Dark Rumblings Of A Coup D’État In Spain

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter   www.testosteronepit.com   www.amazon.com/author/wolfrichter

Spain is on edge. Unemployment is nearly 26%, youth unemployment over 55%. The government is mired in a corruption scandal. The economy is grinding to a halt. On January 23, the Catalan assembly declared that the region constituted a “sovereign political and legal entity.” A step closer to secession. And then a general gave a speech.

It’s just now percolating to the surface, but it happened on February 6, according to people who attended a conference on the Armed Forces and the Constitution at the Gran Peña, a club in Madrid that is a favorite hangout for retired military officers. The discussion was moderated by José Antonio Fernández Rodera, editor of the military’s magazine, Revista Jurídica Militar. Among the speakers were Ángel Calderón, Chief Justice of the Military Chamber; Pedro González-Trevijano, Chancellor of the King Juan Carlos University; and General Juan Antonio Chicharro, until 2010 commander of the Marine Corps and now in the reserves. About 100 people were in the audience.

There was nothing unusual until General Chicharro spoke. From the outset, he made clear that this wasn’t an impromptu speech. According to various attendees, he apologized; he would have declined the invitation to speak, he said, but the current “separatist-secessionist offensive” in Catalonia obligated him to come forward.

In the armed forces, “there is a general feeling of preoccupation, fear, uncertainty, and confusion” on this topic, he said. He lamented the dismissal of General José Mena in 2006 after he’d publicly suggested that military intervention might be needed to counter Catalonia’s demands for increased autonomy.

He criticized Catalan separatists for their distorted interpretation of the Constitution with regards to secession and offered his own interpretation of two articles: Article 8.1, which charged the Armed Forces with defending Spain and its territorial integrity; and Article 97, which spelled out the subordination of the military to the civilian government. The first was at the hard core of the Constitution, he said. The second was further removed, with less force.

And so, while using conditionals and turning statements into questions, he spun a theory on when the military would be justified in overthrowing the government. The problem would occur, he said, “if those responsible for the defense of the Constitution didn’t behave as their role required.”

He asked his listeners to imagine what would happen if the Popular Party (PP) were to lose its absolute majority in the next general elections, and the Catalan nationalists were to demand, in exchange for their support, a change of the Constitution to undo the doctrine of the “indissoluble unity” of Spain.

“So what do the Armed Forces do?” he wondered, but gave no answer. “The rules are one thing, practice is another,” he said enigmatically. “If the defense mechanism of the constitutional order doesn’t work, by act or omission, then....” He didn’t complete the sentence. “The country is more important than democracy,” he said. “Patriotism is a feeling, and the Constitution is nothing but a law.”

Rousing applause, a standing ovation, cries of “Bravo! Bravo!” The questions from the audience went even further than the General’s speech—until chancellor González-Trevijano cut them off: “The alternative to the constitution is collective suicide,” he said.

When the story began to leak out, Diego López Garrido, the Socialist spokesman in Parliament on defense issues, pressed the Ministry of Defense to take immediate action against the general; he was still subject to the military disciplinary code which frowned upon suggesting coup d’états—in public. And on Thursday, the Ministry said that it has opened a preliminary inquiry to determine what exactly the general had said and if it ran afoul of any laws.

Perhaps warned by the general, the government is taking the hardest possible line against Catalonia’s ambitions to secede. On Thursday, the State Council issued an opinion indicating that there were sufficient legal grounds to dispute the declaration by the Catalan assembly. On Friday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy announced that the government would roll out its biggest legal gun. It would take the declaration to the Constitutional Court on the grounds that it violated the Constitution.

The economic nightmare with too many out-of-work restless young people on the streets, the secession of a region, a constitutional crisis in the wings, and dark rumblings by generals combine into a volatile mix. What had started out as a housing bubble that turned into a debt crisis then a broad economic crisis has morphed beyond the economy. It’s gnawing on democracy.

And not just in Spain. But the Eurozone. “I’m appalled that two clowns have won,” said the man who'd try to knock German Chancellor Merkel off her perch this year. He was referring to former comedian Beppe Grillo and former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. One of them is “a professional clown who doesn’t mind being called that,” he explained; the other is “a clown with special testosterone boost.” Read.... The Utter Fragility Of The Eurozone: Even Democracy Is A Threat

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PFO's picture

-0- & Co,

Up next:

The Great Catholic Monarch

Coming soon to a European theater near you . . .

ramacers's picture

ah, how about obama musing about odering the secret service to "lock the doors" son boehner and mcconnell couldn't get out of the wh? does this reveal a coup de tat mentality (psychosis)?

andrewp111's picture

Shades of 1860 here. Secession always results in civil war. I'm waiting for the EU Civil War to begin. The biggest question mark will be Germany's role.

Supernova Born's picture

I've got to say I don't really give a flying fuck if my overlords wear military uniforms, business suits or a combo.

bunnyswanson's picture

Looking in the mirror don't get it for you?  Didn't get laid, got in a fight?  What exactly do you like?


It's just a big mistake and the dance is going to end. 

Lita Ford - Kiss Me Deadly

walcott's picture

you wanted it you got it

Satanic Beyonce and demonic possession reality


bunnyswanson's picture


London Olympics - a Portrayal of the death of life as we know it and the birth of the NEW World Sordid.  Phoenix rising - Oh that's ~them~ --- When Dying becomes an obligation, serviing becomes an honor and the merry-go-round with carnival mirrors never ever stops.  It's never too early for a drink.

Sandmann's picture

Doesn't Catalonia pay the bills in Spain ? Isn't this the economic engine of the country ? Isn't this their John Galt Moment ?

walcott's picture

Wait until this goes nuclear. Entire cities wiped out immediately.

They will do this and scar the brain of anybody who may survive so badly that it will be permanenty etched in their DNA and passed to any of their future generational spawn for eternity.

samcontrol's picture

FACTS on Catalonia.

They are only fanatical about football and their language.

Peter Pan's picture

My late father would often say that dictatorships and military juntas are a bad thing but are entirely necessary every ten years or so in order to bring democracy back on track due to the abuse it receives at the hands of psychopaths, opportunists and over demanding and underperforming citizens.


bunnyswanson's picture

Nothing happens without a vote.  Who made who rich?  Who did all the work?  Fuck that.


AC/DC  who made who

What a tyrant can do will hold no bounds if leadership is put into place without a vote.

smacker's picture


General Chicharro:

“The country is more important than democracy...”

WOW. So much for democracy. He repeated exactly what Barroso said a while back regarding the future of the European Union (aka United States of Europe): democracy must not be allowed to stand in the way of fascist governments.

magpie's picture

"The country is more important than the Euro..."

Internet Troll Magpie

Supernova Born's picture

One world, one crushed people at at time.

smacker's picture


Indeed. Mussolini fascism lives on.

AnAnonymous's picture

And not just in Spain. But the Eurozone.

Again mixing parallel phenomena.

It is clear that some 'Americans' in Europe feel that the Europeanization of the continent does not go fast enough.

They feel that the Nation State is getting in the way to thwart the advance of the project.

They would prefer to destroy the Nation State in order to place their area under the protection of the European State. They feel that the Nation State is no longer needed.

As they are, they are hard core European People project.

But for 'americans' in a certain situation, it sells better to introduce them as having a beef against the EU and the EMU. When they are the polar opposite.

Catalunia wants out of Spain in order to make the European project advance much faster.

It is also wrong to confine this behaviour to the Eurozone. Scotland wants out of UK for the same reasons: 'Americans' in Scotland feel that UK puts itself in the path of the 'american' dream of melting pot (social engineering) in Europe and wants to leave the UK to apply immediately after as a member of the EU and EMU.

It is funny and very 'american' to sell people who are hardcore supporters of a trend as opponents to the trend.

Ghordius's picture

remarkable. do you mean there a split happening between "Americans" and "europeans"? and that it is growing between England and Scotland, Spain and Catalonia, Belgium and Flanders?

akak's picture

No, Ghordius, what AnAnonymystic actually means is that when Indo-European-'American'-Chinese-Soviet-Panamanian-Mongolian-Antarctican-Lemurian-EasterIsland Citizenism actually invades our space-time continuum, instead of lodging solely in the fevered and insanitationalized mind of AnAnonymystic, there will be Hell to pay.

WTFUD's picture

Duh! The gubmit sold the constitution to a few big corps. The law does not exist to protect your freedoms. Your states are police states. Your being shafted day in day out and informed it good for you. What will it take for you to step up to the Plate and smash all of this curved ball rhetoric BS out of the park? Old hookers don't spit, they use it as lip gloss to wet kiss the next customer, just like the whores on capitol hill.

The They's picture

Eurofascists.  An occupational army.

bunnyswanson's picture

Sleep with one eye open.


Metallica - Gripping your pillow tight - Enter Sandman

Take my hand - we are off to never never land. 

Live in ~Russia~ 100 thousand in attendance - Common ground

Mark Noonan's picture

Probably doesn't mean much - while the senior ranks of the Spanish military largely entered service while Franco was still in power, it was towards the tail end of his regime and most senior Spanish military officers have spent their careers living under a democratic regime...and the junior officers would just be more so.  Would a Catalan declaration of indepdendence spark a military revolt if the Spanish government refused to suppress it?  Highly unlikely - Spanish society is rotten and if the Catalans ever worked up the guts to declare indepdence (highly unlikely) I doubt that one in a thousand in Spain would be willing to do the least thing about it.

IQ 101's picture

I'm not an Attorney,I just play one on T.V.

So if a Spanish General insists that a Constitution is "Just a Law",

That would set a Legal Precedent under International Law ?
I am most likely Wrong, but perhaps better minds can fill in the blanks for me ?

It seems to me that international Law is often considered in U.S. Courts of Law, as in the Magna Carta and French Law and Ancient Law, up to the Supreme Court level ?

I'm of the mind that a Constitution of any Nation is A 'Contract'....

A Legal and binding agreement between 2 or more parties. And A Constitution generally comes about After Foul disagreement or Bloodshed.                                                                                    Democracy, allegedly having it's start in ancient Greece but coming into fruition in Iceland in the 10th Century,seemed to work well for compact City State Tribalism, and I expect it would work well in 'A Tribe' Situation. However, The Republican Constitutional ideal seems far more effective in ensuring a basic Liberty amongst larger numbers of people,ensuring that 51% of Voters do not have the Authority to inform the remaining 49% how.....life should be lived.                                    I believe this is the fundamental, unaknowledged truth.(By Most.)      But if the Spaniards are going to Light Shit Up,I'm down with that, It will not be the first time, I hope to watch it online,while suckig down a 6 of tall cans. If not the Spaniards it will be the Greeks,Irish,Italians,Portuguese,French or even the Germans,I do not know.                                                                                            My understanding of what a Contract is informs me in this way,regarding a Nations Constitution.

A Contract is based on Offer and Acceptance.

B The Contract in case of a National Constitution is Held/Owned/Offered by The People to Those who desire to represent 'The People' and it is mostly offerd Following a Rememberd period of Conflict.                                                                                          C Those reprasentatives that Accept 'The Offer' do it with full acceptance of the terms and conditions of the contract,also carrying the weight of Loyalty to that Nation that has desired to be under that Constitution/Contract by a popular Democratic vote,in a Republican understanding.

D The Penalties for a Massive,intentional violation of said Contract may involve certain Penalties,if found out and proveable in a Court of Law.

For example..... You will be Hanged by the neck until thine eyeballs leave thy head and thy corpse shall hange upon the Oak tree until the Crows and Worms have had their way with that meat.                          Whenst thy body drops to the ground by nature, it will be further moved to the far corner of an barren field and their,placed amongst the worms.

I Likes me a bit of Medieval Law and would not be suprised to see it resurrected soon.

samcontrol's picture

your iq is higher than 101'

divide that group in two. the ones that will riot hard and the pussies.

spain,portugal, germany. no riots

France , Ireland, Greece, Italy way more likely..

The grand revolution zh ers are looking for will come from Uk or Italy.
If it comes in our life time.

Greenie's picture

Sorry to object but I think France belongs in the pussy group.

WhiteNight123129's picture

I guess you are missing history.

1789. Governement overturned by riots.


1830. Government overturned by riots


1848 Government overtunred by riots


1870 Government overturned by riots


1968 Government overturned by riots.


Might not have the best soldiers in the world, but top grade rioters.

Riot is a national sport in France, and patriotic duty.

Actuallly I wonder which country in the West has overturned more of its governments through riots than France.

So Greenie, show a little respect here for our rioters, they are fierce and any ruler of France knows that.

ebworthen's picture

Restore the Magna Carta!

Stud Duck's picture

Shit man, I had to read that damn contract theory thing of yours, appears you are up to date on the Enhlish code! Good comment/post on a verygood article.I loved the "hanged from the neck until the eyeball leave thy head".

It appears the question of contractal law may be decided after a few hundred thousand give their lives over ideological theory.

ebworthen's picture

And this is the result of "leaders" in government and industry who put their greed above well-being of the society; collapse and war.

I am astounded that those in the military and police can't see that their inability to pursue the criminal actions of their leaders leads to their being at the forefront of the meat grinder of violence that results.

Take action NOW, because the politicians and bankers are completely ignoring the rule-of-law in Europe and the U.S.

fightthepower's picture

Please God, let them start hanging bankers. Particularly any Rothschilds that show their faces.

lasvegaspersona's picture

Welcome back General Franco.


the Catalans hated him. He forbade them to speak their language and life was miserable in Barcelona. I doubt this story will die quietly. The people of Catalonia have not forgotten his reign.

torabora's picture

Spainish Pope next?

DeadFred's picture

Supposed to be Peter the Roman. Sorry, the list was made some time ago and no substitutions are accepted.

StychoKiller's picture

As opposed to "Roamin' Peter?"

GeezerGeek's picture

Bill Clinton as the next pope?

lolmao500's picture

Hopefully some people in the US military thinks the same and is plotting to overthrow the traitors in power.

StychoKiller's picture

"Seven Days in May" -- starring Kirk Douglas, etc.

bigkahuna's picture

If the military brass tries to move in and actually succeeds, then it was by design. If they move in and are unsuccessful, then that was for real.

If all hell breaks loose due to any of this, then anything goes.

lakecity55's picture

It requires a unanimous vote by the JChiefs to arrest a president.

the grateful unemployed's picture

the last two presidents only address military troops in the field IF their weapons have been unloaded first

Go Tribe's picture

You didn't hear? Geithner is going to be the next pope.

falak pema's picture

Sorry, but it seems that Tony Blair takes precedence. He even changed religion to drive that home. 

Mamzer Ben Zonah's picture

They made sure that the dog that was used in the attack on the Muslim Bin Laden was muzzled when Obama visited Seal Team 6.

... just saying'

web bot's picture

Be careful what you wish for...

cynicalskeptic's picture

Sadly those that grab power, rarely let it go willingly.    History has shown that military coups - even those that claim altruistic justifications - end up with MORE autocratic and repressive regimes and almost never relinquish power back to 'the people' who they claim to be representing.

I DO hope that Oath Keepers and others will take a firm stance in upholding and defending the Constitution - but sadly, recent events has shown that our armed forces are all too willing to 'follow orders'.