To understand, one really needs to know what the people have gone through
since right before World War II.
In 1936, Spain had a bloody civil war in which a Facist Regime headed by
Franco defeated the Government, got rid of democracy and started a dicatorship.
For 35 LONG YEARS Spain was falling behind the rest of Europe. It was VERY difficult
to leave the country, Spanish people could not vote and they couldn't even
voice their public opinion on Franco without going to prison!
There is no wonder the people spit on the very few monuments Franco still has!
During these 35 years of Facist Rule, Franco wanted to train Juan Carlos (the true heir
to the throne) to succeed him and continue the Facist Dictatorship.
When Franco finally died, it was all set up for Juan Carlos to take over
as King and Dictator.... but then he did something unexpected....
He decided to create a Government, Make Spain a Democracy and keep himself as King! (smart man).
Juan Carlos pretty much saved Spain from another period of facist rule. He is
the people's hero. He's still alive and well.... and on all the money (of course).
The political party that came into rule after Juan Carlos was the PSOE. They are our
version of the Democrats. PSOE stands for Partido Socialista Obrero Español (Spanish Workers Socialist Party).
They did a lot of great things for Spain in the next 2 decades. But at the same time,
a few of the high up members stole money from the government and the PSOE lost the trust of the people.
Because of everything that had transpired in the last two decades, the conservative
Partido Popular came into power in 1996 and have been there ever since.....that is until this past week.
Spain's President from 1996 to now has been Jose María Aznar.
He's been a very popular President, except for one thing.
When Bush started the war in Iraq, all of Europe was against it (except Spain and Britain).
In Spain, 80% of the population was also VERY, VERY against the war. But Aznar supported it anyways.
A widely unpopular desicion.
But nobody really thought Al Qaeda would attack Spain for being on the side of the U.S. (including Aznar).
And the desicion seemed to make the U.S. notice Spain more than it ever had, which was good for Spain.
Aznar decided to retire in 2004 and chose Mariano Rajoy to be his successor.
Despite his unpopular decision to support the war in Iraq, the Partido Popular was a HEAVY, HEAVY favorite to win. Why?
Because the other option (the PSOE) just didn't do it for the people. Although they were against
the war in Iraq, they still hadn't gained the people's trust from the past.
The PSOE's candidate for the Presidency was Jose Luís Rodrigo Zapatero
Remember in the 2000 U.S. Elections when a lot of American's didn't want Bush or Gore to be president?
That's EXACTLY how many of the Spanish felt in these elections, until March 11th.
When March 11th hit, the first thing the Partido Popular cried was "ETA!" Because they knew
that the elections were in two days and if all of the people thought it was Al Qaeda,
Aznar and Rajoy would be finished. They had an OVERWHELMING LEAD in the polls!
When the people found out that it was Al Qaeda, they were OUTRAGED! Although over 80% of the population
was blantanly against the war, Aznar supported it. Through that support Al Qaeda targeted Spain.
The graffiti above asks "This the price of YOUR war Aznar?" (muy fuerte)
You can imagine their feelings of betrayal.
Al Queda + Bush + Partido Popular + Televisión Español= 11-M.
Although the Majority of the Spanish feel this way about what's been going on, I have never had
any of them treat me badly for being American. Not once in 8 months. These people are truly special.
In a stunning election in which nearly 80% of the ENTIRE country voted, the PSOE won
by a convincing margin. Emotionally moved by the weeks events, over 2 MILLION young people
came to the ballot box for the first time. This enabled the PSOE to win.
Zapatero is going to be Spain's next president, the Spanish Troops are being pulled out
of Iraq in July and the country is moving on with life. The Spanish people really made the decision this time.
Click HERE- To understand why I still feel safe in Madrid.