The rights defend the king's gesture before the sword of Simón Bolívar and attack the Government

It has been a permanent dynamic throughout the legislature that has been repeated this Tuesday. Every time a government party has criticized or questioned any attitude, non-exemplary practice or even possible crimes -in the case of Juan Carlos I- linked to a member of the Royal House, PP, Vox and Ciudadanos have considered that the Executive of coalition was "attacking" Spanish institutions and even the State. The rights thus try to patrimonialize the monarchy. They insist that they are the only forces that defend it and thus politicize the image of a head of state that is supposed to be neutral in the Constitution.

The new attempt to claim the defense of the king occurred this Tuesday as a result of the attitude of Felipe VI during the inauguration ceremony of the new Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, on Monday, in Bogotá. The king he was the only head of state who remained seated at the entrance to Simón Bolívar's act of the sword, symbol of the struggle for the independence of Latin American countries. Petro, the first left-wing president of Colombia, wanted to show it during the act, which was attended by dozens of international leaders who, at the entrance of the saber, stood up. Felipe VI, however, remained seated in his chair. However, according to The vanguardthe king did get up when the flag came up.

The images spread through social networks and, late on Monday, Podemos, one of the members of the Government, denounced the monarch's attitude, considering that he lacked "respect" for "a solemn symbol that represents independence and sovereignty of various brother countries of Latin America". The leadership of the party led by the Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, considered the king's gesture "extremely serious" and demanded that the Executive explain whether the Ministry of Foreign Affairs "endorsed" Felipe VI's position. He was also criticized by leaders of ERC or EH Bildu, usual partners of the Government.

The answer came this Tuesday. The Minister of the Presidency, Félix Bolaños, considered that the controversy generated as a result of the king's gesture are "details without much importance" and "totally minor". And the head of Culture, Miquel Iceta, spoke of "summer polemics" that only serve, in his opinion, so that "some mark a political position", alluding to Podemos. Also defending the king's position was the president of Aragon, the socialist Javier Lambán, who referred to the display of Bolívar's sword as a "number" mounted by Petro. "Felipe VI was up to the task and did the right thing," he tweeted.

The monarchy and the attitude towards the acts of the king has always been a point of friction between the partners of the Government. Proof of this is that this Tuesday the spokesman for United We Can in Congress, Pablo Echenique, returned to respond to the socialist wing asking for more explanations. "Minister Bolaños has said that the rudeness of Felipe VI to Bolívar's sword has no significance. However, he was the only head of state who did not stand up and was seen on all the televisions in the world. The question is whether that decision was endorsed by the Foreign Minister," he insisted.

Instead, PP, Vox and Ciudadanos turned to a campaign through social networks and with official statements attacking the progressive government and defending that Felipe VI did not stand up at the entrance of Simón Bolívar's sword. Jaime de Olano, responsible for the economic area of ​​the PP in Congress, appeared at the national headquarters of the popular party to consider that during the ceremony held in Colombia the king "has strictly complied with the protocol." He also regretted that the President of the Executive, Pedro Sánchez, "allows half of the Government to insult the Head of State", some disqualifications that, in reality, never occurred.

More forceful were, instead, other deputies of the PP through social networks. "Spain was the best colonizing power in world history, and claiming that in the face of the populist current and the black legend in Ibero-America should be an essential work of the Government. It is not. Let the Podemite or independentist mercenaries criticize, normal. Long live the King!" Senator Rafael Hernando wrote in a first tweet. Later he insisted with another: "The former terrorist and current president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, sets up a chirigota with the sword of a slaver like Bolívar, not contemplated in the official protocol, and the Podemite left and ruffians on duty tear their clothes because the Rey does not wrinkle. Jo what a troop".

"I, with Felipe VI," tweeted, without further details, the delegate for Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Madrid City Council, Andrea Levy. "Bravo for the King!" wrote, in similar terms, the president of the PP of Álava, Iñaki Oyarzabal. And deputy Eloy Suárez added: "Yesterday [el ministro de Asuntos Exteriores] José Manuel Albares ran to post on Twitter the Order of San Carlos that Colombia gave him. If he really knew what a minister who accompanies the King is, what he should have done is return the order and demand that the Colombian Government apologize to HM Felipe VI."

The Vox deputy for Madrid and spokesman for Health of the extreme right in Congress, Juan Luis Steegmann, quoted a news of the king's gesture with the following consideration about Bolívar's sword: "It would still be stained with the blood of Spaniards, or of Colombians killed by the guerrillas. It's a matter of having good eyesight. And memory." "As he represented Spain, he showed himself with respect before the national symbols of the country he visits (flag and anthem) and with its authorities. Getting up before an object, however historic it may be, not even jokingly, as if they took the chair out of the Muisca zipazaques Very curious but nothing more," added Víctor Sánchez del Real, one of the harshest Vox deputies in Congress, who is known inside the chamber for constantly interrupting and shouting at the interventions of his political rivals.

Citizens had a moment of confusion on Tuesday before what happened with the king in Colombia. Initially, he celebrated on his Twitter account that the king did not get up from his seat or applaud during the passage of Simón Bolívar's sword, assuring that this gesture decided by Gustavo Petro was an "indigenist whim". They later deleted the tweet. Party sources assured that they were "updating" it and they sent a new link with the new text, very similar but that was accompanied by two critical tweets, one from Minister Ione Belarra and another from Pablo Echenique, whom Ciudadanos linked with ETA, another of the right-wing mantras against the Government.

"It is enough to see the reaction of the enemies of Spain to know that Felipe VI is once again doing the right thing in his defense of Spain. The anger of the partners of the Government, who do not lift a finger against the tributes to the murderers of ETA, are the successes of the Head of State", was the final tweet. The deputy secretary general of Ciudadanos, Daniel Pérez Calvo, praised, for his part, the decision of Felipe VI. "Those who would have preferred to see Sánchez genuflect before a saber stained with Spanish blood roar against the King," he wrote, in identical terms to the extreme right.

Until this week, however, the figure of the Latin American liberator had generated consensus in Spain among political forces and institutions of all political persuasions. Even Franco's dictatorship recognized Bolívar with a statue in Madrid's Parque del Oeste, erected in 1970 but still standing today, at the initiative of Carlos Arias Navarro, when he was the Francoist alderman of the capital, after a debate inside the regime. In addition to the equestrian figure in Madrid, there are various plaques placed in democracy and by PP governments – which now govern in coalition with Ciudadanos – that commemorate the liberator.

In 1983, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) began awarding the Simón Bolívar International Prize to people or institutions that had distinguished themselves in an intellectual or artistic creation, social achievement or motivational actions. of public opposition. and the first award it was given, paradoxically, to Felipe VI's father, King Emeritus Juan Carlos Ias "a symbolic act of Hispanic reconciliation".

More recently, the same PP that now celebrates the monarch's action during the ceremony of the new Colombian president and that speaks of Bolívar as a "slave owner" participated in acts of homage to the Latin American liberator, considered a national hero in Venezuela, whose opposition the Spanish right-wing claim to defend for decades and whose main leaders now live in Madrid.

Just a year ago, on July 24, 2021, two PP deputies attended a tribute to Simón Bolívar on the 238th anniversary of his birth organized by the AyudaVenezuela platform. There, next to his statue, in Madrid's Parque del Oeste, where the celebration took place, the popular deputy Valentina Martínez and the senator of the same formation Gonzalo Robles attended, who supported the Venezuelans "in their fight to recover democracy ". "Here I will be supporting freedom in this wonderful country," Martínez wrote that same morning.

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