October 19, 2020

from circumlocution to lie


With a cumbersome verb, terror of interviewers and communication advisers, Jorge Fernández Díaz is trapped, paradoxically, in two sentences that at some point he pronounced clearly and forcefully. “Villarejo has rendered relevant services to the State” and “I have just found out”, the latter referring to the espionage of Luis Bárcenas. The investigation of the National Court to the commissioner indicates that both statements are a lie. And this time, unlike what happened in Las Vegas in 1990, Jorge Fernández Diaz may not have a chance to redeem himself.

Coming from the CDS of Adolfo Suárez, his career in the Popular Alliance and the Popular Party in Catalonia coincides with the times when the formation served as a crutch for pre-rupture conservative nationalism. Both rights remained connected by economic interests, via boards of directors, and political, with Aznar ruling thanks to the support of Jordi Pujol, friend of a Fernández Díaz always useful in the containment front of the PSC.

It was his loyalty to Mariano Rajoy that led Fernández Díaz to the most important role of his career: being the Minister of the Interior who would manage the scenario following the end of the ETA violence. But the Catalan politician spent months entangling himself with language, clinging to the truce-trap mantra, when that was no longer even a truce.

Fortunately, the decision of the terrorist organization was not reversed. After a fierce internal confrontation, the thesis that violence was not producing results had been definitively imposed on the nationalist left. Not even the complete inaction of the PP government with Rubalcaba’s strategy of breaking up the makos front – prisons were almost the only thing left to ETA – put the peace process in danger.

So those long subordinate phrases stopped making sense even to those most faithful to the refrain of the terrorist threat. Did that create a melancholic void in Jorge Fernández, a deeply conservative Spanish nationalist? Absolutely. The procés had run to replace ETA’s terrorism as the main threat to the country within the priority ideological framework of the right and most of the Madrid media.

But still the political subgenre of “everything is ETA” would experience one of its most risky expressions in the figure of Jorge Fernández Díaz. It was at an appearance at the Ministry of the Interior in May 2013 to announce one of the operations against the gang’s embers in France. Controversy raged over Alberto Ruiz Gallardón’s Abortion Law project and Fernández Díaz decided to make a brief introduction to journalists: “First we talk about what happened today and then other things, because abortion has a little to do with ETA. Well, it has something to do with it, but well, not too much. ”

Latest prints of National Catholicism

Fernández Díaz is the son of a military man who ran to enlist in the Requeté de Pamplona as soon as he learned of the 1936 coup. The different destinies of the father led the politician to be born in Valladolid seventy years ago and to live in Barcelona since he was four. The former minister tells in his biography: “I received the Catholic education typical of Spain in the mid-twentieth century, but mine was, like so many people, a nominal and merely sociocultural Catholicism, neither lived nor internalized.” Until he traveled to the United States on a work trip with his party partner Antonio Perea, who as soon as he arrived in Las Vegas asked for a Catholic church at the hotel, much to the annoyance of Jorge Fernández.

“As is logical, I really wanted to leave things in the room and go out to see the city, to dinner and, of course, to the casino and whatever else was available,” says the former minister. Jorge Fernández stayed at the hotel thinking about Perea’s attitude, going from anger to admiration. Back in Spain, he recovered the fleeting interest that he had as a young man in Opus Dei. This religiosity and his concept of piety caused him to recriminate some of his former friends from Convergència for the signs of corruption that weighed on them. They were scolding for a sinful attitude that the police investigated under the orders of the former minister, according to one of them.

Fernández Díaz has left some of the last snapshots of practicing National Catholicism in a member of the Government of Spain. As shown, the photos laying the first stone of the Civil Guard barracks in Fitero, built during his tenure in the Navarran town from which his family comes. Jorge Fernández appears praying next to a tricorn, to the archbishop, kissing a crucifix …

The information about the political police, a thing of disturbed

The Catalan sovereign process was parallel to another internal transit in Fernández Díaz. The minister went without embarrassment from the circumlocution at the end of ETA to the lie about his particular dirty war without deaths. When the Convergència deputies asked him in Congress about the revelations of elDiario.es regarding the existence of a secret group of policemen, the political brigade, the minister sent them to the “psychiatrist.” When publico.es reported the recordings in his office with Daniel de Alfonso, Fernández Díaz said that they were manipulated and that he did not know that they had recorded him. In his biography he changed versions and admitted that he knew about the hidden microphones.

Between one statement and another, El País revealed that the official of its Ministry José Manuel Villarejo Pérez, commissioner assigned to the Deputy Operational Directorate, had an emporium of 12 companies that cost 16 million euros and part of them were in tax havens. That was when the minister pronounced that “he has rendered relevant services to the State, and it is my obligation to say so, in the fight against terrorism and against organized crime.” Precisely, the alleged leadership of a criminal organization is what has kept Villarejo in provisional prison since November 2017.

The PP ruled with an absolute majority and the journalistic revelations about dubious actions of the State against a political movement that tried to dismember Spain did not arouse great indignation. At that time, a significant number of media chose to publish with great display the pseudo-reports of that partisan police. The affirmation of “the Prosecutor’s Office refines it for you” in the conversation with the director of Antifrau helps to understand Fernández Díaz’s concept of the reality that surrounds him. “If that is in the court and it leaves, no one will suspect that it leaves the Police or police investigations. Of course, the officials on duty, the gazetteer journalist who is always around, the prosecutor’s friend …” hear say in the audio.

The loyalty attributed to him by his friends would show that, in the case of Fernández Díaz, he has only circulated in the upward direction, towards Rajoy, but that he has not done it in the opposite direction, of which his Secretary of State is a threatening witness. The glass of abandonment overflowed in Francisco Martínez the day he read an interview with Vozpopuli to the former minister saying that he knew nothing of Operation Kitchen, while showing lukewarm support for his number two. That day Martínez decided to go to a notary with four selected messages that not only place Jorge Fernández as a connoisseur of the “para-police operation” but also as the one who announced its existence to the Secretary of State and informed him of its news.

What does Fernández Díaz say in his memoirs of the political police? Little, just two paragraphs that conclude like this: “To pretend that the Minister of the Interior – me or anyone else – can send justice and order the police to carry out investigations of one type and paralyze others is to have an aberrant conception of the State and the Government It is seriously disturbing that they may believe that. ”

A minister’s vacation

When asking about the character of Fernández Díaz to his collaborators in different stages, a coincidence jumps: “It was not a worker,” says one of them. “He was a bum”, ditch another. Two episodes account for this attribution, one known, when recounted in his memoirs, and another that has never been revealed. This is the case of the appointment of its police leadership, some of whose members now bring the PP headlong. A position from that Ministry tells that Ignacio Cosidó came to a meal with a folder and the names of the next police leadership. Fernández Díaz did not bother to check the profile of any of them.

Another episode is related in Every day has its eagerness. It was August 2014. Fernández Díaz went to the house of some friends in a town in Soria where he had been other times. “The only place where there is coverage is a strategic point in the middle of town, under a small tree with four branches, where you can see that the correct coordinates miraculously converge and, in its scant shade, the mobiles come to life,” says the former minister.

Just in case, Fernández Díaz turned off the terminal. “I thought that if something important arose, the Civil Guard would notify me. And that was precisely what happened. One day an escort approached me and said: Minister, forgive me, but if I could call His Majesty the King, who is trying to locate it and can’t find it. ” The Civil Guard held Mohammed VI in the waters of the Strait and the Alawite monarch had telephoned Felipe VI. “What I say, Murphy’s law”, Fernández Díaz analyzes the episode.

Mainly concerned about his image, Fernández Díaz gets angry easily, they say, although some of those who surrounded him think that he makes up for it with “nobility.” “He is a party man and may have made mistakes because of his obedience to him, but he cannot be compared in any case with those corrupt profiles that have appeared in the PP,” adds another.

The legacy of his Ministry was the Citizen Security Law, an order that Fernández Díaz received to stop the fire in the street that the PP anticipated with the previous economic crisis. The text will go down in history with the nickname of Gag Law, although the first draft that came out of the Interior was much more restrictive than the one that was finally approved in Congress. The last position that Jorge Fernández Díaz has held seemed to allude to that legacy and to the concept that the current president of the PP has, or had, of Fernández Díaz and his political value: Secretary of the Interior and Liberties.

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