June 19th, 2012
12:22 PM ET

Spain vs. Uganda in Twitterverse

By Fareed Zakaria

We know that texting while driving is dangerous. Spain's prime minister learned recently that texting while negotiating a bank bailout is also a bad idea.

Mariano Rajoy reportedly typed out this message to his finance minister: "We're the number four power in Europe. Spain is not Uganda."

I don't know how it leaked out, but Ugandans have taken their dissatisfaction to Twitter using the hashtag, "Uganda Is Not Spain."

One Ugandan tweeted, "Dear Spain, I would rather live on Ugandan bananas than beg for loans. How's the austerity soup?" Another said, "Hello, pot, this is the kettle. You're black."

Now, we did a little comparison of our own anyway. Uganda's economy will grow at over 4 percent this year. Spain's will contract by almost 2 percent. Uganda's public debt is 25 percent of GDP. Spain's is 68 percent. In the last five years alone, the average Ugandan's income has increased 15 percent. The average Spaniard saw his contract by 6 percent.

One Spaniard may have gone overboard tweeting, "If only we were Uganda." Well, Uganda's economy is one hundredth the size of Spain's.

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Topics: Africa • Economy • Europe

soundoff (67 Responses)
  1. Aaron Chaney

    Romney vs. Frankenstein (Obama)

    Put simply, better the devil you don't know. Vote Romney.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
    • EatYouAlive

      Romney supporters are sounding eerily like Ron Paul drones. LOL

      June 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Reply
    • israel

      how about no, romney is just another bush and thats the last thing we need

      June 20, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
      • guest

        just what the economy needs, a guy who got rich laying off people. get your head checked.

        June 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Mbele Mbele Oulou

      You ah tupid. How tupid? Very tupid

      June 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • Mbele Mbele Oulou

      wewe ni mgonjwa dinkey

      June 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Reply
  2. Billy

    Yes, I am sure all five Ugandans who have access to twitter were just up in arms. Oh and Aaron, voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil and it is equally stupid. Libertarian all the way.

    June 19, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • Ugandan

      Billy, ignorant billy. Did you single handedly open those 5 accounts for us? Your shallow mindedness is noted.

      June 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
      • Esther

        Love your comment :-))

        June 19, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
      • EatYouAlive

        The Ugandan internet cafe must be packed!

        June 19, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
      • Billy

        Oh big man hiding behind an anon tag, that is so amusing. And I stand by what I said, if it wasn't for the millions in aid we, not by most tax payer's choice mind you, that joke of a nation you inhabit would be even less relevant than it already is. So sorry if that is 'ignorant' but truth hurts.

        June 19, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • ugandan

      Really? Aid? You want to talk about aid! Puuleez! China is keeping your behinds functioning and you are preaching to others about aid. You are still shallow minded

      June 21, 2012 at 2:17 am | Reply
      • USone

        China owns 8.6% of US debt, the majority of US debt is owned by US citizens. 15% of Uganda's GDP (which is already pretty insignificant) is supported by aid.

        June 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  3. Aaron Chaney

    Aaron Chaney = moron

    June 19, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  4. rob

    Plus Uganda is a repulsive, bigoted country that oppresses and persecutes its gay citizens. What a cesspool Uganda, and most of Africa, is.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • QS

      True. With a human rights record such as Uganda has, why are they even given consideration to be members of anything?

      June 19, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Reply
      • Robert J

        Oh, and the US is such a gleaming example of equality and justice, aren't we?

        June 20, 2012 at 11:08 am |
      • israel

        we're a damn lot beter than uganda is that's for sure

        June 20, 2012 at 11:57 am |
      • ugandan

        Your country abuses human rights too, both american people's rights as well as other nationals human rights. Stop being all self righteous. You guys should not be posting anything on the GPS blog because clearly your view of the world is miopic

        June 21, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • Jamie

      Don't categorize every African nation and person just because you live in your own sheltered world, you uneducated person. Go and see with your own eyes before you let your judgmental self talk about things you don't know.

      June 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
      • israel

        i have seen it, uganda is a disgusting place to live

        June 20, 2012 at 11:58 am |
      • King Solomon

        I have seen it too. It is a wonderful country with great people. Unlike many in America !

        June 21, 2012 at 6:56 am |
      • Larry of the Dune

        I have seen islamic countries and they still live in caves.

        June 22, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • EatYouAlive

      People are people. Ignorant people are ignorant, not evil.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
      • Larry of the Dune

        Ignorant people can be evil.

        June 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Billy

      Stop logically thinking Rob the lemming masses will hiss at you! :)

      June 20, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
      • SillyBilly


        June 24, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  5. David in Oregon

    I have been to both places. Spain is wonderful. In fact I am returning in October for a visit, Ojala. And, Mr Minister, I've been to Uganda several times–and they are the best people in the world–Yeee, SSabo!

    June 19, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • Todd in DC

      As long as you arent gay. Otherwise, they will kill you, with no penalty from the government. Nice. Real nice.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:27 am | Reply
  6. j. von hettlingen

    It's funny how Mariano Rajoy was ridiculed. Of course there are always two ways to see the joke: out of Spanish or Uganda point of view! The fuss has been all about nationalism and chauvinism.

    June 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  7. RoFo

    People, you need to dig deeper about the stereotypes the western media instils in you about Africa. Uganda is a beautiful country, not at the level of Spain or US economically, but is a wonderful place to live happily and debt-free. Democracy is vibrant unlike other so-called democracies dictated by big corporations and two parties. There are poorer people in developed countries who are deep in debt unlike in Uganda where one can be poor but swimming in debt. Do some research guys before believing what your fellow media men tell you what you want to hear or think and to serve the big corporations interests.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Reply
    • EatYouAlive

      Geez, the whole gambit. Western media demonization and big corporate fear. I think I'll stick to the western hemisphere.

      June 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Reply
    • MZ

      You really got it right on this. I mean i don't know who you are or where you are from but after reading through all the comments here this was the most reasonable one that stood out to me as it points out some very interesting key things about the topic while looking at both sides with a more independent and critical way of investigation into the issue. Spain is clearly not Uganda and Uganda is also NOT Spain. In Spain you are better than Ugandans due to the high rate of Stress and Depression cases . And Ugandans are not only Happy but also Stress and Depression FREE.......Rajoy could still be able to get the LOAN without using Uganda as an excuse to be approved by the Eurozone..

      July 2, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Reply
  8. RoFo

    People, you need to dig deeper about the stereotypes the western media instils in you about Africa. Uganda is a beautiful country, not at the level of Spain or US economically, but is a wonderful place to live happily and debt-free. Democracy is vibrant unlike other so-called democracies dictated by big corporations and two parties. There are poorer people in developed countries who are deep in debt unlike in Uganda where one can be poor but not engulfed by debt. Do some research guys before believing what your fellow media men tell you what you want to hear or think and to serve the big corporations interests.

    June 19, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  9. Indigo_blu

    Poor so-called Western Hemisphere, bewildered by their falling idols, helpless before the truth. Who cares about stereotypes when the reality is that Uganda with its immense oil reserves, growing economy, great job opportunities is already witnessing the arrival of thousands of unemployed westerners carrying cvs and begging for jobs? To the uninformed, non-passport holding, propaganda tranced cretins out there–read this space–the global power lines have shifted. Deal with it.

    June 19, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  10. Muzungu

    Just one word....AMIN.
    Much like the Germans after WWII. The citizens of Uganda will bear that excuse of a leader for decades to come.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:23 am | Reply
    • indigo_blu

      George W. Bush.
      Dick Chenney
      (Abu Ghraib)

      June 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Reply
      • Muzungu

        ...Nice try, check your history...The Mbarara slaughter, the mass Indian explution...and OH!
        How about the serial torture and dismemberment of Joseph Mubiru and family...at the hands of Idi?
        And where did you let him flee? In to the hands of the Saudi's...for decades you did nothing!!!!
        The most inhumane man in Africa and you couldn't be bothered to bring him to justice...

        June 23, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  11. 100 % ETHIO STRONGER!

    Oh Europa, you never say enough. You robbed not only African Natural Resources, but you even forced her people to be Slaved, for many years. When are you going to say, 'we got enough'?
    All the World are watching. If there are no other power than Europe at this time, you will never stopped robbing African Natural Resources and Slaving her People. But, currently the Russian and Chinese power make it impossible to you. We know, you are looking for, Africa to be the hub of WWIII. Shame on you, Europe!

    June 20, 2012 at 1:43 am | Reply
  12. Darkman africanus.

    I'm a kenyan,but if it wasn't for this geographical boundaries created by you european dinks i'll be ugandan,so when you guyz try to make some silly jokes bout an african country rmbr africa is one people not like you parasitic european shmacks and your like skinned albinos else-where i'd rather eat scrabs here in africa rather than dine with lotta of you light skinned,racist skin heads.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:11 am | Reply
    • dnfromge

      I see racism and hate is alive and well on both sides!

      June 20, 2012 at 9:59 am | Reply
  13. Whiteman Africanus

    Everyday I read comments from citizens of the "civilized world." Everyday I thank my Creator for being born South African.

    Best of luck with your first world economies.

    June 20, 2012 at 9:17 am | Reply
  14. Yellowman Africanus

    Just thought I'll give a shout out for the forgotten man here, since both Darkman Africanus and Whiteman Africanus have already commented. Peace out!

    June 20, 2012 at 11:23 am | Reply
  15. Mbele Mbele Oulou

    Gimme A K, Gimme an E, gimme an N, gimme a Y, gimme an A! K-E-N-Y-A! KENYA! Full of Simbas!

    June 20, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  16. Robert

    Whatever....get real Ugandans, you can't compare your country to Spain.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • sasha

      no one is comparing ny1 to ny1 let Uganda b n let Spain Uganda b, they have their own issues, we dont need to be dragged into them

      June 21, 2012 at 2:24 am | Reply
    • ugandan

      Yes we can and there is nothing you are going to do about it.

      June 21, 2012 at 2:26 am | Reply
  17. Common sense

    Its funny how some people beleive alittle colour differance gives them a right to be heard out even when speaking nonsense!!! Yes.. Let me start with billy.. For all we know you could be getting your atguments from troll pictures and comics.. Do you even know the p people you are speaking to have a master's degree in their field of study.. Or maybe you thought an anon tag is a sign of cowardice... Wake up dude!! You wouldnt stand a chance in an iq test with any educated ugandan....nuff said

    June 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Reply
  18. Common sense

    Forgive the errors... I let my anger get the best of me while typing... Anyhow it doesn't matter what anyone thinks... There are only 2 nations in this world with God in their motto,.... We r proud to be against public gay acts.. Bedroom is what we are against
    #For God and my country... Is our motto!!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • Alex porto

      I guess thats why your population is so poor.....hypocritical ass holes

      June 20, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
      • ugandan

        You have never been to our country. Our population is not poor.

        June 21, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  19. Brian

    True... Uganda is not against gays... Its simply against public display and collection of gay content ..after all we have a culture and religion to preserve. We cant save the lost gays but can prevent its spread to straight people. The western media got it twisted. About spain.. It ended!!!! Lets move on people!!!

    June 20, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  20. mpologoma

    Both sides are right. It's good to be nationalistic. What I find great in Uganda may not apply in Spain but it's home to me.

    June 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
  21. Alex porto

    Uganda and Spain are both disasters. Uganda is a messs , supports criminal gangs in the East of the Congo, including the Lord's Resistance Army. Its population lives overwhelmingly on one dolar a day and its crack pot political system is full of corruption and lives on international aid. Spain in bankrupt despites its government either hiding the extent of the problem or genuinly not being in control.One in four of its population is out of work . its economy seems paralyzed and its banks broke . THe country has had one bail out and nwo needs another or in other terms it will rely on international assistatnce . In other words NOT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE!!

    June 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Reply
    • Marta Paglianni

      GO and move to Uganda. I rather stay in white europe LOL

      June 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  22. Mauro

    Spain is a developed country and a society that has reached a standard of living after a lot of effort. The economics problems they have is found in all the countries around. Uganda may have lots of oil and land but until a few years ago it demostrated a primitive and cruel way of living. So, yes, Mr. Prime Minister, your comparison is understood.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:18 am | Reply
    • ugandan

      The timing of development is not the question here unless you want us to go in history of every country's progress. His comment was misplaced and disrespectful, nothing understandable

      June 21, 2012 at 2:34 am | Reply
  23. jack

    Who among you would rather live in Uganda than in Spain? I thought so. Case closed.

    June 21, 2012 at 4:09 am | Reply
  24. Michael

    Spains economy could shrink for the next 3 decades and would still be far above Uganda which is basically a failed state

    FACT in the 1960's Taiwan had the same GDP as Uganda and now is about 35x more

    June 21, 2012 at 11:19 am | Reply
  25. Brian

    Okay am humble guy but the next guy who insults my country Uganda is going to get it. First of all we are not poor, and the few people termed poor live in self sustaining homes in less developed areas with farms worth millions,... So think again,.. Secondly they donot use banks so their money earned is not icluded in the GDP figures, thirdly we may not be as economically advanced as spain but we do have an ego and truth be told the primeminister owes us an appology...
    Oh and about people living in uganda vs spain... Well we have alot of spaniards in uganda...check at the embassy... I wonder how many Ugandans are going to spain... Do we even have an embassy there??

    June 22, 2012 at 5:46 am | Reply
  26. Common sense

    @muzungu show me your country and i will show you worse evils committed

    June 24, 2012 at 2:47 am | Reply
  27. Common sense

    @Usone dude wake up!! Life is not calculated you have to be on ground to know what happens.... I dont know where you get your info from but uganda was voted the happiest nation in africa 2012-2013 so screw your GDP figures!!

    June 24, 2012 at 2:51 am | Reply
  28. Waiswa

    We have a saying while you point at someone 3 fingers point back at you and one to God.... You know america has had worse slaughters than uganda,... Lets not even go there.... Trust me give me your countries and with enough google i will prove your all a bunch of hypocretes!! Talk is cheap, and so are you!!

    June 24, 2012 at 3:02 am | Reply
  29. Waiswa

    Oh yeah and lonely planets ranked us number 1 destination for tourists.... Beleive what you want.... You have eyes but cannot see

    June 24, 2012 at 3:29 am | Reply
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    December 3, 2012 at 10:52 am | Reply

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