Spain’s Ministry of Interior has confirmed that the director of the country’s Civil Guard, Leonardo Marcos, has decided to sanction Agustín Leal, the spokesman for Justice for the Civil Guard (JUCIL), an advocacy group representing a majority of the country’s civil guards. Leal is facing a possible three-month suspension for using social media to express views contrary to the government’s amnesty for separatist Catalan politicians.
JUCIL has described this as “an attempt to silence the civil guard” in its mission of “defending the rights and freedoms of Spaniards,” as well as in its struggle to “achieve better working conditions.”
Members of another advocacy group for the Civil Guard, APROGC, are facing a similar sanction after publicly recalling that their oath of service included the commitment to shed their blood in the defence of Spain and her constitution, intimating that what the government is doing and its possible consequences could end up requiring just such a sacrifice.
Once more is known concerning the specific action faced by Leal, JUCIL will begin preparing a legal defence, which, according to a statement issued by the group, will pursue “respect, neutrality, and objectivity, as guaranteed by Article 20 of the Constitution, which recognizes and protects the right to freedom of expression.” The statement added:
As a consequence of heightened social tension, some politicians want to return to the methods used by the Ministry [of Interior] in the eighties, during which certain [advocacy] groups within the Civil Guard faced persecution.
The situation bears providing some background: In October of 2017, separatist politicians in Catalonia, whose parties, taken together, had never gained even 50% of the total Catalan popular vote, held a referendum that international observers found to be rife with irregularities and which the opposition boycotted. On the basis of the referendum’s pro-independence result, they declared an independent Catalan republic, attempting to force a majority of the region, including the vast swath of people who had actively boycotted the vote, into a new, perilous future.
Indeed, the pursuit of independence is not oriented towards the good of the many but rather largely proceeds from a part of the Catalan bourgeoisie’s desire to appropriate the fruits of Madrid’s many generations-long privileged investments in the region.
Spain’s present government is willing to grant these politicians amnesty (which legal scholars by and large consider unconstitutional) in order to gain the few extra votes necessary for their leader’s investiture.
With massive protests throughout Spain and law enforcement spokesmen openly expressing their opposition, the country is in the throes of a civic uprising.