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If Spain had been given a grade for the examination it underwent in Geneva on Wednesday before the United Nations Human Rights Council, it would have been a large F for fail. A list of leading western countries such as the United States, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, the Netherlands, Austria, Russia and Germany, as well as another list of different, but equally important, countries that include Iran, Mexico, Egypt, Costa Rica, Argentina and Venezuela showed Spain either a red or yellow card on a day that, for all the emollient that Spanish diplomacy tries to rub into the wound, will be difficult to forget. There, seated in the dock, they were forced to listen to repeated criticisms for situations that we know well: restrictions on the freedoms of expression and assembly, police violence, the treatment of immigrants, the fight against xenophobia...

Perhaps it was Switzerland's representative who best summed up the morning session: "The Francoist past is still a challenge for Spain." It is uncomfortable to listen to this in an examination at the United Nations, despite the fact that important news like this is carefully managed and Spanish public opinion scarcely hears about it. But yes, it did happen - in Geneva, on Wednesday. Perhaps that is why it isn't so strange that the Spanish prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, who was speaking at the Davos Economic Forum, a few hundred kilometres from Geneva, felt the need to begin his speech by saying that Spain is a democracy. It is odd that something never said by former PM Felipe González in his final years in office nor by his successor José María Aznar has lately become a standard line every time either Mariano Rajoy or Pedro Sánchez have made a speech away from home.

Spain's deterioration in terms of the loss of liberties is being analyzed by different human rights organizations and a similar result is emerging from all of them. An attempt has been made to erase this image with that unfortunate Josep Borrell invention called Global Spain, led by former UPyD deputy Irene Lozano. A lot of money spent for nothing, a lot of lies propagated that have not convinced international public opinion, to arrive at the point now reached: has Spain overcome Francoism, completely and in all areas?

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