Artículo de Renwick Mclean en “The New York Times” del 10-Dec-06


 Por su interés y relevancia he seleccionado el artículo que sigue para incluirlo en este sitio web.


Con un breve comentario al final:




Luis Bouza-Brey, (13-12-06, 23:30)


 Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who earned great popularity by withdrawing Spanish troops from Iraq in 2004, has used his political capital to broadly reshape life here, pushing Spain to the left both socially and politically. One result is the opening of deep rifts in a country long dominated by religious conservatism.

Dispensing with the moderation that previous Socialist governments deemed crucial to stability, Mr. Zapatero has eliminated all legal distinctions between same-sex and heterosexual unions and diluted longstanding ties between the state and the Roman Catholic Church. He has also expanded women’s rights and access to power in a society that traditionally restricted them.

Many here are worried that he has moved too far too fast.

Zapatero takes for granted issues that many people, particularly the older generations, still worry about,” said Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, a founder of the Elcano Royal Institute, a public policy research organization in Madrid, who added that the prime minister “is governing with half of Spain, but against almost the entire other half. That is risky.”

Mr. Zapatero rejects suggestions that he should temper his approach.

“When people say he’s going too fast, he says, ‘Go ask gay couples or other groups who have been denied their rights if I’m going too fast,’ ” said Fernando Moraleda, Mr. Zapatero’s communications director.

Public opinion in Spain seems to back him up. It leans decidedly left of center, more so than in any other country in Europe, according to surveys.

But Spain is still grappling with the divisive legacy of a dictatorship that ended 30 years ago and it has a history of splitting into hostile ideological camps that threaten the country’s political stability.

In such a climate, Mr. Zapatero’s critics argue that he has an obligation to avoid polarizing agendas and to govern less from the left than public opinion might warrant.

“It’s probably the great mistake of Zapatero that will go down in the history books,” said Ignacio Astarloa, one of the most influential members of the center-right Popular Party, the main opposition group in Parliament. “He’s destroying the consensus that we have created during the democracy.”

Previous Socialist Party governments tended to adopt moderate agendas to preserve the social cohesion that was painstakingly cultivated during the transition to democracy after Franco’s death in 1975.

Mr. Zapatero has gambled that Spanish society is now stable enough and its democracy advanced enough that such moderation is no longer necessary.

It is a significant wager, according to many. Mr. Lamo de Espinosa, the researcher, said Mr. Zapatero, 46, acquired political maturity when democracy was already established in Spain. “He takes democracy for granted, and he takes social and political stability in Spain for granted,” Mr. Lamo de Espinosa said.

Mr. Zapatero has therefore been willing to openly defy the Catholic Church with his policies legalizing gay marriage and making divorce easier. He has also presented a legislative package condemning Franco’s dictatorship and honoring its opponents, taking sides in a conflict long considered too divisive for the government to address.

And he has dismissed concerns he is flirting with the disintegration of Spain with his openness to greater autonomy for the regions of Catalonia and the Basque Provinces, whose separatist leanings — and the debate over how to contain them — have roiled national politics since democracy began here.

Mr. Zapatero’s philosophy, rooted in what he calls citizen socialism, is based on near-pacifism in foreign policy, expanding civil rights and a preference for following rather than guiding the will of the people.

“He is not a leftist,” said one friend, who spoke about him on condition of anonymity. “He is a radical democrat.”

Whatever risks there are, Mr. Zapatero’s commitment to “soft power” seems to have led to advances on some of Spain’s most intractable issues, including a pledge in March from the militant Basque separatist group ETA to honor a permanent cease-fire in exchange for dialogue with the government.

The problem, however, is that ETA has so far refused to disarm or disband, raising questions about its commitment.

That has fueled criticism that Mr. Zapatero bent to terrorists by offering talks with ETA to procure the cease-fire. Critics also say he yielded too much early this year in negotiations over greater autonomy for Catalonia.

“It is a very efficient way of governing,” said Antonio Elorza, a political science professor at the Complutense University of Madrid. But on serious matters of state, he said, such as the quest for more self-government from Spain’s regions, concessions must be constrained by clearly stated principles.

Zapatero has offered no vision,” he said. “We are reforming the state without any idea of where we are going.”

But Mr. Zapatero’s aides say that critics are confusing his flexibility and openness to dialogue with weakness, and that his record of achievement since taking office testifies to the power of his philosophy.

Even if the peace process with ETA proceeds, Mr. Zapatero must still address the Basque regional government’s demands for more autonomy from Madrid, a process that he has agreed to undertake but that could be even more perilous than this year’s negotiations with Catalonia.

He also faces growing public unease over illegal immigration from Africa, and the prospect that Spain’s economy could finally cool after a decade of solid growth, throwing current problems into sharper relief.

Yet recent history suggests that Spanish governments are hard to dislodge from power in the absence of major crises or scandals, particularly governments that lean to the left.

“Even if Spaniards are unhappy with the policies of Zapatero,” said Mr. Lamo de Espinosa of the Elcano Institute, “it doesn’t mean they will prefer the opposition.”


Breve comentario final:




Luis Bouza-Brey, (13-12-06, 23:30)



Los homosexuales tenían garantizadas sus libertades desde comienzos de la democracia sin que nadie se escandalizara por ello, en un país mucho más abierto de lo que este artículo da a entender. Pero en lugar de regular jurídicamente uniones de hecho que completasen la actualización del ordenamiento jurídico, el Gobierno de Largo Zapatero mezcla y confunde el matrimonio heterosexual con el homosexual sin necesidad , realismo ni prudencia.


A las mujeres se las ha discriminado positivamente, obligando a proporcionarles cuotas en diversas posiciones sociales con independencia del mérito y cualidades de las candidatas. ¿Es esto una prueba de modernidad y de progreso? Más bien de atraso y de ataque radical al principio de igualdad ante la ley proclamado por la Constitución.


Ambas políticas, que se pretende que constituyan  el símbolo del progresismo del Gobierno, constituyen necedades propias de un infantilismo ideológico radical impropio de la madurez general del país.


Pero esto no es lo más importante, sino que el aspecto más grave y atentatorio contra la estabilidad de España lo constituye el cambio impulsado por el Gobierno en lo referente a la memoria histórica y resultante de sus alianzas con las minorías comunistas e independentistas, que rechazan el modelo democrático  y la descentralización compatible con la unidad del Estado instaurados desde la transición, reivindicando el régimen republicano de los años treinta, marginando a la derecha democrática mediante pactos impropios de un régimen de estas características, e impulsando un  confederalismo precontemporáneo que destruye en el medio plazo la unidad y el funcionamiento viable del Estado.


Eso es lo más grave, la aceptación de las políticas anacrónicas y sectarias de grupos políticos minoritarios, con el fin de apuntalarse en el poder y marginar a la mitad del país, mediante la apertura de un boquete en la línea de flotación del sistema y la ruptura del pacto básico sobre el que se sustentaba la Constitución del 78. La consecuencia de ello es que el país se mueve a la deriva, sin rumbo ni objetivos claros y aceptados democráticamente por la mayoría, dividido por una brecha estructural grave y debilitado frente al terrorismo y el separatismo. Debilidad incrementada por la inconsciencia de un liderazgo irresponsable apoyado en fuerzas destructivas, aupadas al poder como muletas para afianzarse en su disfrute, por un partido que ha traicionado sus valores básicos de socialismo, igualdad, democracia y progreso.