“The Transition came by chance”


In ‘Un tal González’, the writer romanticizes the recent history of Spain, intertwined with the biography of the charismatic socialist leader. “Profiling yourself for corruption and the dirty war, looking the other way, was Felipe González’s political downfall”

After devoting nearly four hundred pages to him, interviewing him several times and speaking to many of his companions on his vital and political journey, Sergio del Molino (Zaragoza, 1979) has been unable to fully understand all the mysteries of Felipe. González to reveal. The writer dedicates “Un tal González” (Alfaguara) to the former socialist president, “a novel,” he warns, which celebrates how Spain won democratic normality. He did it in a process that still fascinates historians, the Transition, which Del Molino says “came by chance.”

The writer and essayist assures that his new book “looks in a less sour and cruel way” at the Transition. He tries to understand ‘without morals’ an unusual political phenomenon ‘to which we owe a lot and which have been unsuccessfully tried to imitate’. “The country we live in is the work of the Transition for better and for worse,” he says.

“The Transition is the result of recognizing the incompetence of some political actors who are forced to negotiate. It was a happy historical coincidence that they understood each other. It went well, while the normal course of events is that someone blew up the process and the country would have gone to hell,” says the also author of “The Empty Spain”. He warns that his book is “not a history, nor a biography of Felipe González, nor a journalistic chronicle, nor a political essay.” Following the biographical thread of its protagonist, it tells part of our recent history through the president “who established democracy and led to the deepest and most spectacular historical change in Spain.” “The country that Felipe made is my country, the country that made me,” he admits.

‘Un tal González’ is not a hagiography of the socialist leader, but the author does not hide his admiration for that Sevillian lawyer who arrived in Moncloa in 1982. “It’s hard not to be a follower of González, who is a literary character,” he warns. “Few people resist his charm. He is a seducer whose talents I have not been able to unravel,” admits Del Molino, who the Transition does what Javier Cercas did with the 23 F in ‘Anatomía de un momento’.

He has González for “the most charismatic politician of his time”, yes, in strong competition with an Adolfo Suárez “who did not have the popular charm of González”. “He was mysteriously charismatic, but as much as his rhetorical arts are dissected, it was all so instinctive and innate that it’s impossible to unravel the mystery of the felipista charm,” he says. He believes that around the socialist leader there is “a black hole that prevents the intrusion of a difficult, rocky and impassable personality. Very jealous of what is private and with a very complicated display of affection even with the most intimate of people. In addition, “power made him a very lonely person.”

That charismatic González would no longer prevail today as he did in the eighties. “Obviously he wouldn’t reap the success he had then. I would have a very hard time in a country that is so different now than it was. That Spain was naive and today is cynical,” he says.

“He is good at criticizing and understands the plurality of society”, Del Molino calls a great virtue of González. His worst mistake is “his inability to control corruption and dirty warfare; having looked the other way.” “Profiling himself was his political downfall,” says the writer, for whom the shadow of the GAL has persisted in society in a “huge” way.

If González was pure seduction, Alfonso Guerra was the one who turned him into a political animal. “With his unparalleled political talent, he was Felipe’s great political builder, the modernizer of politics and the PSOE,” admits Del Molino, who was a child when González and Guerra joined hands on the palace balcony, during the historic election victory of which 40 years.

The friendship and political complicity between González and Guerra was severed, but Del Molino believes “the affection continues”. “I know they saw each other, and despite the fact that the relationship broke up, that there was a hard confrontation, they love each other deep down,” he says.

With no reason to be nostalgic, he worries about the current political situation, with the rise of populism and democratic weakness. “I don’t know if there is a Democratic recession, but there are serious threats.” “I advocate for low-calorie, pointless politicians. The less charismatic they are, the more solid and profound the democracy will be. It will mean things are going so well that anyone can take them,” he says ironically.

“Let Spain work” was the motto for a bourgeoisie “who had the fantasy of being a normal and European country, with decent roads, schools and hospitals”. “There was a call for that normality to which González managed to lead the country,” Del Molino congratulates himself, not hiding his gratitude to a president who could have been in power longer. The writer recalls how in 1996 the socialist “lost only by a hundred thousand votes” and that “if Jordi Pujol had wanted, Felipe González would have been in Moncloa until the year 2000.”

Source: La Verdad


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