querem Portugal, sempre tentaram conquistar Portugal, mas nós sempre os derrotamos!!! A nossa cultura é nossa e jamais o devemos misturar com espanhóis. De Espanha nem bom vento, nem bom casamento!!!

Nosotros Espanoles respetamos a los Portugueses mucho, y el idioma Portugues es super bonito y muy, my entendible para todos los hispano hablantes. Portugues es un idioma que es hablado en cuatro continentes por 240 milliones de personas (es el quinto idioma mas hablado del mundo).

No entendemos los Italianos como muchas personas piensan. La similitud entre Portugues y Espanhol es muy fuerte, pero no es asi entre Italiano y Espanol. Los Italianos son muy arogantes.

Los Portugueses son como los Espanoles en todo, cultura, idioma, cocina, religion, historia, maneira de ser, etc., - somos practimente la misma gente. Los Portugueses son nuestros verdaderos hermanos.

Portugal es un pais maravillso. El idioma Portugues es super bonito, y muy hablado en el planeta - 240 milliones de hablantes. Brasil tiene la quinta economia mas fuerte del mundo, y los paises de habla Portuguesa como Angola, Mozambique son poderes economicos en la Africa. China hace mucho intercambio con todo los paises donde se habla Portugues - los Chinos tambien estan aprendiendo Portugues. Tenemos que respetar el idioma Portugues porque hoy en el dia es in idioma super importante.

I have noticed that the Portugee are the BIGGEST anti-Spanish racists on the planet! This is primarily due to the fact that they have been bed-buddies and living under the Brittish skirts for Over 700+ years? Historically, the Brittish used the Portugee to help them steal from the Spanish overseas colonies and steal the colonies themselves (Bahamas, Jamaica, Gibraltar etc. too many to mention here actually). Now that the Brittish have "economically" abandoned the Portugee they attempt to compare themselves to Spain by Pretending that they have a great soccer team with the likes of Ronaldo. The only problem is that the Portugee national soccer team has NEVER won a single European Cup or World Cup and they NEVER will because in order to do that they would need a squad full of all-star players and not just Ronaldo. This last point apparently is VERY difficult for the Purtugee to digest and understand so they insult, and throw racial slurs toward the Spanish 24-7 (especially in Canada where the Portugee think they are special). The bulk of the Spaniards just laugh and IGNORE the Portugee's Ignorance. After all, Spain have Won 3 European Cups and 1 World Cup in soccer as compared to Portugee's Z-E-R-O Cups. I typically stay the hell away from the Ignorant Portugee (too much hate they have inside of them and it is explosive and unpredictable!).

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Portuguese people especially in Canada and USA are total and complete Anti-Spanish racists! 95% of Portugee are constantly HATING Spaniards with insults mostly directed at the Fact that Spain has Won 3 European Championships and 1 World Cup and the seleceao do cu has Z-E-R-O Cups. This Fact eats away at their Azorian brains and keeps them up at night sleepless yet with such a shit national soccer team they Still Compare themselves to Spain's AWESOME soccer prowes. Spanish people in Canada and USA just Ignore the Portugee and Laugh at their Ignorance for the Most part; it's actually quite funny :)

Funny Article i am Portuguese and reading this was like reading an Article from another Dimension.But it is very interesting because it show us what hapenends in a Anglo-Saxon Brain.

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hank you so much for all the free desktops. I look forward to the new one every month. In fact, all of my students come running into my classroom on the 1st to see what the new one will look like!

the Portuguese will hang their heads a little heavier as they walk down high streets where Zara rubs shoulders with El Corte Inglés

Thank you for sharing with us. The content is very good and helpful for me, I learn
great stuff, thanks a lot

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Chris Finnigan is a freelance journalist based in Barcelona. He writes for Barcelona Metropolitan and is a book reviewer and reader for The Barcelona Review. He is a graduate of the London School of Economics. You can find him on twitter @chrisjfinnigan

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