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Ex-king Absent As Spain Marks 40 Years Since Failed Coup

Spain celebrated 40 years after the failure of the military coup on Tuesday, but there was no former King Juan Carlos whose intervention stopped the crisis and turned the country towards democracy.

At a parliamentary ceremony where traces of a bullet fired just 40 years ago are still visible, Spain’s Felipe VI welcomed those involved in the cessation of the riot that ultimately resulted in a “victory of democracy.” ..

“Today, 40 years ago, Spain experienced a very serious attack on its democratic regime,” the King told Parliament, praising his father’s intervention in the crisis that occurred when he was only 13 years old. ..

However, Juan Carlos, who abdicated in 2014 and voluntarily exiled last year due to heightened doubts about the origin of wealth, did not attend the ceremony, despite his central role in stopping the coup. did.





Juan Carlos (left) abdicated in 2014 and voluntarily went into exile last year due to heightened doubts about the origin of his property.
AFP / OSCAR DEL POZO

For many Spaniards, the memories remain fresh on the cold afternoon of February 23, 1981. Approximately 200 Guardian Civil officers, loyal to the late Francisco Franco, who died in 1975, attack Congress and vote for a new government.

However, the plan failed due to Juan Carlos’ decisive reaction, and the King, in uniform as commander-in-chief, gave a speech on television, calling on the military not to support the coup and to respect the fledgling constitution. It was.

The rebels surrendered at noon on February 24 and released the MPs held hostage less than a day after the attempted coup began.

“King Juan Carlos took on his responsibility and commitment to the Constitution … (and) his firmness and authority was decisive for the defense and victory of democracy,” Felipe said.

“That night I was still a child, but I was also a witness to that historic event and learned the immense value of freedom for the Spanish people.”



Spain's Felipe VI (left) and Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (right) attend a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of the failure of the military coup on February 23, 1981.


Spain’s Felipe VI (left) and Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez (right) attend a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of the failure of the military coup on February 23, 1981.
AFP / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

In an editorial, El Mundo said that Juan Carlos’ failure to attend the ceremony every day “should not undermine the wonderful role he played because of his own blameful mistakes.” Stated.

“He stopped the coup and democracy was strengthened to be one of the best in the West,” he added.

A coup anniversary occurs when a division occurs within the ruling left-wing coalition over the definition of democracy. Left-wing Podemos said Spain lacked “normality of democracy” after imprisoning Catalan separatist leaders over the failure of the 2017 independent bid.

The Basque and Catalan separatists decided to boycott the event on Tuesday and announced a manifesto that the failure of the coup was actually a gradual event by the Spanish state aimed at rocking true democracy. ..

In the manifesto, they called for a break from the political generation that emerged after Franco’s death and for revealing the true truth about the coup that failed due to the declassification of official documents.

“As long as the state supports the same political, legal and democratic structure that existed 40 years ago, it does not recognize self-determination and is democratic as long as there are political prisoners, asylum seekers and oppressors. Neither normality nor the state can be regarded as a complete democracy. ”

“Recently, we’ve seen social dissatisfaction, protests, and tiredness on these democratic shortcomings on the streets,” referring to a wave of street protests after rappers were imprisoned for controversial tweets. Did.

“True democratization will only be possible by breaking this heritage.”



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