Every New Year’s Eve, we make our lists of resolutions and hopes for the coming year. We wish peace and happiness to one another, hoping against hope that next year won’t be worse than the last. In our tourist sector, it seems that different political and economic interests worldwide are once again putting a negative spin on this year.

The unfortunate accident of the Egyptian aircraft, with a deadly toll of over a hundred French citizens, has once again cast the shadows of doubt. Is it a new terror attack? We live in a woozy world where the interests of a megabuck economic giant are whipping the world scenario into its own whimsical shape. American media organizations break the piece of news on network television, as they did on September 11, 2001. America at War, when indeed, they should take a closer look at themselves and reach out way deep down inside for the real causes of their own bad things, instead of passing the buck to the other countries.

Since the ill-fated attack against the WTC Twin Towers to date, we’ve been through an exercise of collective brainwashing in which the U.S. seems the be the only place on the face of the earth where a terrorist attack has ever been committed, or that world security has been dented by that occurrence. However, many other countries have endured the scourge of terrorism from a long time ago, and they don’t appear to be affected by it. The means that U.S. authorities have implemented to prevent terror attacks have made the flow of tourists to their country dwindle, let alone made lots of smaller nations that make a living out of tourism –chiefly out of American travelers- go nearly belly up. But this doesn’t seem to matter so much to them. Is their economy in any way being affected by those countries’ woes? By generating a state of collective frenzy and fear to travel, trading on that situation to cover up a downtrodden domestic economy under the pretext of terrorism, America is mapping out a new order for airlines in which the weak have closed down and the strong will rise up from their ashes through concealed bailout packages handed by their respective governments, and the clear-cut efforts of small nations that can’t simply do without those air carriers. In the face of unabashed requests made by airlines, those small nations have channeled lump sums of money and made important concessions, such as major cutbacks on airport taxes and costs to let air companies get by and brace for the competition that’ll derive from the new and unified European market.

The birth of the European Economic Community, mightier and stronger than ever before, bound by a common currency, with border freedom, is no doubt a major economic rival for America, a country that maneuvers in the fields of macropolitics and economics, creating situations that ordinary citizens could never imagine.

Local economic crises turn, out of economic globalization, into world catastrophes. The dollar freefall, forcing a reevaluation of the euro, leave exporters from Europe and other parts of the world out in the cold. But if we look for a positive sense –and controversial- to the greenback devaluation, at least we know now that Europeans can travel across the entire dollar-economy world with major discounts that put us in a position to go to the United States withsome major advantages. Nevertheless, we’re subject to onerous regulations and controls imposed by U.S. authorities under the pretext of seeing to our own safety and that we, as ordinary citizens, have no other choice but accept them.

The year 2004 is painting this state of affairs. However, our good wishes for the new year are pinned on the hope that prudence and respect for all citizens in this globalized world will eventually prevail, and that contributions made by smaller nations will be followed up by the big countries without any sign whatsoever of arrogance or patronization. Just with objectivity and humbleness, instead. So be it.