Autor: Acoca, Miguel. 
 European Community.     Página: 41-42. Páginas: 2. Párrafos: 10. 


MIGUEL ACOCA, Madrid correspondent for Newsweek

The advent of King Juan Carlos I to the throne, vacant for 44 years, brought

hope that Spain, ruled hy Francisco Franco from thc cnd of the 1936-39 civil war

until his death last November 20, with a harsh authoritarian hand, would start

moving toward a West European democratic system. But although Franco was gone,

the king has been very much a captive of Franco´s institutions and of

politicians who made their mark in the dictatorship. Not only did he have to

swear loyalty and allegiance to the dictator´s political "fundamental

principles," but he had to make political deals with entrenched Franco loyalists

to form his first government.

To be sure, the 37-year-old king tried to put distance between himself and the

Franco legacy with symbolic gestures. After the Caudillo was buried in the

basílica in the Valley of the Fallen, a grandiose monument to the Civil War

dead, the king presided over a Thanksgiving Day mass in Madrid which served as a

sort of coronation and assertion of independence. West European leaders who had

shunned the obsequies for Franco came to mass. French President Valéry Giscard

d´Estaing was hailed by the enthusiastic crowds on Madrid´s streets shouting

"Viva Juan Carlos." West Germán President Walter Scheel received similar

greetings. So did Prince Philip, husband of Britain´s Queen Elizabeth II.

The presence of two West European democrats and of Philip, the envoy of a

democratic monarchy, was a symbolic signal that Spain´s neighbors supported the

king and expected him to lead the country, long blackballed from entry into the

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the European Community because of

Franco´s associations with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy during World War II,

into a new era that would dismantle the past.

It was signifkant that at the royal mass Vicente Cardinal Enrique y Tarancon,

who in the past four years orchestrated the Román Catholic Church´s demands for

civil rights, freedom of expression, and political parties, warned the king that

the Spanish church expected his reign to "respect, without discrimination of

privileges, the rights of the human person, and protect and promote the exercise

of adequate freedom for all. . . ." More than anybody, the cardinal formulated

what will become the major challenge to the king—granting the Spanish people

"the necessary common participation in all common problems and in the decisions

of government," something denied by Franco and by his corporative institution.

Although the king has made it clear to friends and diplomáis that he favored

democratic evolution and what in his inaugural speech he called "extensive

improvements," he also stressed that his political program of transition from an

authoritarian regime to a representative monarchy was a two-year task. He

expressed a fear of the right-wing of the regime, associated with Franco and his

restricted political ideáls, with the Falange, Spain´s fascist party, and the

National Movement, which incorporales all the groups that supported Franco

during the war and his long rule.

Another major threat to the king, and the monarchist restoration imposed by

Franco, are the outlawed Spanish left-wing parties, which have resumed their

activities despite continual hounding by the state´s pólice machinery. The

strongest of these, needless to say, is the Communist Party, which has managed

not only to survive but to maintain a constant strength of 10-15 per cent of the

adult population in the past five years.

The king´s first major political loss, however, was inflicted by the regime´s

rightwing. The "bunker," as it is called in Spain, blocked his nomination for

premier. He had let it be known that he wanted either

Manuel Fraga, a dynamic regime modérate who served as Franco´s information

minister and ambassador to London, or José Maria Areilza, a conservative

monarchist and former ambassador to Washington and París. Both men have

advocated regime reforms to ease Spain´s entry into the European Community and

NATO, and to defuse the pentup demand for political pluralism in the country

itself. The right-wing vetoed their nomination in the Council of the Realm, a

constitutional body created by Franco to filter and narrow the choice of premier

after he was gone from the scene.

Burned in his first political initiative, the king backed away from a contest

and decided to retain Carlos Arias as chief of government. By keeping Arias,

named by Franco in 1973 to serve a five-year term, the king made a concession to

the past. The deal gave the king the chance to have Fraga in the cabinet as vice

premier and interior minister and Areilza as foreign minister. Fraga represents

regime forces seeking renewal and adaptation to the times. Areilza gives the

king a voice to Europe and the United States, and a keen analyst who can advise

him on the pitfalls that he faces abroad and at home.

But the number two man in the cabinet was a military officer, Lieutenant General

Fernando de Santiago, who becamc first vice premier in charge of defense affairs

and minister without portfolio. Just before

he was appointed, he delivered a speech calling "subversión" Spain´s greatest

peril, and on taking office he remarked that the Spanish people wanted a life

without "swift breaks" with the past and "without adventure."

In a succinct way, the general summed up the king´s—and Spain´s—dilemma: How to

give the Spanish people what they want without antagonizing the extreme right,

which dislikes conservative monarchists like Areilza and dynamic modérates like

Fraga, and without collapsing the institutions inherited from Franco. Yet the

general is a watchdog for the armed forces, which, while not political, are

divided between young officers who want change and sénior Civil War officers who

want to modify and modernize the system.

The outlawed left, feeling deprived once again, took to the streets to make its

weight felt and to call, attention to the world that the king was a captiva of

the system. The king´s pardon of political and common prisoners was denounced as

"limited" and "restricted." When Marcelino Camacho, Communist leader of the

underground workers´ commissions, now Spain´s most powerful labor organization,

was freed under the terms of the pardon, he called the royal gesture "an insult"

because it wasn´t a general amnesty for all political prisoners, estimated at

2000, and because it did not allow the return of political exiles, many of whom

have been abroad since the end of the Civil War.

The left—led by the Communists—orchestrated a campaign of demonstration whose

rallying cry was amnesty. A party spokesman said, "We´ll continué the demand

until something gives. Amnesty is the cornerstone of political freedom in Spain.

Without it, there can be no healing of the wounds of the Civil War and



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