Spain’s Return to Franquist Fascism under Mariano Rajoy’s PP
Spain’s Return to Franquist Fascism
by E.B. de Mas
We should have seen the signs a few years ago when an inquiry was opened into one of Spain’s most renkown jurists, Baltasar Garzón. Judge Garzón dared poke a hornet’s nest. It wasn’t the first time he’d done it. In 1998 he issued an international arrest warrant for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet for crimes against humanity. Britain’s Home Secretary famously turned down the extradition request on health grounds, and as is the case for most dictators, Pinochet made a miraculous recovery once setting foot back in his homeland. He lived to the ripe old age of ninety one in the comfort of his private mansion. Ten years and many other important cases later Judge Garzón made a mistake that would end up costing him his career as a Spanish judge. He opened an investigation into crimes against humanity committed by the Franquist Regime. Suddenly the news was abuzz with accusations against him. Spain’s right wing party, the PP, legitimate agnatic child of the fascist regime was in a frenzy. There was an amnesty! they screamed. An amnesty was the condition of your freedom. They were right, there was a deal. It was law 46/1977 in effect from the 15th of October of 1977, two years after the Generalísimo’s death. The agreement entailed the release of political prisoners jailed by the regime and a bi-lateral amnesty for crimes committed during the civil war. Apparently the regime also got a bonus since the amnesty also covered the multitude of crimes it committed during the dictatorship. Apologists of Franquism often tell us that both sides were equally violent during the civil war, just as often they fail to mention that the side that was in power continued to violently persecute opposition for the almost four decades that followed the war. The 1940’s alone saw the murder of between 15,000 to 50,000 opponents of the government. The number varies depending on which side you ask. The dictatorship suppressed regional dialects and even Catalunya’s national dance, the Sardana. Catholicism was re-established as Spain’s official religion. Civil marriages were outlawed as were divorce, contraceptives and abortion. Any opposition was violently crushed by the power structure or the batons of the policia armada known as los grises. Thirty seven years after the Caudillo’s death, his virtual representatives in the form of Mariano Rajoy’s party are staging a comeback of his political doctrine.
Under the current administration we have seen the repeal of the previous government’s 2006 reforms which gave journalistic independence to Spanish public television and radio, TVE and RTVE respectively. The PP has ensured the firing of all TVE journalists who dared do their job and question government policy, including the reknowned Ana Pastor and Xabier Fortes. They have been substituted by an Aznar era, pro-regime team which will no doubt better serve the government in delivering its propaganda. We cannot say we were not warned. In the 2011 interview PP spokeswoman Maria Dolores de Cospedal gave Ana Pastor, the message was clear. Cospedal went on television to deliver the kiss of death in person. Solemnly she announced that she spoke for the PP when she said TVE was not impartial. She said this despite the acclaim of TVE’s news programs and the reputation of the journalists in question. Nevermind the facts at hand. After all, politician’s rarely let facts get in their way.
Meanwhile, Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz Gallardon has been focusing his efforts on a proposal that will criminalize forms of abortion that have been legal and socially accepted for decades. Current abortion regulations grant women abortion on demand up to the 14th week of pregnancy and up to the 22nd week in cases where the fetus is severely malformed. Gallardón intends to suppress malformation as legal grounds for abortion and raise the age of necessary parental consent from 15 to 18. Their Franquist tactics don’t end there, they’ve also adopted egregious persecution of dissent as outlined by a letter sent to FACUA, one of Spain’s largest consumer rights associations by the Department of Health, Social Services & Equality headed by Pilar Farjas. The letter comes in the form of a cease and desist order giving the organization fifteen days to stop its campaigns against cuts in education, health and its opposition to the hike in VAT rates. FACUA has been told these activities fall outside of the purview of associations that fight for the rights of consumers. I imagine the legal basis for Ms. Farjas’ statement is that the citizenry do not qualify as consumers because the government intends to no longer provide citizens with any services anyway. Should the association not comply, they will lose their status as an officially recognized consumer rights group.
It has taken the Rajoy administration less than 230 days to attack and attempt to dismantle the social progress it took Spain nearly thirty-seven years to achieve. If the government continues on its current track, by the time their mandate is nearing its end in three and a half years it will be 2015 in the rest of the developed world but a very Franquist March of 1976 in Spain. Now that Manuel Fraga is dead I wonder who’s going to give the order to break down the doors of the church and shoot.