From independence, freedom and truth


Spain, drifting rudderless

Fernando del Pino Calvo Sotelo

February 18, 2016

Spain’s current situation is extremely worrying. The problem is not that we still don’t have a new government two months after the last elections. In this Welfare State that drags us toward a disguised totalitarian system, to govern and to legislate are considered synonyms, and to legislate is understood as enslaving the citizens with an unbearable regulatory tyranny, where Law and Justice are treacherously and continuously stabbed by an oppressive and abusive Legislation. Therefore having no government is more of a relief than a burden. No: the true problem lies in the possibility that the Venezuelan Leninist party Podemos (foolishly misunderstood as an innocuous anti-austerity party) may be lifted to power through an alliance with the socialists, a fact that would put Spain at the very edge of the cliff.

The fact that this Leninist party has obtained 20% of the votes, of which roughly one third belongs to their regional separatist partners, is both a disease and the symptom of a disease. It is a disease because its leaders have not hidden their utmost admiration for Latin American tyrants and bloody communist dictators, have empathically trivialized terrorism and have made “theoretical” references to the legitimacy of the use of violence to remain in power. They have also defined the guillotine as an “instrument of democratic justice”. For years they have been advisors to Chavez’s government in Venezuela, a country that is among the ten most corrupt in the world according to the list elaborated by Transparency International -number 1 being the cleanest country in the world (Denmark) and number 168 the most corrupt (Somalia). Spain ranks 38th in that list, a truly shameful position for a Western democracy but nevertheless far away from Venezuela’s 159th place. While these Leninist leaders were reportedly making money advising that regime, they didn’t mutter a single word denouncing the rampant corruption in that country, whereas they get hoarse decrying our own corruption here at home. In reality, this gang couldn’t care less about corruption: for them it’s just the most efficient slogan to get into power nowadays (it could have been the war in Iraq, US military bases, you name it). In fact, I have no doubt whatsoever that in case they got into power, corruption levels would be multiplied severalfold in Spain. No wonder the Leninist leader said in Venezuela’s TV that that country was “a fundamental model for the citizens of Southern Europe”. Well, let’s be clear: the “model” is extremely corrupt. In Venezuela there are also shortages of medicines and basic food items and prices multiplied by four in 2015 (the highest inflation in the world); so the “model” also brings a vast impoverishment for the people. In Venezuela laws were modified in order to perpetuate the populists in power and opposition leaders are put in jail. Yes, the “model” seems to lack liberty. Finally, in Venezuela 25,000 people are murdered every year, Caracas being the most violent city in the world. Wake up: this is the model, an extremely violent one. In sharp contrast, Spain has one of the lowest murder rates anywhere (300 murders a year with a population of 45 million), together with Switzerland. Then, how in the world has a gang with such background, a party that should have never been considered a legitimate democratic alternative, been able to get such support? To start with, it should be noted that all evidence points at the current center-right government having helped the Leninists get media airtime with a shortsighted, unbelievably irresponsible policy aimed at dividing the left (weakening the socialist party) and simultaneously creating a vote of fear that would overcome the expected abstention of the center-right voters, fed up with the corruption charges brought upon their party and its leader’s loss of credibility – he is famous for not keeping a single promise in the last four years. The sudden and weird appearance and immediate disappearance from public view of police reports presumably arising questions about a possible illegal financing of the Leninist party (reports that were supposedly in place well before the elections) gives the impression that the government’s support to the Leninists may have gone too far.

All this notwithstanding, the 20% support to the Leninists is not only a disease in itself, but also a symptom of the disease of the current political regime brought upon by the 1978 Constitution, which simply does not hold water anymore. The system needs an in-depth reform reinforcing the rule of law, and it has to be both honest and decisive. The intolerable corruption is just another symptom: the root cause is to be found in the State’s excess of arbitrary power, the lack of an independent judiciary (and the resulting sense of impunity of the ruling class), the subjugation of most institutions to the political parties, the lack of transparency and accountability in the management of public money and the weakness and abandonment of the fourth power. The system has to be reformed from within in the right direction and with magnanimity. If it fails to do so, Leninists may get into power, and chaos, violence and underdevelopment will haunt us, yet again.

If this Gordian knot is to be untied, several obstacles have to be surmounted. The current president, for instance, has become a paradigmatic case of the pathology of power. 35 years in politics, 12 of them in government and 4 as president don’t seem enough for him. He has taken Spain hostage (applying the “either me or a catastrophe” sort of blackmail) in a desperate move to remain in power a bit longer. His unpopular candidacy in the last elections, imposed by the iron grip he holds on his own party, maybe meant 25 less seats in the Parliament for it, but as long as it gave him a chance to continue he couldn’t care less. After suffering the worst results since 1989, he still clings to his position, dismissing any requests to stand down. Even when the very existence of his country is at stake, with barbarians at the gate that pose a clear and present threat to democracy, a danger obvious for anyone except the radical minority, the ignorant and frivolous (and many Spanish journalists, to be true), the president claims “l’État, c’ estmoi”, subordinating literally everything to his continuity. He has sadly become a gum stuck in the shoe of his party, and also of his country. In spite of this, not a single voice within the party dares to speak out. Everyone keeps saying “roger, roger” like obeying droids, regardless of the extravagance, stupidity or untruthful character of the orders received. Fresh in their memories lies the merciless ousting of the five MPs who decided to go against the president’s orders a year ago and courageously voted against keeping Zapatero’s abortion law untouched, vowing to remain loyal to their consciences and, weirdly enough, to their own party’s electoral program (that had promised to repeal that law).

And, of course, what is to be said about the softie, rookie leader of the socialist party, not only reluctant to any ideas that might seem sensible or commonsensical, but also incapable of drawing a line at the sadistic intimidating tactics of the Leninists? He shares with the current president a blind ambition, allergy to resignation (having obtained the worst result in his party’s history), and little respect to the word given. Didn’t he say that he would “never” reach an agreement with Podemos because “the end of populism is Chavez’s Venezuela”, that is, “poverty, ration cards, lack of democracy…”? Does he suddenly want now, for his own country, poverty, ration cards, lack of democracy and, may I add, the exit from the euro, the expropriation of property and violence in the streets? Does he suddenly believe that through populism we will overcome the very serious challenges we face and that unemployment will be reduced while we go bankrupt and suffer anarchy?

It’s time to wake up and act with generosity and responsibility. Worn-out leaders should resign and the two main parties should be ready to allow the other to govern in minority, avoiding any dependence on the enemies of liberty and concord. However, they should do so without falling into the trap of making the Leninists the only opposition alternative to a supposed government of national unity, the “solution” proposed by the current president to remain in power with the excuse of stability. But it’s also time to reform the system, to return the liberty robbed to the civil society and to create effective checks and balances that may prevent parties’ abuses. Will we be thrown into the sinking sands by the vanity of a few and the silence of the rest?


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