"We are on the way to a dictatorship". These are the words of a Spanish regional president, pronounced yesterday before the events that we are seeing in Spain.
Censorship of a deputy for telling the truth about government allies
Some will believe that these words are exaggerated, but this week we have seen something as extremely serious as the censorship of an opposition deputy from the government party for remembering that the socialist executive Pedro Sánchez has as an ally a party, Bildu, which shows sympathy for ETA, participating in tributes to members of that terrorist group and refusing to condemn its more than 800 murders. Yesterday the censorship was repeated, again against the third most voted party in Spain, Vox, for remembering that the government's allies are also parties that supported a separatist coup against constitutional legality in Catalonia in 2017.
What happened this week is not just an attack on freedom of expression, something that would be serious enough. It is something much worse: the government tries to impede the right to tell the truth, simply because it makes them uncomfortable. And in doing so, it openly ignores the precepts of the Spanish Constitution that protect freedom of expression (Article 20) and the right to inviolability of deputies for the opinions expressed in the exercise of their functions (Article 71). These facts are indicative that something alarming is happening in Spain, and unfortunately they are not something exceptional.
The precedents of two countries in which the dictatorship came through the polls
Many people imagine a dictatorship in the traditional way: a group of people who seize power by force and establish a one-party system that denies freedoms. However, there have been and are dictatorships that do not match that traditional scheme. Without going any further, one of the worst totalitarian regimes in history, Nazism, began with the rise to power of the Nazi Party through an electoral victory. The nazi dictatorship in Germany was not established overnight: it was a process of curtailing freedoms a process that began with the enabling law of 1933, which allowed Hitler to pass laws without going through the parliament.
Many years later something similar happened on the other side of the Atlantic: in 1999 the socialist majority approved an enabling law in Venezuela that allowed Hugo Chávez -who also came to power through democratic elections- to legislate outside the parliament for a certain term that has been extended for years, turning that country into an autocracy, that is, an undemocratic regime in which one person exercises unlimited power, modifying the laws at will will and committing electoral fraud that allow socialism to perpetuate itself in power. Let's remember that Podemos, Pedro Sánchez's far-leftist partner in government, has been supporting the Venezuelan dictatorship, which indicates his political preferences.
Sánchez has 132 decree-laws in 4 years: an exceptional mechanism used on a daily basis
The trick used by socialism in Venezuela consisted of using a legal mechanism designed for exceptional situations as something of daily use, in order to prevent parliament from exercising the function it should have in any democracy, which is that of legislating and supervising the work of the government. In Spain there is no enabling law, but there are mechanisms such as decree-laws, which Article 86 of the Spanish Constitution limits to cases of "extraordinary and urgent necessity". However, Pedro Sánchez is the president of the Spanish government that has used these decree-laws the most: has approved 132 in just 4 years, at an average of one every 12 days, violating the constitutional precept that establishes the limits of this extraordinary legal mechanism.
Violating fundamental rights and stating that he would do it again
The socialists and communists of the government of Pedro Sánchez develop a fait accompli policy that forces constitutional barriers to government action, taking advantage of the slowness of the Constitutional Court when it comes to resolving the appeals of unconstitutionality. Let us also remember that the Constitutional Court (TC) has already agreed with three Vox appeals, pointing out that Sánchez violated fundamental rights and broke the law constitutional with the excuse of taking measures against the pandemic that began in 2020. What the Constitutional Court came to say is that the government illegally canceled democracy, but instead of rectifying or resigning, Sánchez stated that he would do it again, demonstrating that he does not care about constitutional legality.
The Sánchez government has been attacking judicial independence for 4 years
This fact should already set off all the alarms in Spain and in the rest of the European Union, but there is more. The government of Pedro Sánchez has spent years attacking judicial independence, which is one of the pillars of democracy. That attack began in 2018, just a few months after the Socialists came to power. In October 2020, the European Association of Judges (EAJ) warned that Spain is taking "a step back" in judicial independence. The judicial alerts about the paths that this country is taking did not stop there. In April 2021, 2,500 Spanish judges alerted the European Union that Spain is going "towards totalitarianism" and that there is a "clear risk of violation violation of the rule of law in Spain" due to the attacks by socialists and communists against judicial independence.
Associations of journalists denounce the imposition of censorship in Spain
Parallel to this attack on judicial independence, the Sánchez government has developed attacks on fundamental rights such as freedom of expression. In August of this year, the main associations of journalists in Spain accused the government of wanting to establish "censorship" within the framework of the new Law on Classified Information, with which even criminal actions, such as cases of corruption, could be declared secret and their publication by any means could imply heavy fines, imposed outside the courts. All this while the government breaks the law by declaring secret information that should be public.
The government violates the freedom of education to impose its ideas in schools
The authoritarianism of the left-wing government has also been reflected in attacks on freedom of education and in a brazen attempt to impose compulsory ideological indoctrination in schools, some violations of the Constitution that were responded to with massive demonstrations throughout Spain two years ago, called by associations of parents and educational centers. The government's attempts to impose its ideas in educational centers have already collided with Justice, for violating the fundamental right of Christian students not to suffer discrimination.
The only EU government that has justified violence against the opposition
But without a doubt, and despite the fact that everything we have just seen is already extremely serious, one of the most extreme and unusual events that we have seen in Spain occurred when members of the far-left wing of the government justified attacks with stones against political rivals, some attacks in which a Vox deputy was injured. This data is the most alarming of all: Spain has the only EU government that has justified violence against members of the opposition, accusing them of "provoking", that is, blaming those attacked for the suffered attacks. A government that does something like this automatically places itself outside the democratic sphere.
An attack on democracy to which the Spanish must react
We Spaniards have reasons to feel alarmed at the authoritarian drift of the Sánchez government and its attacks on freedoms, but this attitude of our rulers should not lead us to let fear dominate us. That would be giving the government what it wants. We must defend democracy and the rule of law with more insistence and courage than ever, bearing in mind that if we allow our freedom to be taken from us, the path to recover it will be much more tortuous than the challenge of defending it today in day. Likewise, we have to demand more and more insistence that the European Union take action. It is intolerable that the European Commission harasses Poland for ideological reasons (its rejection of abortion and its defense of Christian values) while it remains silent in the face of the abuses of the leftist government of Spain because in the Commission there is a majority of socialists.
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