“It is neither losing confidence nor losing confidence, but surrounding yourself with people of the highest confidence.” The phrase could be from Mariano Rajoy, but it is from the Interior Minister, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and he tries to justify the umpteenth fire caused in the Pedro Sánchez government.
Part by part. The Interior Minister spoke, of course, of the dismissal on Sunday night of Diego Pérez de los Cobos as head of the Civil Guard in Madrid, after learning of the sending of a controversial report to the judge investigating the authorization of mass acts such as the 8-M demonstration shortly before the state of alarm was decreed by COVID-19.
And he tried, without much success, to frame the cessation in a habitual “redistribution of the teams”. But, the story that comes from the Civil Guard is another. It starts on Sunday afternoon when Pérez de los Cobos receives a phone call from his immediate superior to demand the content of the report sent to judge Carmen Rodríguez-Medel and the colonel informs him that it is neither the appropriate channel nor is he willing to commit the Illegality that is proposed to him insofar as the judicial police work with absolute independence from their commands. Immediately afterwards, the head of the Madrid command receives another call, this one already from the director of the Civil Guard, María Gámez. “Is it true that you have transferred that you cannot give information about the content of the investigation”? “He asks, according to reports from all sources of solvency.” That’s right, “responds the questioned.” Then give up, “ditches the director. general body.
Four words that unleash the umpteenth fire in a Ministry in which since Marlaska arrived in June 2018, nine high-ranking officers, a secretary of state and a director general have been dismissed. Even so, Pérez de los Cobos trusted that the next morning the minister would try to appease the spirits and rectify the decision of the director general, something that not only did not happen but gave rise to dismissal and the Ministry was blamed on “reasons of trust”.
The opposition took few minutes to make the matter a new matter of attrition against the Sánchez government and to demand the resignation of the minister. At the end of the day, a judge involved in politics had ended the career of one of the most respected leaders in the Civil Guard, who has worked for governments of different signs and whose work to the State has been recognized by the right and the left during years. He was signed by Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba and kept in office by the PP.
The dismissal and the minister’s perennial explanations also came just as the echoes of the controversial agreement on the “complete” repeal of the labor reform signed with Bildu began to fade thanks to the ultras demonstrations called by VOX last Saturday in the main capitals of Spain . And in the same week, in addition, in which the Government has reserved on Friday to approve in the extraordinary Council of Ministers, the Minimum Life Income, one of its star measures to mitigate the social crisis caused by the pandemic.
Beyond the polyhedral personality attributed to the minister by those who have worked closely with him, La Moncloa is aware that Marlaska has opened a new front against Pedro Sánchez in a moment of extreme parliamentary weakness in which the Government is preparing to negotiate a sixth and final extension of the state of alarm.
At the moment, Ciudadanos, with whom the PSOE seems ready to close specific agreements and whose votes have been decisive to carry out the fifth extension, has already called for the resignation of the Interior Minister. His deputy spokesman in Congress, Edmundo Bal, considers that the Government is trying to obstruct justice and that this has also been understood by the deputy director of operations of the Civil Guard, Laurentino Ceña, who presented his irrevocable resignation after learning of the removal of Pérez of Los Cobos.
Relations with the PNV, the Government’s most stable parliamentary partner, are not going through the best moment after the PSOE gave Bildu oxygen in the midst of the electoral campaign in the Basque Country with an agreement that was closed, and until the Lehendakari has publicly given confidence in Pedro Sánchez.
ERC, which keeps an eye on Madrid and another on the Catalan elections, did not like the connection that it sees lately between the Government and Citizens. An alliance that, conjunctural or not, has been applauded by several autonomous presidents of the PSOE, who consider it essential, after the health crisis, to explore other avenues of understanding that do not go through Catalan indepentismo.
The fact is that the majority that made Sánchez’s investiture possible has cracked in the midst of the biggest health crisis in Spain and the biggest political offensive on the right against a government that has not even six months to live. And that the last thing they expected in La Moncloa, socialist sources acknowledge, was that a member of the government “had such an ability to self-harm” in this way. All this, independently, added the same interlocutors, that the report prepared by the judicial police was constructed based on hoaxes, denied digital newspaper information and that Marlaska maintains that with Pérez de los Cobos it was raining wet and that the report it was only the drop that has filled the glass of a relationship “already deteriorated and of mutual distrust”.