Andorra

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Overview
Occupying an area about half the size of New York City, the principality of Andorra is best known for its unique history. As part of the March States, which were used strategically by Charlemagne to keep the Muslim Moors from advancing too far into Christian France, the country has been under the control of either France or Spain for most of its history. In fact, Andorra was ruled by two co-princes, representing the French monarchy and the Bishop of Urgell, until recently, when it became a democracy (representatives for the co-princes continue to serve in a symbolic capacity). The tiny nation has been isolated for much of its history, but continues to be enriched through tourism and duty-free shopping. Andorra enjoys a good relationship with the US, primarily because of its relatively good human rights record and desire to be a accepted member of the international community.
 
 
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Basic Information
Lay of the Land: Andorra is snuggled in the Pyrenees Mountains in Western Europe, between the Spanish province of Lérida and the French department of Ariège lies the tiny nation of Andorra.
 
Population: 82,627
 
Religions: Catholic 90%, other Christian (New Apostolic, Mormon, Anglican, Reunification, Jehovah's Witnesses) 2.4%, Muslim 0.8%, Hindu 0.5%, Jewish 0.3%, Baha'i 0.1%, non-religious 5.4%.  About half of the Catholic population attends weekly services.
 
Ethnic Groups: Spanish 43%, Andorran 33%, Portuguese 11%, French 7%, other 6%
 
Languages: Catalan (official) 44.4%, Spanish 34.7%, French (official) 3.4%

 

 
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History

 

Andorra was originally part of the March States, used by Charlemagne to keep the Muslin Moors from advancing into Christian France. Charlemagne granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for their loyalty in fighting against the Moors, who had begun to invade through Gibraltar. The Moors had previously defeated Spanish King Roderick at Jerez de la Frontera and started to spread through Spain, sending many Christian peasants near the Pyrenees to the mountain valleys to seek refuge. This area would later come to be known as Andorra.
 
Charlemagne sent his son, Louis the Pious, to deal with the Moors, and Louis defeated them. He established the boundaries of the tiny proto-republic and settled solders in the villages for protection. Then he established the, a charter declaring Andorra’s independence. 
 
Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles the Bald, awarded control of Andorra to the Count of Urgell in the 800s, and the land was subsequently passed down to the diocese of Urgell, which was headed by the Bishop of Seu d'Urgell.
 
However, authority over Andorra was not always clear. Around this same time, grants from the Bishop and/or the Counts of Urgell were made to the Vicount of Castellbo, and these passed from Castellbo to the Count of Foix in 1202, when the Castellbo heiress Ermesinde married Count Roger Bernard II.
 
According to the Bishop of Urgell, any rights ceded to Foix were held in fief to the Bishop, as had been the original grants. The Count of Foix maintained that the rights inherited via Castellbo gave them secular rule over Andorra. Meanwhile, southern France was in the middle of the Albigensian Heresy persecutions, and the Counts of Foix were Cathar in sympathy, and Roger Bernard II was excommunicated for heresy in 1236.
 
Roger Bernard III took arms against France and Aragon and invaded Urgell. Bishop Pedro of Urgell was off fighting the Moors with his army, and so Foix rampaged through the Bishop’s lands unimpeded. The conflict over Andorra was resolved in 1287, when a pareage, or feudal institution recognizing equal rights by two rulers, was signed. The pareage shared Andorra’s sovereignty between the Count of Foix and the Bishop of Seu d’Urgell of Spain. This institution carved out the state of Andorra and gave it its political form. This treaty, and another signed eleven years later, established that Andorra would become independent, but pay an annual tribute called a questia. Payment of the tribute alternated every year; first to the Count of Foix, then to the Bishop of Urgell, then to the Count of Foix, etc.
 
In 1419, the people of Andorra petitioned the co-rulers for permission to establish a local parliament, which would consider local issues. This was granted, and the Council of the Land was established. The members of the Council were elected by the “heads of household,” which meant males over the age of 25. There were four representatives from each of the six parishes, resulting in a membership of 24.
 
In 1793, the French monarchy was overthrown, and for the next 15 years, the Andorrans were without the protection of the French government. The Andorrans worried that their Spanish overlord would take this opportunity to revoke their independence and make them a subordinate territory.
 
When Napoleon became emperor of France in 1806, he issued an imperial decree re-establishing the overlordship of the French government and confirming their rights of independence. When France became a republic in 1870, the role of overlord became part of the duties and powers of the president of the republic.
 
In 1970, Andorran women were granted the right to vote and hold office, and in 1971, the age requirement for voting was lowered to 21. In 1978, the six parishes of Andorra were expanded to seven, with the establishment of the parish of Escaldes-Engordany.
 
In 1981, an organization called the government of Andorra was created. It is the executive branch of government and consists of the head of government (elected by the Council of the Land) and four to six councillors who act as ministers, each looking after a particular area such as defense, education, finance, foreign affairs, etc.
 
For the most part, Andorra has remained on the outskirts of European history, because of its small size and relative isolation. Historically, its ties have been mainly to France and Spain. In more contemporary times, however, tourism and enhanced transportation and communications systems have allowed the country to emerge from this long-held isolation.

Geography and History of the Principality of Andorra (by Josep Quereda Vàzquez, Andorramania)

 

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Andorra's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Andorra
Andorra established sovereignty by ratifying a constitution in 1993 and moved to become a member of the international community shortly thereafter. In July 1993, Andorra conducted its first diplomatic mission to the United Nations. 
 
The United States has held diplomatic relations with Andorra since February 21, 1995, and remains on good terms with the country. The US Ambassador to Spain is also considered the ambassador to Andorra, and US Consulate General officials based in Barcelona are responsible for the day-to-day conduct of relations with Andorra. The Andorran Permanent Representative to the United Nations was named as Andorra’s Ambassador to the United States in April 2008.
 
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Current U.S. Relations with Andorra
In 2008, Andorra announced its endorsement of the Proliferation Security Initiative, an effort led by the US to combat illegal trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. Andorra also has adopted the Universal Copyright Convention Geneva and Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, joining the US and other members of the international community in protecting copyrighted works from piracy.
 
In 2006, 1,133 Andorrans visited the US. Tourism has grown slowly and inconsistently, but is up overall since 2002, when 777 Andorrans came to America.
 
A country of contrasts (advertising supplement, Washington Times)
U.S. Shocked Andorra Not In Africa (The Onion-TV [satire])
 
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Where Does the Money Flow
The main US imports from Andorra include “vegetable and preparations,” totaling approximately $200,000 in 2007. But overall, imports from Andorra have dropped since 2003, with one exception. In 2006, there were sudden increases in photo and service industry machinery and trade tools (from $0 to almost $1,3 million), industrial machinery (from $4,000 to $371,000), “materials handling equipment” (from $0 to $30,000), computer accessories, peripherals and parts (from $9,000 to $25,000), rugs and other textile floor coverings (from $0 to $37,000) and radios, phonographs, tape decks, and other stereo (from $0 to $781,000). That year, total imports from Andorra totaled some $2.7 million, a large increase from $673,000 in 2005. In 2007, imports dropped sharply, to $438,000 overall.
 
By contrast, US exports to Andorra have steadily risen each year, with only a slight dip in 2006. Bakery products enjoyed a large increase, from $141,000 in 2006 to $1.7 million in 2007, as well as tobacco products, which rose from $0 in 2006 to $1.5 million in 2007.
 
Other large exports from the US to Andorra include alcoholic beverages, shingles, molding and wallboard, industrial machines, civilian aircraft, household appliances, and jewelry. Total exports to Andorra rose from $8.9 million in 2005 to $14.3 million in 2007.
 
Also in 2007, the U.S. sold $82,519 of defense articles and services to Andorra.
 
 
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Controversies
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Human Rights
According to the State Department, Andorra has a “generally positive human rights record.” However, in many instances there were prolonged pretrial detentions and cases of violence against women and children. Andorran law does not protect the right of workers to form and join unions or unions’ right to bargain collectively and to strike.
 
Andorran law does not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, and the government has not established a system for providing protection to refugees. The government has sometimes cooperated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other organizations in assisting refugees for humanitarian reasons. The most recent example was in July 2006, when the government accepted five Eritrean immigrants who were saved from a ship adrift on the Mediterranean Sea.
 
Although Andorran law prohibits rape, including spousal rape, violence against women was a problem. According to the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family, in 2007 there were almost 130 reports of physical abuse against women during the year, a significant increase from 2006. There is no specific law prohibiting domestic violence, although other laws may be applied in such cases. Victims of domestic violence could request help from the Andorran International Women’s Association (AIWA) and the Andorran Women’s Association (AWA), but rarely filed a complaint with the police for fear of reprisal. The two associations reported that some women complained about the treatment they received from police when they filed a complaint. Authorities reported that the number of persons prosecuted for violence against women during the year increased, but did not provide statistics. The government had a hotline and provided medical and psychological services to victims of domestic violence, but did not have any shelters. The government and AIWA placed abused women and their children in the private apartments of persons who agreed to provide shelter to them. Caritas, a Catholic NGO, works closely with the government and AIWA on social issues.
 
Andorran law also prohibits discrimination against women privately or professionally. However, the AWA reported that there were many cases of women dismissed from employment due to pregnancy. Women did not earn equal pay for equal work. Observers estimated that women earned 35% less than men for comparable work; this gap appeared to be decreasing slowly. A Sociological Research Center report in 2006 indicated that men occupied 66% of top positions.
 
Violence against children was also on the rise. According to the secretariat of state for Social Welfare and Family, 119 minors were treated for various forms of abuse during 2007.
 
The Andorran constitution recognizes that workers have the right to form associations to defend their economic and social interests, but the country has no specific laws to protect this right. Workers were reluctant to admit to union membership, fearing retaliation by their employers, and unions did not make their membership numbers public.
 
The law allows unions to conduct their activities without interference; however, the government lacked mechanisms to protect this right in practice. The law does not specifically provide for collective bargaining or the right to strike, and neither was practiced. However, on May 1 (Andorran Labor Day), the government permitted workers to conduct a peaceful demonstration tied to their demands that the government approve a law to protect workers' rights.
 
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
Edward L. Romero
Appointment: Jun 29, 1998
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 30, 1998
Termination of Mission: Left Madrid Jun 1, 2001
 
George L. Argyros
Appointment: Nov 20, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: May 13 and Oct 4, 2002
Termination of Mission: Left Madrid Nov. 21, 2004
 
 
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Andorra's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Fonsdeviela, Narcis Casal De

Attorney Narcís Casal de Fonsdeviela has served as ambassador of the tiny European nation of Andorra to the United States since November 2, 2009. He had already been serving as Andorra’s representative to the United Nations since September of that year. He added Canada to his portfolio in May 2010.

 
Born in 1957 in Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra, Fonsdeviela received his diplôme d’études approfondies in law and public history from the University of Paris II (Sorbonne) in France.
He also graduated from the University of Barcelona with a degree in law and studied public administration and policy at the University of Madrid, both in Spain. In addition, he holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Spanish Diplomatic School and another in East-West psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California.
 
Fonsdeviela practiced civil and public law from 1989 to 2004, during which time he also served as deputy secretary and member of the Andorra Parliament, as well as legal adviser and board member of the country’s chamber of commerce and chairman of its Public Broadcast Corporation.
 
Biography (Washington Diplomat)

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Andorra's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
Andorra's Embassy in the U.S.
Two United Nations Plaza
25th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: (212) 750-8064)
Fax: (212) 750-6630
E-mail: Andorra@un.int
 
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Comments

Lenore Catalogna 8 years ago
I am from a Catalan background that has endured persecution, inhumane treatment and ridiculed as not "Hispanic" off and on throughout history, primarily ince the 1700's. I love the Catalan culture. However, I find it ignorance in this country as well that I am considered subservient to the racial classification of "Hispanic" because my family came to the United States from Italy. Sardinians are proud to mention Catalogna Street in their country. However, I cannot just be stereot...

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U.S. Ambassador to Andorra

Solomont, Alan
ambassador-image

A key fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s, Alan D. Solomont has been a major player in Democratic Party politics since the 1980s, while amassing a fortune in the nursing home industry and contributing millions to a variety of philanthropic causes, including many Jewish organizations. He was confirmed by the Senate as Ambassador to Spain on December 24, 2009.

 
Born in Boston in 1957, Solomont was raised in Brookline by Jewish parents versed in nursing-related industries. His mother worked as a nurse at Boston City Hospital, and his father (whose family hailed from Russia) was a local operator of nursing homes.
 
Solomont first attended college at Tufts University, during which time he attended the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago as a page. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science and urban studies in 1970, and then studied abroad as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.
 
Nursing was ultimately how Solomont made his fortune, although it was not by caring for the sick or injured. He did work at a nursing home, but was fired for trying to unionize the work force. Solomont went to work at his father’s nursing homes, which led him to return to school and get his Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1977 from the University of Lowell (now the University of Massachusetts Lowell).
 
His forays into Democratic politics in Massachusetts began in the 1970s, first with modest fundraisers for local politicians like Michael Dukakis. As Dukakis’ profile rose with his election as governor, so did Solomont’s reputation, and his political money-raising skills went national with Dukakis’s presidential run in 1988.
 
While establishing his place in Democratic circles, Solomont also built his business holdings, becoming CEO of the ADS Group, the biggest nursing home chain in the northeast. He also served as president of the Massachusetts Federation of Nursing Homes during the 1980s.
 
By the following decade, he had become vice chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, which helped him become a leading candidate for the school’s presidency. One of two finalists, Solomont was passed over in favor of Jack Wilson, due to the fact he was either too closely aligned with the Democratic Party, or because of controversial dealings involving fugitive mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, or other scandals involving Solomont’s brothers. Jay Solomont served time in an Israeli prison for misappropriation of funds, and David Solomont was accused of embezzling $1 million from a start-up firm (the matter was settled out of court).
 
With the arrival of the Clintons on the national stage in 1992, Solomont became known as a successful fundraiser for Bill and Hillary. He raised substantial sums for both of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns, along with $40 million for Democrats after the president named him the party’s finance chairman in 1997.
 
Solomont sold the ADS Group in 1996 and pocketed $100 million from the sale. He then became chief executive of Solomont Bailis Ventures, a Massachusetts-based nursing home group with interests in the United States and Latin America.
 
Republicans in the Senate accused Solomont of using his contributions to Democrats to sway then-Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala’s decisions affecting nursing home regulations. He was subpoenaed, along with three other Massachusetts businessmen, to determine if they had obtained improper access to the Clinton administration. Solomont was among the major donors who were permitted to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom at the Clinton White House as a reward for contributing substantially to the president’s campaign.
 
In 2000, he was appointed by President Clinton to the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees three national service initiatives: AmeriCorps, the Service Corps and Learn and Serve America. (He was elected chairman of the board in February 2009.)
 
Solomont continued being a key source of money for Democratic presidential candidates
this decade, helping Al Gore and John Kerry, for whom he once brought in $4 million at a single event.
 
When it came to the 2008 presidential contest, Solomont did not back Hillary Clinton, as many expected. Instead, he joined Obama’s camp, and oversaw the Illinois Democrat’s fundraising operation in the Northeast. He bundled at least $500,000 in contributions for Obama, and between him and his family, the Solomonts gave nearly $230,000 to Democratic candidates during the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
 
Solomont has served on the boards of numerous organizations including Angel Healthcare Investors, LLC, Boston Medical Center, Jewish Funds for Justice, the New Israel Fund, Israel Policy Forum, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, Cradles to Crayons, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and the WGBH Educational Foundation, the largest producer of content for PBS. He has chaired the board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, and was elected to the Tufts University Board of Trustees in 1999.
 
He has served as director of Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Polymedica, a supplier of diabetic testing equipment, Allegiance Hospice Company, SchoolSports, Inc. and Aveta, a health insurance organization operating in Puerto Rico, California and Illinois. Solomont was also a founding member of the Progressive Business Leaders Network.
 
Solomont is married to Susan Lewis, a senior advisor at The Philanthropic Initiative, where she advises individuals, foundations and corporations on strategic philanthropy. They live in Weston, Massachusetts with their two daughters, Stephanie and Becca.
 
Alan D. Solomont Biography (Tufts University)
Donor Scorecard: Alan Solomont (by Ken Silverstein, Harper’s Magazine)
The $4 Million Man (by Don Aucoin, Boston Globe)
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Andorra

Aguirre, Eduardo
ambassador-image

A native of Cuba, Eduardo Aguirre, Jr. began serving as the US Ambassador to Spain and Andorra on June 24, 2005. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree form Louisiana State University and graduated from the American Bankers Association’s National Commercial Lending Graduate School.
 
Aguirre was president of Bank of America’s International Private Bank and worked there for 24 years. He then served as vice chairman, chief operating officer and acting chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States from 2001 to 2002. Aguirre served for two and a half years as the first director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an under secretary rank position in the Department of Homeland Security, before being selected ambassador to Spain and Andorra.
 
He was appointed, by then Texas Governor George W. Bush, to the Board of Regents of the University of Houston System for a six-year term, serving from 1996-1998 as chairman. According to OpenSecrets.com, Aguirre donated $500 to Bush’s presidential campaign in 1999. In 2000, he donated $1,000 to the Republication National Committee, and in 2001, Aguirre donated $850 to the RNC/Republican National State Elections Committee.
 
Aguirre was also appointed to the National Commission for Employment Policy by President George H. W. Bush. The Supreme Court of Texas appointed him to the State Bar as a non-attorney director. Additionally, he has served on other public, professional and civic boards, including the Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Bar Foundation, Operación Pedro Pan Foundation, Bankers Association for Finance and Trade, and the Houston chapters of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
 
 
 

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Bookmark and Share
News
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Overview
Occupying an area about half the size of New York City, the principality of Andorra is best known for its unique history. As part of the March States, which were used strategically by Charlemagne to keep the Muslim Moors from advancing too far into Christian France, the country has been under the control of either France or Spain for most of its history. In fact, Andorra was ruled by two co-princes, representing the French monarchy and the Bishop of Urgell, until recently, when it became a democracy (representatives for the co-princes continue to serve in a symbolic capacity). The tiny nation has been isolated for much of its history, but continues to be enriched through tourism and duty-free shopping. Andorra enjoys a good relationship with the US, primarily because of its relatively good human rights record and desire to be a accepted member of the international community.
 
 
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Basic Information
Lay of the Land: Andorra is snuggled in the Pyrenees Mountains in Western Europe, between the Spanish province of Lérida and the French department of Ariège lies the tiny nation of Andorra.
 
Population: 82,627
 
Religions: Catholic 90%, other Christian (New Apostolic, Mormon, Anglican, Reunification, Jehovah's Witnesses) 2.4%, Muslim 0.8%, Hindu 0.5%, Jewish 0.3%, Baha'i 0.1%, non-religious 5.4%.  About half of the Catholic population attends weekly services.
 
Ethnic Groups: Spanish 43%, Andorran 33%, Portuguese 11%, French 7%, other 6%
 
Languages: Catalan (official) 44.4%, Spanish 34.7%, French (official) 3.4%

 

 
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History

 

Andorra was originally part of the March States, used by Charlemagne to keep the Muslin Moors from advancing into Christian France. Charlemagne granted a charter to the Andorran people in return for their loyalty in fighting against the Moors, who had begun to invade through Gibraltar. The Moors had previously defeated Spanish King Roderick at Jerez de la Frontera and started to spread through Spain, sending many Christian peasants near the Pyrenees to the mountain valleys to seek refuge. This area would later come to be known as Andorra.
 
Charlemagne sent his son, Louis the Pious, to deal with the Moors, and Louis defeated them. He established the boundaries of the tiny proto-republic and settled solders in the villages for protection. Then he established the, a charter declaring Andorra’s independence. 
 
Charlemagne’s grandson, Charles the Bald, awarded control of Andorra to the Count of Urgell in the 800s, and the land was subsequently passed down to the diocese of Urgell, which was headed by the Bishop of Seu d'Urgell.
 
However, authority over Andorra was not always clear. Around this same time, grants from the Bishop and/or the Counts of Urgell were made to the Vicount of Castellbo, and these passed from Castellbo to the Count of Foix in 1202, when the Castellbo heiress Ermesinde married Count Roger Bernard II.
 
According to the Bishop of Urgell, any rights ceded to Foix were held in fief to the Bishop, as had been the original grants. The Count of Foix maintained that the rights inherited via Castellbo gave them secular rule over Andorra. Meanwhile, southern France was in the middle of the Albigensian Heresy persecutions, and the Counts of Foix were Cathar in sympathy, and Roger Bernard II was excommunicated for heresy in 1236.
 
Roger Bernard III took arms against France and Aragon and invaded Urgell. Bishop Pedro of Urgell was off fighting the Moors with his army, and so Foix rampaged through the Bishop’s lands unimpeded. The conflict over Andorra was resolved in 1287, when a pareage, or feudal institution recognizing equal rights by two rulers, was signed. The pareage shared Andorra’s sovereignty between the Count of Foix and the Bishop of Seu d’Urgell of Spain. This institution carved out the state of Andorra and gave it its political form. This treaty, and another signed eleven years later, established that Andorra would become independent, but pay an annual tribute called a questia. Payment of the tribute alternated every year; first to the Count of Foix, then to the Bishop of Urgell, then to the Count of Foix, etc.
 
In 1419, the people of Andorra petitioned the co-rulers for permission to establish a local parliament, which would consider local issues. This was granted, and the Council of the Land was established. The members of the Council were elected by the “heads of household,” which meant males over the age of 25. There were four representatives from each of the six parishes, resulting in a membership of 24.
 
In 1793, the French monarchy was overthrown, and for the next 15 years, the Andorrans were without the protection of the French government. The Andorrans worried that their Spanish overlord would take this opportunity to revoke their independence and make them a subordinate territory.
 
When Napoleon became emperor of France in 1806, he issued an imperial decree re-establishing the overlordship of the French government and confirming their rights of independence. When France became a republic in 1870, the role of overlord became part of the duties and powers of the president of the republic.
 
In 1970, Andorran women were granted the right to vote and hold office, and in 1971, the age requirement for voting was lowered to 21. In 1978, the six parishes of Andorra were expanded to seven, with the establishment of the parish of Escaldes-Engordany.
 
In 1981, an organization called the government of Andorra was created. It is the executive branch of government and consists of the head of government (elected by the Council of the Land) and four to six councillors who act as ministers, each looking after a particular area such as defense, education, finance, foreign affairs, etc.
 
For the most part, Andorra has remained on the outskirts of European history, because of its small size and relative isolation. Historically, its ties have been mainly to France and Spain. In more contemporary times, however, tourism and enhanced transportation and communications systems have allowed the country to emerge from this long-held isolation.

Geography and History of the Principality of Andorra (by Josep Quereda Vàzquez, Andorramania)

 

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Andorra's Newspapers
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History of U.S. Relations with Andorra
Andorra established sovereignty by ratifying a constitution in 1993 and moved to become a member of the international community shortly thereafter. In July 1993, Andorra conducted its first diplomatic mission to the United Nations. 
 
The United States has held diplomatic relations with Andorra since February 21, 1995, and remains on good terms with the country. The US Ambassador to Spain is also considered the ambassador to Andorra, and US Consulate General officials based in Barcelona are responsible for the day-to-day conduct of relations with Andorra. The Andorran Permanent Representative to the United Nations was named as Andorra’s Ambassador to the United States in April 2008.
 
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Current U.S. Relations with Andorra
In 2008, Andorra announced its endorsement of the Proliferation Security Initiative, an effort led by the US to combat illegal trafficking in weapons of mass destruction. Andorra also has adopted the Universal Copyright Convention Geneva and Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, joining the US and other members of the international community in protecting copyrighted works from piracy.
 
In 2006, 1,133 Andorrans visited the US. Tourism has grown slowly and inconsistently, but is up overall since 2002, when 777 Andorrans came to America.
 
A country of contrasts (advertising supplement, Washington Times)
U.S. Shocked Andorra Not In Africa (The Onion-TV [satire])
 
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Where Does the Money Flow
The main US imports from Andorra include “vegetable and preparations,” totaling approximately $200,000 in 2007. But overall, imports from Andorra have dropped since 2003, with one exception. In 2006, there were sudden increases in photo and service industry machinery and trade tools (from $0 to almost $1,3 million), industrial machinery (from $4,000 to $371,000), “materials handling equipment” (from $0 to $30,000), computer accessories, peripherals and parts (from $9,000 to $25,000), rugs and other textile floor coverings (from $0 to $37,000) and radios, phonographs, tape decks, and other stereo (from $0 to $781,000). That year, total imports from Andorra totaled some $2.7 million, a large increase from $673,000 in 2005. In 2007, imports dropped sharply, to $438,000 overall.
 
By contrast, US exports to Andorra have steadily risen each year, with only a slight dip in 2006. Bakery products enjoyed a large increase, from $141,000 in 2006 to $1.7 million in 2007, as well as tobacco products, which rose from $0 in 2006 to $1.5 million in 2007.
 
Other large exports from the US to Andorra include alcoholic beverages, shingles, molding and wallboard, industrial machines, civilian aircraft, household appliances, and jewelry. Total exports to Andorra rose from $8.9 million in 2005 to $14.3 million in 2007.
 
Also in 2007, the U.S. sold $82,519 of defense articles and services to Andorra.
 
 
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Controversies
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Human Rights
According to the State Department, Andorra has a “generally positive human rights record.” However, in many instances there were prolonged pretrial detentions and cases of violence against women and children. Andorran law does not protect the right of workers to form and join unions or unions’ right to bargain collectively and to strike.
 
Andorran law does not provide for the granting of asylum or refugee status in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 protocol, and the government has not established a system for providing protection to refugees. The government has sometimes cooperated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other organizations in assisting refugees for humanitarian reasons. The most recent example was in July 2006, when the government accepted five Eritrean immigrants who were saved from a ship adrift on the Mediterranean Sea.
 
Although Andorran law prohibits rape, including spousal rape, violence against women was a problem. According to the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family, in 2007 there were almost 130 reports of physical abuse against women during the year, a significant increase from 2006. There is no specific law prohibiting domestic violence, although other laws may be applied in such cases. Victims of domestic violence could request help from the Andorran International Women’s Association (AIWA) and the Andorran Women’s Association (AWA), but rarely filed a complaint with the police for fear of reprisal. The two associations reported that some women complained about the treatment they received from police when they filed a complaint. Authorities reported that the number of persons prosecuted for violence against women during the year increased, but did not provide statistics. The government had a hotline and provided medical and psychological services to victims of domestic violence, but did not have any shelters. The government and AIWA placed abused women and their children in the private apartments of persons who agreed to provide shelter to them. Caritas, a Catholic NGO, works closely with the government and AIWA on social issues.
 
Andorran law also prohibits discrimination against women privately or professionally. However, the AWA reported that there were many cases of women dismissed from employment due to pregnancy. Women did not earn equal pay for equal work. Observers estimated that women earned 35% less than men for comparable work; this gap appeared to be decreasing slowly. A Sociological Research Center report in 2006 indicated that men occupied 66% of top positions.
 
Violence against children was also on the rise. According to the secretariat of state for Social Welfare and Family, 119 minors were treated for various forms of abuse during 2007.
 
The Andorran constitution recognizes that workers have the right to form associations to defend their economic and social interests, but the country has no specific laws to protect this right. Workers were reluctant to admit to union membership, fearing retaliation by their employers, and unions did not make their membership numbers public.
 
The law allows unions to conduct their activities without interference; however, the government lacked mechanisms to protect this right in practice. The law does not specifically provide for collective bargaining or the right to strike, and neither was practiced. However, on May 1 (Andorran Labor Day), the government permitted workers to conduct a peaceful demonstration tied to their demands that the government approve a law to protect workers' rights.
 
 
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Debate
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Past Ambassadors
Edward L. Romero
Appointment: Jun 29, 1998
Presentation of Credentials: Oct 30, 1998
Termination of Mission: Left Madrid Jun 1, 2001
 
George L. Argyros
Appointment: Nov 20, 2001
Presentation of Credentials: May 13 and Oct 4, 2002
Termination of Mission: Left Madrid Nov. 21, 2004
 
 
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Andorra's Ambassador to the U.S.
ambassador-image Fonsdeviela, Narcis Casal De

Attorney Narcís Casal de Fonsdeviela has served as ambassador of the tiny European nation of Andorra to the United States since November 2, 2009. He had already been serving as Andorra’s representative to the United Nations since September of that year. He added Canada to his portfolio in May 2010.

 
Born in 1957 in Escaldes-Engordany, Andorra, Fonsdeviela received his diplôme d’études approfondies in law and public history from the University of Paris II (Sorbonne) in France.
He also graduated from the University of Barcelona with a degree in law and studied public administration and policy at the University of Madrid, both in Spain. In addition, he holds a master’s degree in international relations from the Spanish Diplomatic School and another in East-West psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, California.
 
Fonsdeviela practiced civil and public law from 1989 to 2004, during which time he also served as deputy secretary and member of the Andorra Parliament, as well as legal adviser and board member of the country’s chamber of commerce and chairman of its Public Broadcast Corporation.
 
Biography (Washington Diplomat)

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Andorra's Embassy Web Site in the U.S.
Andorra's Embassy in the U.S.
Two United Nations Plaza
25th Floor
New York, NY 10017
Telephone: (212) 750-8064)
Fax: (212) 750-6630
E-mail: Andorra@un.int
 
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Lenore Catalogna 8 years ago
I am from a Catalan background that has endured persecution, inhumane treatment and ridiculed as not "Hispanic" off and on throughout history, primarily ince the 1700's. I love the Catalan culture. However, I find it ignorance in this country as well that I am considered subservient to the racial classification of "Hispanic" because my family came to the United States from Italy. Sardinians are proud to mention Catalogna Street in their country. However, I cannot just be stereot...

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U.S. Ambassador to Andorra

Solomont, Alan
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A key fundraiser for President Barack Obama’s, Alan D. Solomont has been a major player in Democratic Party politics since the 1980s, while amassing a fortune in the nursing home industry and contributing millions to a variety of philanthropic causes, including many Jewish organizations. He was confirmed by the Senate as Ambassador to Spain on December 24, 2009.

 
Born in Boston in 1957, Solomont was raised in Brookline by Jewish parents versed in nursing-related industries. His mother worked as a nurse at Boston City Hospital, and his father (whose family hailed from Russia) was a local operator of nursing homes.
 
Solomont first attended college at Tufts University, during which time he attended the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago as a page. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in political science and urban studies in 1970, and then studied abroad as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow.
 
Nursing was ultimately how Solomont made his fortune, although it was not by caring for the sick or injured. He did work at a nursing home, but was fired for trying to unionize the work force. Solomont went to work at his father’s nursing homes, which led him to return to school and get his Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1977 from the University of Lowell (now the University of Massachusetts Lowell).
 
His forays into Democratic politics in Massachusetts began in the 1970s, first with modest fundraisers for local politicians like Michael Dukakis. As Dukakis’ profile rose with his election as governor, so did Solomont’s reputation, and his political money-raising skills went national with Dukakis’s presidential run in 1988.
 
While establishing his place in Democratic circles, Solomont also built his business holdings, becoming CEO of the ADS Group, the biggest nursing home chain in the northeast. He also served as president of the Massachusetts Federation of Nursing Homes during the 1980s.
 
By the following decade, he had become vice chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, which helped him become a leading candidate for the school’s presidency. One of two finalists, Solomont was passed over in favor of Jack Wilson, due to the fact he was either too closely aligned with the Democratic Party, or because of controversial dealings involving fugitive mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, or other scandals involving Solomont’s brothers. Jay Solomont served time in an Israeli prison for misappropriation of funds, and David Solomont was accused of embezzling $1 million from a start-up firm (the matter was settled out of court).
 
With the arrival of the Clintons on the national stage in 1992, Solomont became known as a successful fundraiser for Bill and Hillary. He raised substantial sums for both of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaigns, along with $40 million for Democrats after the president named him the party’s finance chairman in 1997.
 
Solomont sold the ADS Group in 1996 and pocketed $100 million from the sale. He then became chief executive of Solomont Bailis Ventures, a Massachusetts-based nursing home group with interests in the United States and Latin America.
 
Republicans in the Senate accused Solomont of using his contributions to Democrats to sway then-Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala’s decisions affecting nursing home regulations. He was subpoenaed, along with three other Massachusetts businessmen, to determine if they had obtained improper access to the Clinton administration. Solomont was among the major donors who were permitted to stay in the Lincoln Bedroom at the Clinton White House as a reward for contributing substantially to the president’s campaign.
 
In 2000, he was appointed by President Clinton to the board of directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees three national service initiatives: AmeriCorps, the Service Corps and Learn and Serve America. (He was elected chairman of the board in February 2009.)
 
Solomont continued being a key source of money for Democratic presidential candidates
this decade, helping Al Gore and John Kerry, for whom he once brought in $4 million at a single event.
 
When it came to the 2008 presidential contest, Solomont did not back Hillary Clinton, as many expected. Instead, he joined Obama’s camp, and oversaw the Illinois Democrat’s fundraising operation in the Northeast. He bundled at least $500,000 in contributions for Obama, and between him and his family, the Solomonts gave nearly $230,000 to Democratic candidates during the 2008 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
 
Solomont has served on the boards of numerous organizations including Angel Healthcare Investors, LLC, Boston Medical Center, Jewish Funds for Justice, the New Israel Fund, Israel Policy Forum, Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly, Cradles to Crayons, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and the WGBH Educational Foundation, the largest producer of content for PBS. He has chaired the board of Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, and was elected to the Tufts University Board of Trustees in 1999.
 
He has served as director of Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Polymedica, a supplier of diabetic testing equipment, Allegiance Hospice Company, SchoolSports, Inc. and Aveta, a health insurance organization operating in Puerto Rico, California and Illinois. Solomont was also a founding member of the Progressive Business Leaders Network.
 
Solomont is married to Susan Lewis, a senior advisor at The Philanthropic Initiative, where she advises individuals, foundations and corporations on strategic philanthropy. They live in Weston, Massachusetts with their two daughters, Stephanie and Becca.
 
Alan D. Solomont Biography (Tufts University)
Donor Scorecard: Alan Solomont (by Ken Silverstein, Harper’s Magazine)
The $4 Million Man (by Don Aucoin, Boston Globe)
 

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Previous U.S. Ambassador to Andorra

Aguirre, Eduardo
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A native of Cuba, Eduardo Aguirre, Jr. began serving as the US Ambassador to Spain and Andorra on June 24, 2005. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree form Louisiana State University and graduated from the American Bankers Association’s National Commercial Lending Graduate School.
 
Aguirre was president of Bank of America’s International Private Bank and worked there for 24 years. He then served as vice chairman, chief operating officer and acting chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the United States from 2001 to 2002. Aguirre served for two and a half years as the first director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an under secretary rank position in the Department of Homeland Security, before being selected ambassador to Spain and Andorra.
 
He was appointed, by then Texas Governor George W. Bush, to the Board of Regents of the University of Houston System for a six-year term, serving from 1996-1998 as chairman. According to OpenSecrets.com, Aguirre donated $500 to Bush’s presidential campaign in 1999. In 2000, he donated $1,000 to the Republication National Committee, and in 2001, Aguirre donated $850 to the RNC/Republican National State Elections Committee.
 
Aguirre was also appointed to the National Commission for Employment Policy by President George H. W. Bush. The Supreme Court of Texas appointed him to the State Bar as a non-attorney director. Additionally, he has served on other public, professional and civic boards, including the Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Bar Foundation, Operación Pedro Pan Foundation, Bankers Association for Finance and Trade, and the Houston chapters of the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
 
 
 

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