Monday, February 14, 2011


The Partido Popular’s vice president of communication, Esteban González Pons, put the cat amongst the pigeons at the weekend when talking about the departure of Egypt’s president Hosni Mubarak.

He said the protests in Egypt served to demonstrate to Spaniards: “fed up with unemployment, of the crisis, of the crisis of values social and political and of the institutional depression that when the people want to they can rise up – and the Spanish people want to.”

Pons was speaking at the presentation of the party’s candidates in municipalities of over 20,000 people in Valencia. However his statement brought a swift response from Gaspar Zarrías, the Secretary of State on political matters.

Zarrías said it was an “embarrassment” to compare Spain with Egypt. He added that the people of Egypt are now winning the liberty that the people of Spain have had since 1977 – democracy and the right to live in dignity. He stressed that Spanish people were free and that democracy shines everywhere. Zarrías added that González Pons spoke on occasions “outrageously” and this was one of them.

Indeed! There are plenty of criticisms you can lay at Spain’s door but to compare it with the situation in Egypt is not only ridiculous, it cheapens the fight of the people of that country and in short makes González Pons appear a fool.

Spain’s people are free to demonstrate and in May this year they can vote out their town halls and in March next year their national and regional governments –in free and fair elections. Spaniards enjoy freedom of speech and no longer fear the midnight knock at the door – as Egyptians have done till now –a fear which in Spain only died along with Franco.

Of course González Pons is of a centre-right party – elements of which still hanker after the days of Franco. Amongst their ranks they would admire the strict Mubarak-style regime supported by the military.

It’s the Egypt of old that should serve as a warning and reminder to Spaniards!


Prospero said...

While the lines between the political left and right are increasingly blurry all over the 'developed' world, Gonzalez Pons makes sure that they become clearer every now an then.
You say he appears a fool - sorry, he's a lot more dangerous than that: he's a fool with power and is listened to very carefully by the extreme right of his party.
Incidentally, the PP is becoming increasingly disenchanted with their present leader Rajoy. Gonzalez Pons is just waiting for his chance, methinks.
Well, he'd make the lines clearer, if nothing else.

Mary said...

Another General who’s dead and won’t lie down!