Back to Index

SPAIN: The assassination of Ernest Lluch

Aldo Musacchio discounts the possibility of a coup in Spain:

" I think that, to support that, you would have to ignore the process of democratic consolidation that took place in Spain after the death of Franco. Spain is now one of the best examples of countries that went from dictatorship to democracy successfully. The biggest proof of this is the fact that have lived without major political turmoil since 1981, and also that the leftist PSOE and the rightist PP have already alternated in power without problems. I know that the current fear of ETA may make many Spaniards support tougher action against that group, but I don't think that means a coup would be supported. The conditions in Spain in 1936-39 were very different for those prevailing now, and the political arena was more polarized back then. You know it better than I. Back then the left was a real threat to the conservative groups, and a civil war was a feasible solution. Today the left is no longer a threat to the right, it plays the democratic game just like the rightist PP. A coup would need a large sector of the population that does not believe in democratic institutions, which I don't think exists in Spain. ETA is a minority, and their objectives don't reflect the preferences of Basque voters (as have been proved in past elections and referendums)."

My comment: I agree with everything that Aldo says. However, in policy studies you have to consider the most absurd things, such as a war between the US and Canada. The most unexpected things happen. In 1914, no one thought that there would be a world war like World War I, except for British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey, and ironically he was partly to blame for Britain's involvement. In 1931, during the euphoria of the 1931 revolution, no Spaniard would have dreamed of the possibility of a civil war. Note that I have a great admiration for the present government of Spain, and the statement of José María Aznar today about the death of Ernest Lluch was splendid both in terms of content and as a speech.

As for Mexico, the recent developments have been very encouraging. but the Frente Popular Francisco Villa, backed by Cuba and supported by groups such as the striking students at the national university UNAM, threatens to cause serious trouble. There is more violent unrest in Mexico than most outsiders realize. Remember that in 1910 the 80th birthday of Porfirio Díaz was celebrated with an impressive ceremony at which foreign delegates, notably that of the head of the US delegation, lavished praise on him. No one dreamed that the Mexican Revolution was about the break out. Again, I sincerely hope that any concern is unjustified, but we must be prepared for anything.

As for Mexico, I am delighted that it that taken such a step toward democracy happen on the world scene. people realize.

Ronald Hilton - 11/24/00