A NATION APART
is the size of the combination of Arizona and Utah with a population of a tad
above 40 million. The country is a constitutional monarchy with a President, nominated
by the monarch and elected by the Congress of Deputies. The Congress of Deputies
and senators are all elected with a view toward the equivalent popular vote electing
their fair share of those who will govern. While the country is more than 90%
Catholic, the constitution of 1978 disestablished the Roman Catholic Church as
the official state religion and left Spain with no official religion.
economy is the seventh largest in the in the OECD with a Gross Domestic Product
in 1996 of $582 billion with gives the country a per capita income rate of $14,500. Spain's natural resources are plentiful
with iron ore, uranium, pyrites, fluorspar, zinc, lead, gypsum, copper, tungsten,
kaolin, lignite and coal leading the list. Hydroelectric power is plentiful and
agriculture products include grains, vegetables, citrus, wine, olives, olive oil,
sunflowers, livestock and deciduous fruits.
exceeded exports by a about $20 billion in 1996 with petroleum, oilseed, aircraft,
grains, chemicals, machinery, transportation equipment and fish the largest imports
with the European Union getting most of the business. Exports are primarily automobiles,
fruits, minerals, metals, clothing, footwear and textiles with the European Union
again supplying the vast majority of the goods..
is located on what is called the Iberian Peninsula which has been populated for
many years with cultural sites in the famous caves at Altamira containing spectacular
painting which go back as many as 25,000 years. The Basques who are the first
identifiable people of the peninsula are also the oldest surviving cultural group
in Europe and the Iberians who came to the Peninsula from North Africa did not
arrive until much more recently.
was considered fair game for just about anybody that had territorial aspirations
and was occupied by the Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Celts, Romans, Visigoths
and the Moors. By approximately 1512, all
the pushing and shoving between would be conquerors and established villains had
ended and the geographical and social structure became fairly fixed.
Spain rose to its maximum glory in the 16th century due to the enormous
riches taken from the Americas, ego caused the government to believe that they
were invincible and they engaged upon a number of wars that could generously described as imbecilic
over-reaching and ultimately had their heads handed to them by the British in
1588 who made the "Invincible Armada" look vincible. As Spain began
slowly to sink in the east, succession to the thrown became their most insidious
enemy and while engaged in that sport, France occupied Spain with little resistance
in the early 1800s.
extensive colonial system began falling apart in the 19th century culminating
in the Spanish-American War which caused Spain to lose Cuba, Puerto Rico and the
Philippines to the United States. While there was not much left to write home
about in Spain, dissention ruled the country until the pot boiled over in 1936
with the advent of the Spanish Civil War.
didn't clear until 1939 when the forces of General Francisco Franco gained control
of a totally debilitated country with nothing much left. The country wasn't worth
much to either side and Spain was allowed to remain neutral during World War Two
but Franco was, if anything cozying up to the Axis during this period and were
summarily punished at war's end by not getting a berth in the United Nations until
under the guidance of the International Monetary Fund, Spain made a middling effort
to rejoin the world and began to liberalizing trade and capital flows, while starting
to accept foreign direct investment. Nevertheless, Spain remained the most closed
economy in Western Europe until tourism started to revitalize the country in the
early 1970s. As progress became a glimmer, Franco died and with it the emergence
of Prince Juan Carlos de Borbon y Borbon, the designated heir of Franco.
was reconstituted and the first election was held since 1936 on June 15, 1977
and in 1978 a new constitution established Spain as a parliamentary monarchy.
A coup was attempted in 1981 which was quickly put down and the government became
more solid than ever because of it. As
prospered, first one government and then another took office, but the economy,
the country continued to grow with privatization becoming an important part of
revitalization. Membership in first NATO, the European Union and ultimately the
European Monetary Union be being one of the first countries to qualify under the
stringent regulations of the Maastricht Treaty.
has developed good relations with the Arab world from whom they import the majority
of their energy needs. In return, Spain has received substantial Arab investments
within its country and has returned the favor in the United Nations by becoming
an "automatic vote" when Arab Issues are involved. Spain's UN votes
have been particularly debilitating to their relations with Israel, whom they
recognize and have diplomatic relations with but can't see eye to eye. With the
Arabs pulling the stings this series of negative votes no matter what the issue
is not expected to end soon.
meantime, the Basque's were becoming restless and under the name of the Basque
Fatherland and Liberty party (ETA) the founded a party dedicated to the terrorist
denominated separation of from Spain with the aim toward the creation of a separate
independence. Ultimately, ETA joined with GRAPO, a communist led with many of
the same aspirations as the ETA and the combined group was involved in a series
of bombings, murders and robberies ensued and it wasn't until Spain joined with
France (who had a similar problem) in combating the group that there was an series
erosion in their success. On the other hand neither organization has been extinguished
and murders in Spain by the ETA continue on a regular basis.
often create social dislocations as well as all of the other
pain and suffering that are part and parcel of its nature. The prize for
victory in war has over the years, at least for the most part been territory and
in 1704, England's prize for defeating Spain became a sliver of land called Gibraltar.
The conquest was ratified by the two countries in 1713 by something called the
Treaty of Utrecht which ended the War the War of the Spanish Succession. This
treaty ceded Gibraltar to Britain absolutely and in perpetuity with the only right
given to Spain being a right of first refusal if Britain should tire of owning
the place. This was a distinct possibility because Gibraltar has no real economic
value in that it produces literally nothing, but yet Britain has held fast and
seems most satisfied with her acquisition.
a standpoint of population it has only 30,000 people and a bunch of apes on its
territory. These people make up a hodge podge
of races as the people come from Britain, Spain, Genoa, Sicily, Malta, India and
in dribs and drabs the rest of the Mediterranean region as well. Since nothing
grows in Gibraltar, the country survives on tourism and draws four million people
to view mostly what are its military fortifications, a spectacular show which
keeps them coming back. In viewing the depth of these ramparts, it is not hard
to see why Spain has been unsuccessful in achieving a military victory in recovering
is best described as a dependent territory of Britain with a large measure of
self government and financially self sufficient. The people are members of the
English Commonwealth and have been for years and the country itself is a member
of NATO and a non-voting member of the EU.
Its European Union credentials come from the fact that under Article 227(4)
of the Treaty of Rome which applies to any European Territory for whose external
affairs a member state (UK) is responsible. Some anomalies occur and there are best expressed by Chief
Minister of Gibraltar, P R Caruana in an address to the European Atlantic Group,
House of Commons, England;
"Not unlike other EU territories Gibraltar enjoys certain derogations
from the application of certain, very limited EU measurers. The Coal and Steel
Treaty does not apply, since Gibraltar produces no coal. The Common Agricultural
Policy does not Apply, since we have no agriculture and thirdly, Gibraltar is
not included in the Customs Union.".
have wanted Gibraltar back since they lost it and have been increasing the price
of poker recently in their effort to get their way. Why on earth would anyone
want this Godforsaken piece on property that is mostly rock and on which literally
nothing will grow? The reason is two fold, the first
is that Gibraltar is probably the most strategically placed piece of real-estate
on earth guarding the approaches to the Mediterranean and having tendering facilitates
to reequip and dry-dock the a substantial number of naval vassals. It was the
British control of Gibraltar during World War Two that had such a positive effect
on the British control of the sea lanes that were so important to it and its allies.
thing that makes Gibraltar so valuable is ego. The Spanish have never given up
muttering about losing this part of what they consider is their own soil. Gibraltar
rests at the tip of Spain and is like the tip of a finger that has a large blister
on it that just won't go away. The Spanish have tried through military conquest
to win Gibraltar back for over two centuries and have not even come close. Gibraltar
is fortified in rock like no other place on earth and from the high ground, those
that were defending the territory could just pick off the opposition at will without
even raising a sweat. Foiled in its attempt to conquer Gibraltar in war, the Spanish
have resorted to other tactics to retake what they believe to be their property
in what may be both the longest conflict on earth as well as the quietist. Spain has quietly resorted to the following:
Refuses to allow maritime and air links between Gibraltar and
Spain and has refused to allow Gibraltar airport to benefit from the Single Market
in air services,
Even making due allowance for Spain's right to operate passport
checks and Customs checks Spain operates the frontier with Gibraltar in a most
Uneuropean manner. There are no red and green channels at Customs. Every car is
examined. There is only one single file passport control for vehicles, manned
by a solitary official regardless of the volume of traffic. This has resulted
in severe queues and delays at the frontier.
Spain refuses to recognize Gibraltar's telephone International
Direct Dial geographic area code -350-. Spain is the only country from which you
cannot dial Gibraltar via satellite.
Spain refuses to recognize identity cards issued in Gibraltar
and has , in the recent past, sought to question the validity of British passports
issued in Gibraltar by the Governor in the name of Her Majesty the Queen.
Spain constantly seeks the exclusion of Gibraltar from EU Directives
and refuses to recognize Gibraltar's course or legal system.
Spain systematically seeks to deny Gibraltar membership in
International Sporting Associations and Federations and participation in international
sporting, cultural and political events.
Spain subjects Gibraltar to an incessant barrage of media abuse
and allegations of money laundering and nefarious activities calculated to stifle
the development of finance and impeding the economy.
has caused the government of Gibraltar to be confrontational with Spain and indicates
that it has good reason for its position. One instance published by News and Reports
indicated, "Zmadrid ordered the tighter border controls after a Spanish policeman
was killed April when his helicopter crashed while chasing a Gibraltar-registered
speedboat loaded with hashish". What seems to be left out in the story is
that if the helicopter crashed and the Spanish policeman was killed, how does
the Spanish Government know what was on the boat or where the boat came from?
daily added insult to injury when it said,
"Gibraltar, a British colony at Spain's southern tip,
is a base for traffickers trying to sneak hashish, cocaine and ecstasy
into Europe via Spain and is a haven for laundering drug profits," While
this may be all well and good, one point seems to be missing, we know that the
hashish, cocaine and ecstasy are not home grown in Gibraltar because admittedly,
Gibraltar is incapable of producing agriculture products and beside that, we are
talking about on two square miles of land here. Now the Spanish then must be that
the drugs are first dropped off in Gibraltar and then transshipped to Spain. One
would wonder why they are shipped to Gibraltar at all if they are going on to
Spain to begin with. This would require the danger of two customs searches instead
of one and Gibraltar does not have any deserted spots where counter band could
be off-loaded. I thought the there were much better stories in Alice and Wonderland,
at least they were believable.
that they were getting enough attention from the world press that totally ignored
the story because most media thought that it was a poor fabrication, the Bank
of Spain and the Madrid Weekly reported that that "the number of corporation
in the colony had mushroomed to 60,000 by late 1998, two times the total number
of inhabitants of the Rock of Gibraltar, which is home to around 30,000."
The Bank of Spain still undaunted stated that these were front companies which
used Gibraltar "to recycle the money proceeding from crime, and served as
the perfect channel for collection and payments derived from illicit activities.
The laundering of dirty money proceeding from drugs or other illicit activities
is easily carried out, and the money is easily invested in Spain as respectable
continue that 120 lawyers lived and worked in Gibraltar, making their living almost
exclusively from their association with foreign investors and that last year $2
billion in investments carried out from Gibraltar were registered with Spain's
General Office on Foreign Transactions -- nine times the 1995 figure.
is that Spain should consider itself lucky that these funds think enough about
the future of Spain to invest in it. If the money was not based in Gibraltar,
it would be based somewhere else. Spain does not make a case for taking over Luxembourg,
the Virgin Island, the Isle of Man, Bermuda, Vanatuu or the Bahamas who all advertise
that this is the business they are in.
we feel that Spain has lost a lot over the years, they would be better off just
living with the situation. Why not ask the United States for Cuba, the Philippines
and Puerto Rico back? All were seeded to the United States in the last hundred
years. Gibraltar was awarded to the British before America existed and over 3
centuries ago. I mean that, is really holding a grudge.
leave the negative and go on to some of the more positive creations of the new
Spain. Spain learned many lessons from the Inquisition and among other things
it found out that there must be some laws that protect people no matter what government
is in power. The people that Spain illegally expelled or murdered had made up
their intellectual elite and their loss was the beginning of the end of Spain
as an Empire builder. The people there have not forgotten.
the efforts of a fearless young prosecutor in Madrid and aggressive indictments
made in a 285 page document by Judge Baltasar Garzon, General Gugusto Pinochet
was charged for crimes against humanity and a freeze was requested on his worldwide
assets. He was charged with genocide, torture and terrorism in the deaths or disappearances
of more than 3,000 people. This one action taken on by two crusaders did more
to put fear into the hearts of despots and out of control military leaders than
any single act in the history of man. This one decision by two people of conscience
has accomplished in one fell swoop what the United Nations and all of its members
could not come close to in its over fifty years of existence.
that this decision came out of Spain is even more startling. The Spanish have
historically sided with despotic regimes throughout this century and until their
own revolution in 1936 which brought with it a fascistic government that thought
the rights of people were only to be given out in another life. General Franco
ran the country with an iron fist and only recently has their been any evidence
of people's rights.
Pinochet was in London when the dam burst and the indictment was presented on
British authorities. They didn't really know how to react at first assuming that
this was only a bad dream and really wasn't happening in England. After the House
of Lords had substantially reduced many of the charges against Pinochet, Home
Secretary Jack Straw, the top law-enforcement officer in England, ultimately announced
that he would allow the extradition proceeding to go ahead stating that; "the
remaining allegations of torture and conspiracy to torture satisfied the European
Convention on Extradition and imposed an obligation on Britain to permit the Spanish
request to go before British court." In addition he stated that; "The
Spanish request was legally well founded and properly drawn up, that the offenses
were not of a political character, that no statutes of limitation had run out
and that it would not be unjust or oppressive to expose the general to the charges
the treaty that was relevant in this case was originally called the 1984 International
Convention Against Torture -- and it has been ratified by 112 countries including
Chile, Spain and Britain. An interesting anomaly that occurred in the case was
the issue that Britan did not become a signatory to the act until 1988 and therefore
could only be extradited for acts of torture or conspiracies to torture after
that date. On the other hand Pinochet tortured enough people so that luckily,
this anomaly was not material and once Pinochet lands in Spain he can be charged
their for whatever part of the book that they desire to charge him with.
quickly assembled legal team countered with the subject of immunity. They also
raised the point that if there were to be a trial it should take place where the
"crime" had occurred, Professor Fernanco Barros, one of the lawyers
on Pinochet's team told BBC radio when asked about location, "This should
take place in Chile. No one else is authorized to make a judgment about our democracy,
our institutions which have been working for 200 years."
The Washington Post Foreign Service in an article by T. R. Reid put a spin
on that for its readers;
seven Law Lords who heard the Pinochet case issued seven different opinions covering
122 single-spaced pages. Their reasoning and their language was so "obscure,"
as the chief judge admitted, that the pro- and anti-Pinochet camps initially reacted
with cheers. But the decision was not victory of he 83 year old Pinochet or anybody
else -- including former heads of
state - charged with human-right abuses. For one thing, the ruling clearly states
that international treaties override the legal principle of "sovereign immunity"
that traditionally has protected heads of state from criminal prosecution.
Lords did not consider whether an incumbent head of state could be tried -- that
point was not before them -- but they did find that a former head of state cannot
claim immunity. The more important practical issue is that the decision makes
it much easier to bring an alleged human-rights criminal to trial, assuming the
culprit can be caught in the first place."
both Britain and Spain have changed the course of civilization as we know it with
their no nonsense attitude toward thugs and dictators, the has been an effect
that was not anticipated. When Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
decided to go abroad on a holiday it suddenly dawned upon her that any ally of
Chile or despotic regime unhappy with the British decision to extradite Pinochet,
could do the same to her. Although Thatcher was a staunch defender of Pinochet,
she is said to be extremely anxious about the same thing happening to her should
she venture into certain parts of South America relative to her role in the Falkland
Islands war with Argentina. She has also expressed concern about fanatics in Northern
Ireland that have a long memory of her shoot-to-kill operations by her security
as bland as Margaret Thatcher should have these kinds of concerns about her miniscule
role in long ago events, think about the problems that will be faced by the leaders
of Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan, Serbia and what about George Bush, we don't see him
venturing on global tours even though Jimmy Carter has been traveling around the
world every eight days or so. We have a situation where justice will treat those
that make the tough decisions more harshly than those that avoid controversy.
this wonderful action by both Spain and Britain turn our leaders into either wimps
or prisoners in the confines of their own country. World leaders in underdeveloped
countries that have inferior medical services could find themselves using less
than state of the art Technics because of fear of traveling abroad because of
some controversial decisions that they made at home. Until many of the issues
that have been created by this indictment are clarified, international travel
may represent an extreme hardship to aggressive global leadership. If you haven't
stepped on some toes while running a country, you are not running it properly.
strange objections have come from unexpected sources. Quietly, the United States
is very unhappy of the matter at hand because they well could be implicated by
Pinochet's defense team. Foreign Policy In Focus, The Pinochet Precedent written
by Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights makes some excellent
U.S is reluctant to allow international examination of its own role in the destabilization
of Chile, its support for Pinochet's coup, and the CIA's close relationship to
the Chilean secret police during Operation Condor. Washington fears furthermore,
that exposing Pinochet to prosecution would destabilize Chile, and the U. S. argues
that countries making a "transition to democracy" must be able to guarantee
immunity from prosecution to human rights offenders in order to make headway.
Finally, the precedent set by a Pinochet trial could make it possible for former
U. S. officials responsible for crimes against humanity to be arrested and tried
in another country."
While these arguments are factual and
should be concerns to this country whose overall global strategy is like a continuing
game of three-dimensional chess, we have faced up to our shortcoming before and
what we did was for a long term benefit. The problem with the indictment is just
that, it creates almost as many problems as it answers and time should be spent
looking for solutions. International crimes should be heard in neutral courts.
The Hague would represent an excellent tribunal for heads of state to be heard.
Their record for fairness has not been challenged since the forum was begun. The
United Nations would obviously have been first choice but petty bureaucrats roam
the hallways of the UN espousing strange utterances that could only make one wish
that the organization would grow out of prepubescent and take its place as a forum
for all things international.
than, the Hague, the next step would be what are the rules and we would postulate
that no third party country not directly involved in that matter at issue can
prosecute and intern a head of state or someone that acted as the head of state
or was carrying out the legal orders of a head state. A third party country should
as a matter of justice, be able to issue an indictment and ask for extradition
of any leader that is no longer in office. The extradition should only be to the
Hague, upon their agreement, and the basics of the trial should only have one
benchmark, did the action or action of said ex-leader or someone following his
orders have a greater good effect on people in general, (of all countries) or
a greater bad for the same people.
facts would constitute whether or not the Hague could move into a trial of the
leader and could be considered as pre-trial. Only, once it had been established
that the majority of the people were affected adversely by the leaders actions
could the case go ahead. To insure that frivolous actions were
not brought at an international level and the small groups of people only interested
in revenge got into the habit of bringing frivolous issues based on obscure principals,
we would also recommend a global rule 11 regulation where if the case against
the leader was ruled frivolous for whatever reason, damages would be assessed
against the indicting nation that would be used to pay the expenses to conduct
additional hearings and insure that regulations were updated in order to keep
track of rapidly changing mores and social customs.
pontificated on our solution to the problem of
countries like the United States wanting to cover-up their role in Chile,
China's wish for the same in Cambodia and France's desire that Algeria didn't
exist. All major countries have their Waterloo and for that reason, the gaining
of universal acceptance of the Spanish-British hypothesis will be tough unless
we can show amelioration. This just happens to be a fact of life. But having said
that lets us give you the conclusion of Michael Ratner on the subject;
political objections are not convincing. Concern about its own reputation should
not lead the U. S. to cover up crimes against humanity. Pinochet's arrest did
not destabilize Chile; moreover, national political concerns do not override the
international duty to prosecute genocide. Furthermore, crimes against humanity
perpetrated by American officials deserve prosecution as much as crimes committed
by nationals of any country - even though practically speaking, it is very unlikely
that any country would risk prosecuting any U. S. official due to America's influence
arrest will further justice and provide a precedent for the prosecution of other
major human rights violators--even if they, like Pinochet, were at one time aided
and abetted by the United States.
S. reluctance to support efforts to prosecute Pinochet weakens humanity's quest
for international justice. It ignores murders carried out in the U. S., disregards
the killing of U. S. citizens, and undermines the principle of accountability
for crimes against humanity."
perfect world, Michael Ratner is 100 percent correct, the problem is that we are
hardly in a perfect world and the best intentions of people without the proper
groundwork often can turn out with less than perfect results. Should the world's
leaders feel threatened by this the Spanish-English action, you can bet that unless
there is some amelioration, this case in spite of its wonderful characteristics,
is just going nowhere. The key to justice most be tempered with logic and world
leadership is not going to put themselves into a position of potential indictment
by any two-bit dictatorship on earth.
is excellent, Spain has shocked the world into action and assessment of crimes
against humanity. When every world leader goes to sleep at night, he now thinks
about who he has done what to and why. Can his actions be justified in front of
a global forum? Will he be able to travel outside of his country when his term
of office is finished? Will he ever need medical treatment abroad? There are a
lot of questions running through a lot of people's minds and for this Spain should
of their concerns the United States in producing documents relative to the Pinochet
case has supposedly been less than forthcoming. It has been said that Spain made
a request of the United States under the legally binding bilateral Mutual Legal
Assistance Treaty and what they received in return were worthless documents that
had no bearing on what was requested. It is evident that the United States is
stonewalling the situation and yet it is quite possible that they have good reason.
The U. S. theorizes that not only world leaders could be picked up at random but
so could American soldiers. The role of peace keeper to the world bear enormous
burdens and the fact that the United Nations has sanctioned many of our actions
is probably not enough.
States also does not want its soldiers at risk when they travel abroad and are
talking about a veto relative to the establishment of an International Criminal
Court so that it can vote against the indictment of anyone acting in the line
of duty. We do not see the creation of an International Criminal Court at all
when the Hague has been established and has earned a reputation for fairness in
international disputes. In addition, we would exempt those that are given order
from those that create orders from any sort of judgment by either the International
Criminal Court or the Hague.
in our proposal, those that have the power to enforce an original order on others
at the executive or legislative level of a country would be the only ones that
could be taken to international courts. If those in command did not mead out the
necessary judgment when forces under their control, such as the Serbian Forces
in Kosovo, then once again it is the responsibility of leadership to enforce justice.
If they don't one can reasonably assume that they were operating under orders
and once again it is the leadership that should be punished, not the person following
correctly point out that the United States has asked for an international tribunal
only to prosecute crimes committed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia to be limited
to crimes committed between 1975 and 1979, subsequent to its carpet bombing of
Cambodia and before the U. S. began collaborating with the Khmer Rouge. Ratner
goes on to say;
the same time, however, the U. S. seeks to invoke international law to prosecute
its enemies, and Washington claims that fighting terrorism is a cornerstone of
its foreign policy. This double standard is demonstrated by the case of the extradition
from Italy to Turkey of Abdallah Ocalan, a leader of the Kurdish Workers Party.
In contrast to its failure to support the extradition of Pinochet, the U. S. State
Department announced that Ocalan "should be extradited and brought to justice
We have no doubt this man is a terrorist, and he, therefore, should receive no
there is no absolute guarantee that this case will be heard in Spain, Britain,
the Hague or some International Court on Criminality, one thing is certain, it
will not be heard in Chile. This is best summed up by Geoffrey Robertson QC the
author of "the Justice Game",
"What has become crystal clear in recent months is that
Pinochet will never stand trial in Chile. There have been cases brought against
him by relatives of those who disappeared under his orders, all consolidated before
Judge Juan Guzman of the Santiago Appeals Court, who recently explained, "I
am prevented from issuing any kind of arrest warrant:, because of the amnesty
Pinochet bestowed on himself in 1978 and because he will always enjoy immunity
as "Senator for life". Even if these immunities were in some way ended,
the issue of any warrant against the General would automatically remove his case
to a military court, where his acquittal would be a foregone conclusion."
"Pinochet has never apologized, although he has joked
that the "disappearances" saved the cost of coffins.
inevitably, be disappointment that Pinochet cannot be prosecuted in Spain for
the bulk of his crimes, but this should be tempered by the advances the case has
made in human rights law. Britain can take some credit, too, for the fact that
its courts have bent over backwards to be fair to this man, compared with the
utter lack of fairness he meted out to his victims who were denied any form of
are a few other interesting observances that should be noted before we stray much
further from the essence of our discussion. Lately we have seen a spate of indictments
of people in Yugoslavia and Rwanda that were popular enough that they were brought
the United Nations for a vote and all concerned could stand behind the fact that
this world organization had given the problem in imprenture. Spain did not go
through this process and thus there was no way in the world that anyone could
stop the Spanish from what they were about. The fact that they timed their indictment
when Pinochet was visiting a co-signature to the Anti-Torture Act was either good
luck or excellent timing on the part of the Madrid prosecutor. We would prefer
to believe that he organized his case perfectly, timed it to perfection and executed
it to succeed as it did.
of what I consider to be an almost perfect legal masterpiece, a little known fact
would be interesting to note. Shortly after Pinochet's arrest, the Cuban American
National Foundation thought that Spain having done such a good job with Pinochet
would be interested in Castro. They filed a brief and presented their case in
Madrid. The court for a multitude of reasons dismissed the case against Castro
without even opening a preliminary investigation. There are major differences
between the two leaders and they are too many to go into in this arena, but we
suggest that at the minimum, there would be no one that could turn over Castro
to anyone as he is safely ensconced in Cuba where he enjoys whatever freedoms
he desires, the second is the fact that he is a reigning leader at that makes
a significant difference, Cuba was not a signatory to the same document that Britain
and Spain relieved upon for their legal position and to our knowledge, Castro
was not involved in torture of his citizens. We congratulate the Spanish Court
for rejecting this case and making a mockery of the case against a true villain,
see that Spain has come a long way from their days of injustice for all. Spain
has grown up and because of substantial liberalization the people are becoming
richer and there is opportunity for all. Mairo Conde, 49 year old lawyer turned
banker showed what kind of opportunity exists in the modern state. Banesto Bank
was one of the largest in Spain and Mr. Conde through acquisition and other shrewd
maneuvering became its Chairman literally overnight. He then proceeded to the
loot the bank of literally every cent it had, $4.8 billion.
puts Mr. Conde in a league all by himself when it comes to personal gain through
bank theft. Oh sure there have been cases where more money has disappeared such
as in Credit Lyonnais and certain BCCI but in neither case did anyone pocket anything
near this astronomical amount stolen by Conde and his cohorts.
modus operandi was simplicity
personified, he simply borrowed money in the names of numerous companies that
he was the main shareholder in and forgot to repay it. Ultimately the Bank of
Spain had to take control of the bank and fired its board of directors. This had
major political and social implications and almost toppled the government of Socialist
Party of Felipe Gonzalez.
should have known better as this was not the first time Counselor Conde had a
run in with the law. On the previous occasion he was sentenced to six years in
jail for embezzlement and forgery and was order to pay compensation of $4.1 million.
Needless to say that he did not serve any time on this charge, he did not pay
the fine and was enjoying life as a banker when the Spanish police walked in.
has now emerged as a modern country and whether they like it or not, welcome to
the big leagues.
General Franco ran Spain, in order to make their olives more saleable in the world
market, they would sell the majority of the crop on the cheap to Italy who would
then repackage the olives and resell into the international marketplace as being
produced in Italy. This scheme worked well for both countries over the years because
Spanish products were boycotted in many places and by using the Italians as middlemen,
the entire crop could be unloaded.
years rolled by, both Italy and Spain joined the EU which in turn set the amount
of olives that could be produced each year by each nation based on the individual
historical export figures. Because Spain and Italy had both been dealing to their
benefit for low these many years, Italy received a substantial part of the allotment
that normally would have gone to Spain. Rather than come clean, the Italians started
planting more olives because they could never produce the number that had been
allocated by the EU. Spain on the other hand had become a legitimate global exporter
and now was hamstrung with an allocation that had no bearing on their historic
is one addition factor in this equation and that is the fact that Italian Olive
trees are far more fruitful that the Spanish ones so that when the EU became concerned
about a glut in olive oil and thought that Spain was increasing its production
to rapidly to support current prices it determined that olive subsidies would
henceforth be based on the number of oil trees extant rather than the historic
gross production. This would mean that Spain would have to take a double jolt,
put as many as 30,000 people out of work in Andalusia, an area where one-third
of the population is already out of work. Furthermore, in an article which appeared
in the Economist stated, "The Spaniards say that, in one recent year, 10%
of the EU's olive -oil subsidies were embezzled nearly all by Italy. Independent
watchers say Spain is far from clean either".
as they say in baseball, he who live by the sword, dies by the sword. Welcome
top the 20th century.