With elephant memory not free of selective lagoons, Alberto Oliart (Mérida, Badajoz, 1928) throw a personal scrapbook, ‘The years that changed everything ‘(Tusqutes), twenty years after publishing ‘Against oblivion’. Oliart wants to give testimony of experiences of an era, the Transition, whose exemplarity goes out among new generations that begin to see it as the grandfather’s battalion.
Oliart criticizes current politicians for their low waistline to reach agreements, advocates dialogue “but measuring concessions” with the Catalan separatists and, Minister of Defense with Leopoldo Calvo Sotelo after the coup d’etat of 23-F, criticizes that retired army generals have backed Vox. What Oliart doesn’t want to remember is your RTVE output after assigning a child the technical support of a program. “I went for health,” ditch this jurist who claims to like everyone. With his former son-in-law Joaquín Sabina, for example, gets along “wonderfully”.
– Do you write ‘The years that changed everything’ to try to rescue a transition that loses prestige quickly?
– What is worse is that what has fallen out of favor is the consensus that guided that Transition, and all because the way of doing politics today is based solely and exclusively on going against the other. This leads to boredom of the population. But now reality has been imposed, and both are at a crossroads thanks to the last speech of King Felipe VI, at the opening of the legislature.
– In which he said that “Spain cannot be against each other”.
– Exactly. In the end, today’s politicians will have to do what we did. We were able to sit around a table from the right of Manuel Fraga to the Communist Party of Santiago Carrillo. Politics is worth it when what you do serves to improve the situation of society.
– What speech of the King remains: with that of the opening of this XIV legislature or with the controversy of October 3, 2017?
– I’ll take two. I applaud the commitment to the concord of the last speech, but what the King cannot do is swallow with the disloyalty of an autonomous community or stop demanding the State to ensure the constitutional order and the normal functioning of the institutions. That Felipe VI calls the unit is compatible with his forcefulness 3-O on Catalonia.
– Did you find it relevant that the Ministers of Podemos, with Pablo Iglesias in front, applaud Philip VI on that day while his deputies refrained from doing so?
– That is a strategy full of incoherence: on the one hand, happy to my constituents, to whom I have said that I am antitrust, and on the other I assure myself of the seats in the Governing Council. This way it stays well with each other and with the others.
– Were you impressed by the antitrust document of ERC, the CUP, Bildu and BNG in which they claimed they have no King?
– It is a book error because they also make that proclamation by repealing the representation of all Catalan, Basque and Galician societies.
– By the way, how do you live the disaffection that begins to involve the figure of King Juan Carlos I, according to you, the key character in deactivating the blow of 23-F?
– Don Juan Carlos has fulfilled his constitutional function impeccably. What happens is that now in Spain it is fashionable to charge against the Monarchy. We should remember the two positive experiences of the republic we had in the nineteenth century.
– But in recent years Juan Carlos I is also credited with less commendable episodes.
– It is unworthy to air the intimate life of people, including that of King Juan Carlos I. One cannot remain with the dimes and dire of love affairs when he has been the architect of the arrival of democracy and freedom to Spain. The rest, they seem small.
– Perhaps in that assessment weighs their friendship more than objectivity.
– When I met Don Juan Carlos, he told me that both he and I, by generation, should be Republicans. I replied that after hearing his proclamation speech in the Cortes I had convinced myself that it was going to be him who brought democracy to Spain. I have the defect of being a Democrat since I was twelve.
– What do you propose to address the situation in Catalonia, a country that you know well and where half of the population is today independence?
– I think that Spain cannot be a confederation. It would be a dangerous adventure. To channel this situation that has come out of mother you have to bet on the dialogue, but taking the concessions very well. Spain is a plural country in terms of cultures and that was already clear in the Catalan and Basque statutes written in 1979.
– Do you see the PSOE today move away from the constitutional framework after agreeing with parties such as ERC, Podemos or the PNV?
– I have always defended dialogue and understanding. Now, this agreement seems to me to respond more to questions of survival of the Secretary General of the PSOE than to something else.
– How do you assess the hardness with which the PP and Citizens respond to the good institutional relationship that President Pedro Sánchez tries to have with President Quim Torra, disabled by the JEC?
– The right is obsessed with ending Pedro Sánchez and is mistaken to throw himself at the neck of a president who tries to channel broken relationships for a long time. Another thing will be what comes out or not of that intention of getting along that does not have to come to fruition. Pedro Sánchez is not the Adolfo Suárez of a new transition.
– Do you see on the right disoriented by the emergence of Vox?
– What worries me is that Vox was founded with the support of army generals, whom I see very proud of the party. A military man cannot do politics, at least that was when I was Minister of Defense. I have always believed that neo-Francoism was beating strongly in Spain.
– How do you remember your experience at the head of RTVE in the Government of Zapatero, when you ended up resigning for the controversial adjudication to a company of your son of the technical coverage of a television program?
– What’s going, what’s going! I didn’t resign. I had to go for a health issue. The doctor advised me and I can assure you that I get along very well with the people of RTVE, where I worked tomorrow, afternoon and night to defend the impartial information and run away from propaganda.
– It’s time for memories for you, who have been spinning them in book pages for years, and not only politicians, but also personal ones. I guess the worst, the one that can never be forgotten, is the loss of two children.
– That’s the worst thing that can happen to a father. Alberto passed away in a traffic accident when I was Minister of Defense. Antonio, three years later, after going through countless operations.
– And how did you fit for one of your daughters to fall in love with a confessed red like Joaquin Sabina?
– My daughter Isabel showed me how clever she is, and thanks to her I have friends and I am respected everywhere. Sabina came to see my wife and me to tell us that he was very much in love and that he and my daughter were going to be parents. I don’t know if he expected me to shake my daughter’s hand, because she was already over 30 years old and I could give her little. I asked Isabel if she wanted to marry him and it was blunt to say no. A great affection joins me to Sabina, who has also given me two fantastic granddaughters.