What did Spain’s Felipe VI learn from his father?

We shall see what transpires, but expect no surprises, at least no pleasant ones, during the imminent Spanish royal visit to Cuba. In part, that is because it was pushed through by a socialist government, headed by an appalling hack who last year “did Cuba” himself. Besides, even Generalissimo Franco always had an “understanding” with the Castro regime. In other words, the king and his consort are not being sent to Cuba for Cuba’s sake but for Spain’s, and the visit is bound to reflect that. However, there is a more personal element hovering over all this, which goes back many years and has nothing to do with the current Spanish government. I refer to Juan Carlos I, the king from 1975 to 2014 and father and mentor of Felipe VI.

As early as 1979, Juan Carlos invited Fidel Castro to visit Spain, although the invitation was not taken up. In 1992, Fidel came to Madrid for that year’s Ibero-American Summit (IAS), and during an official dinner, he toasted the king and said “I am not a royalist; I am a juancarlist.” In 1998, in the context of “dialogue” between Castro, Inc. and the European Union, Juan Carlos wanted to make an official visit to Cuba and told the press, but then-president Aznar scotched it. At the IAS held in Portugal that year, king and dictator met again and had a long get-together, after which Fidel said he never imagined he could get along so well with a king of Spain, and described him as very pleasant, friendly and personable.

A royal visit to Cuba was announced for 1999 but cancelled by the Aznar government at the last minute. For the IAS held later that year in Havana, Juan Carlos and his wife went to Cuba with Aznar, but that was not an official visit. There was friction on that trip between Aznar and the king over the latter’s cozying up to Fidel, especially his pushing for and finally getting a private meeting with the dictator against Aznar’s wishes. There was little time between Aznar leaving office in 2004 and Fidel being forced to step down in 2006, but if he had remained Cuba’s “president” during the rest of the Castrophile Zapatero’s tenure as Spain’s president, there is little doubt Juan Carlos would have gotten his official royal visit. In 2016, though no longer king, Juan Carlos attended Fidel’s funeral, apparently because he wanted to, as he could hardly have been forced to do so at that point.

The math is not hard to do. Felipe obviously did not learn to abhor the Castro evil from his father, who was not just “professional” with Cuba’s totalitarian despot but downright, uh, congenial, to put it diplomatically. Juan Carlos, despite his much-vaunted defense of democracy in Spain against the return of Franco-style rule (though he owed Franco the crown), was apparently no different from the 19th century Spanish liberals who did not want for Cuba what they wanted for Spain. His son has evinced scruples over coinciding on his Cuba visit with Venezuela’s Maduro and Nicaragua’s Ortega (and I expect fashionista Letizia wants to go nowhere near a fashion nightmare like Ortega’s wife), but such scruples do not extend to Cuba’s rulers, who happen to be firmly and crucially behind both Maduro and Ortega, not to mention many more like them. I mean, really, spare us the act.

So, among other things, get ready for the standard, uh, lamentable photo of the visitors with Che’s grim visage looming over them, because it’s coming. Of course, we’ve already seen that photo with more than one titular Vicar of Christ and a certain POTUS, though one hopes Felipe will avoid doing the wave at a baseball game next to the dictator or his puppet.

Lord, the disgust.

1 thought on “What did Spain’s Felipe VI learn from his father?”

  1. The reason Fidel called himself “juancarlista” certainly appears to be that Juan Carlos was a “fidelista.” There is zero justification for such chumminess with a totalitarian tyrant by someone with major pretensions to being all about constitutional democracy. To me, Juan Carlos was a hypocrite, if not worse.

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