Two of my independent journalism colleagues asked me from Havana about corruption in Spain and in particular the cases of Iñaki Urdangarin, son-in-law of King Juan Carlos, and Luis Barcenas, former treasurer of the Peoples Party and former senator from that political group, which seems to be in jeopardy after the discovery of their Swiss bank accounts.
Both colleagues explain to me that the official press in Cuba is highlighting the Barcenas case as a symbol of corruption of the governing party which, according to them, shows the cynicism of the Island mandarins, who have spread corruption and poverty as a way of life and their domination over the island they alone have governed since 1959.
As I already said to these friends, I just said that Barcenas and Urdangarin are two examples of a phenomenon that comes from Spain’s past and seems to multiply with the economic, social and ethical crisis. In the area of the politics of budget cuts, the millions of unemployed, the public protests and the expressions of uncertainty aired in the press to report with precision the more than 200 directors processed by the courts for defrauding their electors in four districts in the country. At bottom there are the structural problems that threaten democracy and the need for reforms to lead the nation toward a state of social well-being.
They are investigating the King’s son-in-law for appropriating money obtained from promoting sporting events in Palma de Mallorca. Luis Barcenas, who admitted having 38 million euros in Switzerland, on charges of bribery, tax evasion, and defrauding the public treasury. The judge is looking for the origin of so much money and the patronage implications of this conspirator in a melodrama that, along with stealing from the party, is in the public eye.
I made it clear to my friends that Spain has problems and is a difficult country to govern, like others in the European Mediterranean basin. In Spain, however, they air their dirty laundry and expose the politicians who forget their commitments to the voters and focus on their personal enrichment. Luis Barcenas, alias “the bastard,” is one example.
March 4 2013