The good intentions that Pedro Sánchez showed upon arriving as Prime Minister about limiting arms exports to regimes that violate human rights lasted a few months. In the summer of 2018, the Government de facto froze arms exports to Saudi Arabia and did not authorize a single sales contract to this country for the rest of the year. The 2019 export data, however, show how after that first semester the Executive multiplied by 30 the authorizations to export to Riyadh: of the 13.2 million authorized in 2018 – all during the first semester, when the PSOE was not yet at the head of the Executive- it went to more than 392 million in 2019.
This is shown in the Spanish statistics on defense material export for the last two years, which will be presented this Monday afternoon in Congress by the Secretary of State for Commerce, Xiana Margarida Méndez. The documentation indicates between 2018 and 2019 the authorizations for Spanish arms exports to the world reached a record figure: 21,825 million euros. Exports made in this period reached a value of 7,880 million, making 2019 the third year with the most exports in history.
The Control Arms Campaign has warned that between 2018 and 2019 arms sales are on the rise and found that the Sanchez government granted more than 20 licenses to export arms to Saudi Arabia in 2019 and that the Spanish prime minister might be “complicit in committing crimes under international law”.
Despite campaigns calling for an end to the sale of weapons to certain countries, successive Spanish governments have allowed the Spanish war industry to continue to increase its sales. In a report released on Friday, the Control Arms Campaign – formed by Amnesty International, Greenpeace, Oxfam, and FundiPau – has called for “the suspension of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel” claiming that “The government might be involved in crimes under international law”.