martes, 1 de enero de 2008

Tiempos modernos

A veces la mirada de un extranjero tiene la virtud de hacernos ver el bosque donde los de aquí podemos perdernos entre los árboles. Me ha parecido un buen resumen de la situación política española éste de Richard Rahn, publicado en The Washington Times, reproducido por The Brussels Journal, y sobre el que me ha llamado la atención Blogoscopio. Está en un inglés muy legible (para que lo entienda yo...) Las negritas son mías, y las apostillas obviamente también.

Is Spain Breaking Apart?

Richard Rahn (26-12-07)

Spain has been one of the great democratic and economic success stories of the last three decades. But there is now some reason to fear for its future. Here is why:

Spain was one of the first nation-states, having completed the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from the islamic Moors in 1492 (the same year as the first Columbus voyage). Imperial Spain was Europe’s leading power during the 16th and much of the 17th century. The Spanish empire included all of central America, most of South America, the Philippines, and parts of modern Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and elsewhere.

Thereafter, Spain, besieged by enemies and internal misrule, went into long-term decline, culminating with the loss of most of its few remaining colonies during the Spanish-American war of 1898.

The Spanish had a vicious civil war from 1936 to 1939, with the forces of the left supported by the Soviet Union and Mexico, and the nationalists, led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco, supported by the Germans and Italians. Franco became dictator and kept Spain neutral during the World War II. After the war, Spain was politically and economically isolated until 1955 when it became a Cold War ally of the United States and Western Europe.

Muy bien dicho: es decir, nada de las fuerzas “democráticas”, ni siquiera republicanas (la República ya había perecido de facto cuando estalló la guerra) contra el fascismo, sino un conflicto entre la izquierda y los nacionales (o simplemente la derecha). Demócratas no había en ninguno de los dos bandos. La propaganda comunista cosechó un gran éxito en la divulgación del mito de que en la zona del Frente Popular perduraba la legalidad republicana, pero mantener semejante embuste setenta años después sólo puede ser producto de la ignorancia o del sectarismo (o de ambas cosas: lo más habitual).

In the 1960s, the economy of Spain was revived, and the country grew rapidly, becoming a modern industrial state. In 1975, Generalissimo Franco died, and Prince Juan Carlos took over as king and head of state.

He immediately began transforming Spain into a democratic kingdom, which was accomplished in 1978 with the approval of the new Spanish constitution. Spains was able to accomplish a peaceful transition to a modern functioning democracy, with the central governmentswinging back and forth between the forces of the moderate left and right, because of an implicit agreement not to refight the battles of the past.

Spain has been a member of the European Union and adopted the euro as its currency at the beginning of 2002. Spaniards are now as rich on a per-capita basis, as the average European. The country has a pleasant and sunny climate, which is reflected in the dispositions of most of its people. The Spaniards have moved in two generations from conservative church-going Catholics to some of the most socially liberal people of the planet (the Californians of Europe). Recent surveys have shown the Spaniards to be among the happiest people on Earth. In sum, Spain seems to have everything goiing for it, but there are problems in paradise.

Aunque exagera un tanto la nota paradisíaca (ya nos gustaría ser la California de Europa, por ejemplo en innovación tecnológica) el párrafo no puede menos que hacernos reflexionar. Si para un observador extranjero las generaciones actuales de españoles son de lo más liberal, socialmente hablando, del orbe, cabe preguntarse de dónde viene entonces esa obsesión de muchos por hacer impertinente pedagogía de lo que llaman laicismo, y a quién pretende ilustrar el gobierno actual cuando se autoconcede medallas por defender a los gays, transexuales y demás individuos de costumbres sexuales creativas, como si llevaran tiempo esperando la llegada de su redentor. ¿No será que algunos necesitan crearse enemigos imaginarios (el oscurantismo y bla bla bla) para justificar sus carencias ideológicas?

Despite being citizens of one of the oldest nation-states, many Spanish identify more with their regions than the central state. Spains has four official lenguages —Castilian Spanish, Catalan, Galician and Basque, as well as several unofficial languages. The outside world has been well aware of the actions of the Basque separatists because of the ETA terrorists [¡bien!], who have just killed two Spanish police officials in the basque area of France (which adjoins the Basque area of Spain).

Análogamente a la apostilla anterior, siendo como es España uno de los países más descentralizados del mundo, no deja de resultar tampoco digno de reflexión que el propio presidente del gobierno hable del derecho de decisión de los vascos, o haya puesto su empeño personal en la aprobación de un nuevo Estatuto catalán, como si se vinieran a satisfacer por fin, gracias al mesías socialista, viejas reivindicaciones históricas. Que al día siguiente son el trampolín para otras nuevas, perdón, quiero decir viejísimas.

The new socialist government of Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, which unexpectedly gained power after the Islamic terrorist Madrid trains bombing in march 2004, has unnecessarily opened old wounds by proposing a Law of Historical Memory, which would rewrite the history of the Franco period and take away the recognition of many who suffered on both sides of the civil war. This is seen by many Spaniards as an attempt to undo the historical implicit contract of not retrying old battles, and is fueling an increase in political partianship and tensions.

¡Y tanto que unexpectedly!

Análoga reflexión, y van tres, que en las dos apostillas anteriores: ¿Quién reclamaba una ley de memoria histórica, salvo aquellos que se identifican con uno de los dos bandos y no lamentan los crímenes que cometió, sino sólo que perdiera? ¿Quién a estas alturas seguía sintiéndose agraviado por un régimen autodisuelto hace tres décadas?

Más discutible es que el atentado del 11-M se adjetive como islamista. Desde luego, no es de Al-Qaida, que recluta a sus terroristas suicidas entre gente de alto nivel de instrucción y por supuesto nulos contactos con el mundo del hampa o de la policía, es decir, nada que ver con los infelices que han sido condenados. Queda entonces sólo la posibilidad de un grupúsculo local lo suficientemente fanatizado para planear y ejecutar un atentado de gran envergadura sin recibir instrucciones del exterior, pero al mismo tiempo declinar suicidarse hasta nueva orden... de no sabemos quién.

About 30 percent of Spaniards traditionally support the right-leaning party. Another 30 percent support the left-leaning party (which is now in power). Most of the rest of the vote is split among the various regional parties, which allows them to serve as power brokers. They have used this power to further decentralize the government and work for more separatist policies.

The Spanish economy did very well under the administration of Jose Maria Aznar (1996-2004), who undertook structural reforms and sound fiscal policies. Even so, Spain still has too much government interference in the economy, particularly with labor market rigidities (Spain ranks No. 27 on the Index of Economic Freedom). The Spanish economy is facing a loss of international competitiveness and low productivity growth, which does not bode well for its future.

The open questions for Spain are: Will it return to the high-growth policies of the Aznar years and increase economic freedom or adopt more statist and growth-killing policies? And will it move toward constructive decentralization with regional and language tolerance, as it has been successfully done in Switzerland, or will the struggles over regional power (and language) paralyze the country as it is now happening in Belgium?

En realidad, ambas cuestiones son una sola. No hay libertad económica, hay libertad sin más, y eso incluye lo mismo la de criticar a los gobernantes, elegir la educación (y la lengua en que se realice) de los propios hijos, o crear una empresa sin que la carrera de obstáculos burocrático-legales acabe desmoralizándote. Libertad o estatismo, no hay más, y me da igual que se trate de Estados con capital en Madrid, Barcelona o Vitoria. O Bruselas.