When will we know the whole truth about 23-F?
The Spanish Parliament, the main scenario of the coup d'état on February 23rd, 1981, hosted an event commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the military rebellion that endangered the fragile Spanish democracy that emerged after the dictatorship and most likely conditioned it. The king, Felipe VI, took advantage of the event to praise "the firmness and authority" of his father, Juan Carlos I, who based the legitimacy of the monarchical system on his intervention that night to stop the coup plotters. Four decades later, however, there are still many grey areas about those events and, in particular, about the role of the monarch.
Felipe VI was not alone on Tuesday in his defence of the role of his father, currently a refugee in the United Arab Emirates while he is investigated for allegedly collecting illegal commissions and tax evasion. The king, who had not named his father for months, received the explicit support of the four parties that currently defend the monarchy: PSOE, PP, Cs and Vox. On the other hand, Unidas Podemos and the pro-sovereignty and pro-independence parties were, to a greater or lesser extent, critical. The latter, in fact, did not even participate in the commemoration and held a press conference to demand the declassification of all official documents relating to the failed coup.
And what certainly doesn't help is the opacity of the Spanish government, which even today refuses to declassify the secret documents on the coup by using a Francoist law that has never been reformed. Precisely, the PNV is pushing for a reform of the law on official secrets with the aim of bringing it into line with that of neighbouring countries, which sets a maximum limit of 25 years for opening the archives to historians. But the reform is stuck in Parliament and it doesn't seem that the PSOE has much interest in moving forward.
When will we know the whole truth? Don't they see that with this obscurantism they feed the disaffection towards the institutions and, in particular, towards the monarchy? It is time for the whole truth to be known about the plot that sought to establish a government of national unity but with the presence of the military and led by General Armada, but which met with a colonel of the Guardia Civil, Antonio Tejero, who wanted to go even further and put an end to democracy. The unresolved question is what would have happened if Tejero had accepted the "Armada" solution, which had the support of certain Spanish elites and, according to some witnesses, of Juan Carlos I as well.
Nor can it be argued that democracy was strengthened by the coup d'état because that was not the case. The military's warning had clear political consequences, such as halting the process of giving autonomy to regions by approving the Loapa law, and, above all, it reminded the population that the threat of involution was still present. In fact, many people packed their bags that night to take the road to exile. Fortunately there was no bloodbath, but the presence today of the far right in the institutions reminds us that democracy is much more fragile than we might think.