Spain’s vi­brant democ­racy

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Calm­ing the Cat­alo­nia cri­sis,” edi­to­rial, Oct. 31

Your edi­to­rial is shock­ing, lacks ob­jec­tiv­ity and shows dis­re­spect for Spain, a democ­racy un­der the rule of law. Your use of the

words “Franco-style” to de­scribe my gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse to the se­ces­sion­ists’ at­tempts to break Spain’s sovereignty is of­fen­sive and ab­so­lutely out of tune.

Ar­ti­cle 155 of our Con­sti­tu­tion is an ex­tra­or­di­nary con­trol mech­a­nism not unique to Spain. Both Pres­i­dent Eisen­hower in 1957 and Pres­i­dent Kennedy in 1963 evoked a sim­i­lar prin­ci­ple in or­der to en­force the rule of law in the United States. By us­ing it, the gov­ern­ment seeks to pro­tect all Span­ish cit­i­zens, es­pe­cially those in Cat­alo­nia.

Af­ter a long pe­riod of dic­ta­tor­ship and many strug­gles, Spain has over the last 40-plus years be­come a thriv­ing pro­gres­sive democ­racy, open to the world and re­spect­ful of hu­man rights. We have learned the les­son so well that we lack far-right par­lia­men­tary rep­re­sen­ta­tion, some­thing that not ev­ery coun­try can say. Still, your edi­to­rial em­pha­sizes a long-gone past.

Fi­nally, your re­fusal to use the word “ter­ror­ist” when men­tion­ing the group ETA is un­for­tu­nate and alarm­ing. Both the U.S. Depart­ment of State and the Euro­pean Union have long la­beled it a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion. Re­fer­ring to ETA merely as “Basque separatists” and to its de­spi­ca­ble ac­tions as “armed strug­gle” is in­ac­cu­rate and in­sen­si­tive to the more than 800 peo­ple it has killed. Pe­dro Morenés

Wash­ing­ton The writer is Spain’s am­bas­sador to the United States.

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