Friday, 26 January 2007

Spanish democracy? Don't make me laugh

The Spanish state tries to portray itself as a modern democracy, where human rights are respected and where freedom of speech is tolerated barely 30 years after Franco's death.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Spain is not a democracy in the liberal, western sense of the word. Just a quick review of a couple of issues that are in the news these days:

+ETA prisoner kept in prison because of newspaper articles

Iñaki de Juana Chaos is a ETA prisoner. He is on a hunger strike and his medical condition has deteriorated substantially. The Procurator applied for him to be given conditional release, which means that he will go home but will be under 24/7 surveillance.
The Judges of the Tribunal Supremo (a High Court set up by Franco which was not disbanded after his death) have decreed that he is to remain in prison. Investigating this case further, one discovers that this man is due for release as he has served the maximum term under Spanish law. However, he is being kept in prison under a provisional judgement, which found him guilty of sponsoring and appearing to give support to political acts of violence (apology of terrorism). He wrote two articles in newspapers attacking some of the Spanish dogmas (unity, etc) and supporting the democratic right of self-determination of stateless nations. His pending release was reviewed after that. The newspapers have not been prosecuted though.
All this and more is explained in this eye-opening editorial article of Vilaweb, the Catalan news portal.

+ Prosecutor pursues case against satirical actor who questioned the holy unity of Spain

Then we have the case of Pepe Rubianes. (Previous post)
Now the Spanish Prosecution Service is soliciting a fine of 21,600 euros for actor Pepe Rubianes for an alleged "ultraje a España" (Insulting Spain). Apart from Turkey, Spain is the only country either in the EU or trying to get in, with this kind of thought crime still being punished by the authorities. Can anyone imagine the CPS (Crime Prosecution Service) in the UK pursuing a similar case?

Yet, the Spanish Prosecution Service does not pursue similar cases when rabid Spanish nationalists like radio network COPE, or Libertad Digital, El Mundo, etc, promulgate their agenda of hatred and racism against Catalans or Basques or immigrants. In a normal European country, the COPE network would have its licensed withdrawn and its main journalists being prosecuted for hate crimes. Alas, they are Spanish nationalists, so it is a free for all. Very much like General Galindo, condemned and sentenced to prison after being found guilty of killing several civilians while being Chief Commander of the Spanish Guardia Civil, but released only after a couple of years. It is one law if you are a dogmatic Spanish nationalist, and a different one for Basques and Catalans.

Spain, far from being a democracy, is a place where thought crime is actively punished by the authorities, and freedom of speech severely curtailed by an establishment that is heir to the Spanish nationalism and protofascist dogmas of Franco and his followers.

I give my full support and backing to Pepe Rubianes and all the journalists who write under the menacing monitoring of Spanish nationalist groups, judges, policeman, military and prosecutors.

I too think this dogmatic obsession with the unity of Spain is bollocks and fascist bullshit. Moreover, I can tell the Tribunal Supremo, the Spanish Governent, the protofascist COPE, Libertad Digital, Fundación para la Defensa de la Nación Española and all the rest of scummy fascist bastards that they can stick their fucking Spain up their tight arses. I think Spain, the Spanish Constitution and the Tribunal Supremo and the Tribunal Constitucional are all fucking shite, bullshit and horseshit of the highest order. Up yours.

Loose Spanish translation for the pleasure of Spanish police, judges, politicians and other authorities reading this humble blog. I am looking forward to your extradition proceedings notice….

Me cago en la puta Unidad de España de los cojones. Os podéis meter la puta Unidad de España por donde os quepa, panda de hijos de puta fascistas. Me cago en la puta Constitución Española, en la puta Unidad de España, en la puta imposición del idioma español para todos y por cojones, en el puto Gobierno Español, el Tribunal Supremo y en la Audiencia Nacional. Me cago en el puto Rey Juan Carlos I, heredero del cabrón de Franco, que lo puso a dedo, y en toda su putrefacta familia de subnormales y vividores que son los Borbones de mierda. Y me cago en la puta Monarquía y en la institución del Jefe del Estado y en vuestro puto Ejercito Español de mierda y me cago en la Nación Española y sus defensores de mierda. Sois una panda de hijos de puta todos vosotros y vuestras sacrosantas instituciones y dogmas de mierda me dan arcadas. Os mando a todos a tomar por culo, porque no sois más que puta mierda, basura, caca de la vaca y vuestros dogmas de mierda me los paso por el culo. Ahora, si tenéis cojones, me buscáis la IP y contactáis con el Consulado Español en Edimburgo y pedís la extradición si tenéis cojones, hijos de puta, españolitos de mierda.

In the above paragraph in Spanish I more or less express my feelings for the Spanish Constitution and the concept of the Unity of Spain. I also encourage the Spanish authorities to locate my IP and launch extradition proceedings. After all, they are prosecuting Rubianes for much, much less than this.

Rubianes was having a laugh; he’s a comedy actor after all. However, I am dead serious. I honestly think that Spanish Unity and the fucking Spanish Constitution is pure horseshit.

Now you tell me if writing, saying or thinking the above is a crime that should be punished in a normal democracy.
Answers in a postcard to:
Juzgado de Primera Instancia/Instrucción nº5
C/ Dalt, 10-12
08980 Sant Feliu de Llobregat

The above court will hold the preliminary hearing on this case.

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Warning: the CFA exams can lower your self-esteem

After all the effort, after all the hours (about 150), after all the sacrifices, I got the CFA results today: fail.

Q#TopicMax Pts<=50%51%-70%>70%
-Alternative Assets12- - *
- Derivatives12- * -
- Economics24- - *
-Equity Analysis24- - *
-Ethical & Professional Stnds.36-
-Financial Statement Analysis68
- -
-Fixed Income Analysis24
* -
-General Portfolio Management12
* -
-Quantitative Analysis28


Pass rate was 39%. It was a close call but a fail nevertheless.
I am drained and exhausted.

Advice: if you ever consider taking the CFA Level 1 exam, make sure you put in the recommended number of hours (250 hours) and don't do what I did: 150 hours.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Our own cowardice

I was reading the brillian post by Ian Llorens, ‘Catalonia, a country without cojones’.

He is damn right.

There is no possible excuse. There is no point in blaming immigration from the south of Spain or from South America. We are a cowardly nation that will never get rid of the Spanish yoke.

“We are the lowest of the low..”
Remember the rant by Renton (Ewan McGregor) in Trainspotting about how shite it is to be Scottish and to be from Scotland? I feel the same about Catalonia. Or worse.

The English at least are still a powerful nation and they gave the world, admittedly together with the Scots of the Enlightenment and early Industrial Revolution, great works of engineering, art, philosophy, etc. At least the Scots have been/are being conquered by a winning nation.

We on the other hand are being obliterated by the Spaniards. Spain has never won any war against anyone –apart from Catalonia. That’s how low, how miserable, and how pathetic we have become: everyone else have defeated Spain apart from us.

The language will disappear in a few years, and we will become just like any other region of Spain. A thousands years of history and fine cultural development gone, and probably the Spaniards will continue to rewrite history and also erase us from the history books and academia. What a pathetic bunch we are.

Sometimes I wonder what's the point.

Monday, 1 January 2007

2006: a missed opportunity. Another one.

In terms of Catalan politics, 2006 surely will be remembered because of the farce of the Estatut. A text approved in the Catalan Parliament by all parties except the loonies of the PP on September 2005, is then watered down is a shambolic round of negotiations between CiU and PSOE. ERC, the only party that remain loyal to the text approved in September was then kick out of government for campaigning in favour of a No vote on the text watered down between CiU and PSOE.

The referendum on the new text delivered the expected results, so no surprises there.

Was so much pain necessary to achieve so little? Moreover, Catalonia had to suffer the xenophobic commercial boycott promoted by the Spanish Right and their sidekicks in the press: El Mundo, ABC, Libertad Digital, COPE, etc.

We then had the elections in November, and there were some pleasant (ERC held well considering the circumstances) and unpleasant (the appearance of the anti-Catalan, populist, Ciudadanos).

CiU was again the most voted party. ERC had a tough choice to make: either form a coalition government with CiU or a repeat of the Tripartite of the Left again, even though this would mean making President Don José Montilla, a man that sat in the opposite table during the negotiations of the failed Estatut. Montilla is an emigrant from the south of Spain. If anything, this proves that ERC is a modern, socialdemocrat, European-style party: it has agreed a coalition with someone like Montilla. Any claims that ERC are hardcore Catalan nationalists is nonsense. It is a modern proindependence party, and rightly so, but there is no nationalism within ERC: otherwise, Montilla would not be President.

By the way, I look forward to the day when a Spanish party (PP or PSOE) selects a Catalan for the Prime Minister job, and keep the first name in Catalan without translating it into Spanish. As we say in Scotland, “Aye right!”.

I have been in Barcelona for a week over Christmas and the situation cannot be any worse in terms of survival of the Catalan language. There are two new terrestrial TV channels, completely in Spanish and the freesheets given in public transport are 90% in Spanish. All the time I was in the Metro or the RENFE trains, I hardly heard anyone having a conversation in Catalan. I don’t see the language surviving for another generation or two, unless something very drastic happens.

On the other hand, I have to admit that public transport is so much better, we even have night buses to Caldes de Montbuï!

With these cheery thoughts, I wish you all a Happy New Year 2007.