Adolfo Suárez, a person to imitate

Monday, March 31, 2014

I was honored to know him well. His imagination, his fearlessness, his deep knowledge of reality, his constant concern for the future, his incredible capacity for reconciliation and perseverance enabled him to carry out the hard and hindered- transition from a military dictatorship to a parliamentary democracy.

The first step was to obtain political pluralism through attentive listening to all  opinions, particularly including those who for many years had been silenced. Despite the coldness or clear rejection with which he was received in many cases, President Suárez led with great lucidity and farsightedness the very complex settlement of agreements and dissents, of generous resignations and undue demands to achieve the great goal of appropriate conditions for running elections fully free.

The Political Reform Act represents a fundamental turning point in the history of the Spanish nation. The Moncloa Covenants, the excellent skill with which he managed the return of President Taradellas ... appoints his unusual reputation as a statesman.

“We did it because we did not know it was impossible." When I worked with President Suarez I was convinced that he knew very well that “impossibles” could be turned in “possibles” if solutions were invented.

I myself experienced his persuasive speed when he proposed me to lead the list of UCD for Granada in the 1977 elections. I told him that I thought the person should be a Grenadian. "You did very well as Rector ...".  I replied that one thing is academic life and the other, politics. And I did not know the UCD program well nor most of the party members. He rapidly issued an order which exonerated me of any reliance on UCD and gave me complete autonomy to decide the composition of the electoral list and the program content.

The Constitution reflects his immense capacity of constructing a fully democratic State, taking fully into account its magnificent diversity.  He did his best to respect and protect it, but he was not allowed -it was a military harassment but not only military- to finish the characteristics of self-government that his vision of structuring the State required.  In his words, the chapter eight of the Constitution remained as an “unfinished symphony”.

Later on, when he had already been able to "ensure the supply of electricity while changing electrical networks" and began to become evident a progressive disaffection of many as well as difficulties in his new party CDS, President Suarez appeared in privacy, saddened and worried. Then I told him something that I repeated years after to President Gorbachev: "you cannot pretend to be in history and in power at the same time."

Suarez, a key figure to restore national dignity, is an unfading point of reference in the history of Spain. The best way to remember and pay tribute to him is to try to imitate him.