Alfredo is Alfredo Conde, an intellectual and writer of merit, who has just published an unusual book about his relations with Manuel Fraga, the overwhelming former Franco minister who founded the Popular Alliance in Democracy, the cradle of the current PP, whose leadership he resigned in favor of José María Aznar, "without guardianship and without guardianship."
I say that it is unusual because with such a pretext the author takes the opportunity to make some biographical notes that are almost an attempt at memoirs or diaries, where he also carries out minimal account adjustments with certain characters from the past.
Where is the center-right Galician nationalism?
Palomares, atomic war on the Spanish sky
He began his first steps, like so many of his generation, in the Communist Party to end up entering the electoral lists of the Galician PSOE, with which he became
of Culture in the Government of González Laxe. In the book he narrates his permanent and intense dialogue, being a man on the left, with Don Manuel, representative of the pseudoliberal tendency of the Falangist sector of the dictatorship. And, trifles aside, to which I will refer later, the result is highly praiseworthy. It helps to clarify some fog regarding the story of the Spanish political transition, incites from his militant Galicianism to meditation on the Spain of the autonomies and, above all, he sketches two wonderful portraits of Fraga and Fidel Castro, whom he accompanied on numerous occasions , and that could well serve as a prologue to a more detailed study of both personalities.
Like Count, but for very different reasons, I too had the opportunity to deal with both characters, and like him I sometimes surrendered to the fascination produced by their almost animal incarnation before suffering the disappointment unleashed by their extreme self-centeredness. The author of the book, the son of a reprisal by the Franco regime, reiterates over more than 200 pages that he never rejected "dealing with anyone based on their ideology or political militancy, but on the basis of their human condition." Although the condition of the aforementioned characters was rather inhuman, as the Count himself is in charge of highlighting. De Fraga says that he was a protean and changeable being, willing to compete with everyone, including himself, in order to always be the first, but highlights his dedication to the country and his personal honesty,in these times when political corruption is common currency. "He was a public servant from beginning to end," he says, "a reformer who was in favor of bringing about change from within." And he even compares his behavior with the penetration of the Communist Workers' Commissions in the Francoist unions, in order to demand the rights of the workers. His restrained admiration for the former Francoist minister comes mainly from being the promoter of Galicianism in Spanish politics, since that was a current traditionally represented by left-wing intellectuals, such as Ramón Piñeiro or himself. And he narrates in singular detail the relationship he had with Fidel Castro, to which he suggests that he contributed greatly. Among other things,He was the author of a book that included a long interview of several hours made by himself with the Commander for Galician television. Its distribution was prohibited in Cuba and finally he suffered the remoteness and ingratitude of the Castro regime in circumstances that he compared to those experienced by Mario Vargas Llosa or Jorge Edwards. Accompanying Manuel Fraga on his first visit to the island, he witnessed the unique relationship he established with Castro, which he ended up hosting on his trip to Galicia to visit his father's house. The narrator's bonhomie does not prevent him from emphasizing that Fidel, who never spoke ill of Franco to him, and did so with respect, was prone to negotiating with human flesh and “always had a political prisoner to offer in exchange for something. Fraga managed to free not a few of them ”.I think that something like this could be said today about the relationship between Rodríguez Zapatero and Maduro, of course overcoming enormous distances, since they are not even close to the human and political quality of those two Galicians. For the rest, the relationship between them was clear, in the face of the obscurantism that surrounds the singular support of the former Spanish president for the Caracas tyrant.
The bonhomie of the narrator does not prevent him from emphasizing that Fidel Castro never spoke ill of Franco
In the strictly political field, Conde substantially appreciates the proposal of the former president of Galicia to establish a single administration in response to bureaucratic and management problems between the autonomous and central governments. He also makes a non-veiled criticism of the disfigurement of our democracy at the hands of the political parties, so that it has become "a partitocracy that puts the political future of the deputies in the hands of the general secretaries of the parties." The minor objections that can be noted to the book are a certain literary oversight in its edition in Spanish and the correction to a specific anecdote. Conde assures that someone told him that Adolfo Suárez once asked for a summary of a folio of
One Hundred Years of Solitude,
by Gabriel García Márquez when we have the information. That is worth to slightly joke with the first president of the current Spanish democracy. I do not doubt that someone told him, but I do doubt that it had happened that way. I was the one who made the introductions between Adolfo and Gabo, at his request, and who offered the first of the lunches we had for three, each time García Márquez visited Madrid. I can assure you that Adolfo, who never boasted of being an intellectual, was indeed a reader, like so many millions of people, of the work of the Nobel Prize winner.
Those who are now from this book by Alfredo Conde will enjoy the story, built very efficiently, and will appreciate the sincerity and humility of its author, not exempt from the inevitable Galician sarcasm.
For the rest, Conde's relationships with those two friends so different, and at the same time so similar, that he portrays, ended more or less as badly as mine.
Although, in a last outburst of humanity, he regrets the way in which the last days of Fraga unfolded, certain on the other hand that he would never have wished them that way.
We could add that neither did Fidel.
Ezaro, 2021. 228 pages.