Two weeks and a day after king emeritus Juan Carlos I left Spain in an act of exile that has taken him to the United Arab Emirates, as reported on Monday by the Spanish royal palace itself, and without knowing whether this is the end of the journey or if there will be new press releases on other destinations in the former monarch's flight, a significant group of ministers, regional presidents and senior officials from Spain's UCD, PSOE and PP governments during his reign have signed a manifesto of support. In a two-page document, they criticize the proliferation of reproaches that the emeritus has received "without due respect for the presumption of innocence," and they say his work in support of democracy and the nation will never be erased "without committing a social ingratitude that would have no benefit for Spanish society as a whole". They further ask citizens, public and private entities, parties, organizations and authorities "to defend with all democratic means at their disposal the political and territorial integrity of the nation". A worrying combination of past or future impunity, and the unity of Spain.
A total of 30 former ministers and 40 senior officials signed the manifesto, which puts on display the fragility of the 1978 system. No-one had to assemble a similar manifesto of support in Germany to chancellor Helmut Khol, who was immersed in a corruption case which accompanied him in the ostracism of his final years of life. The quality of a democratic system is mainly reflected in situations like these. It is from this point of view that the manifesto is outdated, inappropriate, unfortunate and shameful. Unedifying for Spanish democracy and difficult to digest for all those who claim to unequivocally defend that all citizens are equal before the law. Unhelpful because it doesn't give any assistance to his son, today head of state. The reign of Juan Carlos I is already inextricably linked to corruption and there is no way this situation is reversible. Contrary to how it may seem, the manifesto shows the weakness of the Spanish institutional system, not its strength.
The signatories' names recreate the parliamentary range of politicians linked to the Spanish transition. Thus, it runs from a Francoist minister like Rodolfo Martín Villa, to those who were Socialist ministers and autonomous regional presidents Alfonso Guerra, Rodríguez Ibarra, Celestino Corbacho, Julián García Vargas, César Antonio Molina and Rodríguez de la Borbolla; the Partido Popular's Esperanza Aguirre, Ana Pastor, Josep Piqué, Rafael Wert, Rafael Catalá, Ana de Palacio, Margarita Mariscal de Ghent, Jaime Mayor Oreja; and former attorney generals Hernández Eligio and Leopoldo Torres.
The confirmation of the first exile destination of the emeritus, the United Arab Emirates, gives a first clue to the requirements of the countries through which Juan Carlos can move: those that do not have an extradition agreement with Switzerland. It is clear that this is, at the moment, the main concern of both the exiled monarch and the close circle that has managed his flight abroad. Just at a time when it is being announced that compromising new information on the emeritus which will be released in September.