Dark Rumblings Of A Coup D’État In Spain
Spain is on edge. Unemployment is nearly 26%, youth unemployment over 55%. The government is mired in a corruption scandal. The economy is grinding to a halt. On January 23, the Catalan assembly declared that the region constituted a “sovereign political and legal entity.” A step closer to secession. And then a general gave a speech.
It’s just now percolating to the surface, but it happened on February 6, according to people who attended a conference on the Armed Forces and the Constitution at the Gran Peña, a club in Madrid that is a favorite hangout for retired military officers. The discussion was moderated by José Antonio Fernández Rodera, editor of the military’s magazine, Revista Jurídica Militar. Among the speakers were Ángel Calderón, Chief Justice of the Military Chamber; Pedro González-Trevijano, Chancellor of the King Juan Carlos University; and General Juan Antonio Chicharro, until 2010 commander of the Marine Corps and now in the reserves. About 100 people were in the audience.
There was nothing unusual until General Chicharro spoke. From the outset, he made clear that this wasn’t an impromptu speech. According to various attendees, he apologized; he would have declined the invitation to speak, he said, but the current “separatist-secessionist offensive” in Catalonia obligated him to come forward.
In the armed forces, “there is a general feeling of preoccupation, fear, uncertainty, and confusion” on this topic, he said. He lamented the dismissal of General José Mena in 2006 after he’d publicly suggested that military intervention might be needed to counter Catalonia’s demands for increased autonomy.