Gabriel Rufián Romero

Address to Plenary Session Session 246h -- Intervention on Motion of Censure

delivered 21 March 2023, The Congress of Deputies, Madrid, Spain

Spanish Language Audio mp3 of Address


Spanish language transcript

Mr. RUFIÁN ROMERO: Well. First of all, Mr. Abascal, am I all right? (He buttons his suit jacket -- Mr. Abascal Conde makes an affirmative gesture). Yes? Is that okay with you? I would like to mention that Marcelino Camacho wore a sweater and Rodrigo Rato wore a tie. Tejero also wore a tie when he came here, so it doesn't depend on what you wear (Applause and laughter). I congratulate you on your speech; everyone applauded you except [Ramón] Tamames. (Laughs)

When Silvio Berlusconi left the courtroom the first time, he was convicted of something, some time ago, a journalist asked him: "Does it change anything?" "Does it affect you in any way what has happened?" --A corruption conviction, eh -- And Silvio Berlusconi --first conviction -- responded with a sentence as true as it is terrible: "No, why? The truth does not change anything." True and terrible: No because the truth does not change anything.

Look, what do you think all those who come back from work are going to see on TV today? What do you think all those who go to work are going to hear and see tomorrow on the radio or TV? What do you think? The truth? (Rumors). Fifty-two ultras applauding everything without knowing very well why? A leader who knows full well that he cannot endure more than three repetitions in a row? A well--read gentleman, but also eager to be on TV?

This is the truth. Yes, many people will see and hear this because it is the truth, but they will be told something else. They will see something else. They are going to see a venerable gentleman very concerned about the autocratic drift of a government that governs, makes pacts, and negotiates with the enemies of Spain. That is what many people will see and hear. Because, ladies and gentlemen, the noise that surrounded and exhaled VOX a long time ago is no longer just that -- it is no longer just noise; it is no longer just destruction; it is something else.

If we are able to listen carefully, a melody is heard and a whisper is heard for whoever wants to hear it, and I can assure you that there are a lot of people willing to listen to it, and it is: We are not fascists; we are patriots. We are not angry fascists; we are concerned patriots. And this is not only said by VOX, but also by a journalist with sources very close to Zarzuela ---- like Zarzalejos, by Mario Vaquerizo in show business programs, by Trevijano and Marchena with their sentences, by Abascal in El Hormiguero, and now by the right hand -- never better said -- of Carrillo. That is the melody, ladies and gentlemen. That is the music. And we can be here making a fuss and a ruckus to all these people until tomorrow -- it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because they can win; because that's the tune you hear; that's the whisper you hear.

Ladies and gentlemen, do you know people, many people, good people --neighbors, friends, relatives -- working-class people -- neighbors, friends, relatives -- good people, who are much more worried, much more pissed off, because of what, I do not know, I receive for my public office, because as everybody knows I receive an extraordinary salary and some of you receive your salary in sacks of rice, in sacks of rice? Do you know working -- class people, good people, who are much angrier about what, I don't know, I get in wages than about a king running away after stealing for 40 years? Yes, or no? Do you know them?

Several deputies: No!

I do. (Applause). The question is why. Do you know people, good people --neighbors, friends, relatives, working-class people -- who hate parties that vote in favor of the minimum interprofessional wage and who love and vote for parties that vote against raising the minimum interprofessional wage, that receiving the minimum interprofessional wage? Do you know them? I do. The question is why. I have already mentioned this to you a few times. Why are there so many mice listening to and voting for cats? Why? The answer is terrible, but it is true: because there are a lot of people willing to vote against their interests thinking that they vote in favor of their principles. I repeat, there are a lot of people willing to vote against their interests thinking that they are voting in favor of their principles.

But what is this principle? What is it? The most powerful that can exist in politics: is the homeland. Because who doesn't want to be part of a country? Who? Who doesn't want to be part of a collective? Who? But what is a homeland, what is a homeland? A homeland is an army? Is a homeland a soccer team, is it an anthem, is it a king? What is it? It can be everything. For Mr. Tamames and VOX -- and the Popular Party, for Ciudadanos, and even for some people in the PSOE [Spanish Socialist Workers' Party] -- a homeland is a flag. OK, but what about the people who carry that flag? What about the people who carry the flags of these people? Because that is what matters, because perhaps a homeland is neither an anthem, nor an army, nor a king, nor a soccer team, nor a flag; perhaps the homeland is its people, perhaps the homeland is the other and, above all, how those people live and how those other lives.

So, let's see what VOX, the champions of patriotism, have done for those people. In Spain, there is 30% child poverty. In Spain, there are thirteen million poor people. In Spain, there are almost three million unemployed. In Spain, there are still one hundred evictions on average per day, and in Spain, almost everything you eat has gone up by 30%. (Rumors). Going to a private school does not make you more educated. It is clear.

The PRESIDENT: Silence, please.

Mr. RUFIÁN ROMERO: That is what Spain is today. So, let's see what VOX voted for the people who carry the flag because the homeland is not only going to be the flag, but also the people who carry that flag, right? VOX voted against all the aids that literally saved the lives of millions of people during the worst of the pandemic, of all of them. VOX has never voted in favor of raising contributory and non-contributory pensions. VOX has voted against a children's law to protect those who most need to be protected in a country with almost 30% child poverty. VOX voted against a university coexistence law in favor of students. VOX has never voted in favor of any investment in science. VOX has never voted in favor of any measure against electric oligopolies such as, for example, electric self-consumption. VOX has always voted against any initiative in favor of the environment. VOX has not voted in favor of allowing domestic workers, if they want, to have access to unemployment. VOX has voted against selling at a loss, and they say they are the ones from the countryside. VOX has voted against the minimum living income and VOX has never voted in favor of raising the minimum wage. These are the concerned patriots (Applause). These are the concerned patriots.

What does VOX tell you? Well, VOX tells you that if you are hungry, Spain; if you don't have a house, Spain; if you don't have a job, Spain; if you have a house but you can't afford it, Spain; if you have a job but you earn very little, Spain: Spain, Spain, Spain.

A Member of Parliament: Very good!

Mr. RUFIÁN ROMERO: That is what VOX tells you, and there are some who applaud because they do not understand the movie (Laughter, Applause). VOX, worker, worker, tells you that the homeland is your new God, that the homeland is your new God, and that you have to pray to it, that you have to pray to a flag while they close a hospital.

Mr. Tamames, good afternoon, how are you? This is taking a long time, eh? (Rumors). You have come today to sell us your book, literally. I was very amused when you said that you do not know who has stolen your speech, the leaked speech; be careful that they have not used a Pegasus, I tell you from experience.

I have listened to you carefully and I have mostly questions for you. But first a preliminary one. You constantly talk about the past, constantly, but the past was not always better -- my grandfather told me that, I am not saying it. Sacralizing the past is dangerous. For example, forty years ago, do you know what happened? Well, forty years ago Juan Carlos I was very friendly and loved his wife very much; there were even those who said that he saved people when he rode his motorcycle. Forty years ago, John Paul II was a very nice pope of a Church that had zero cases of pederasty. Forty years ago, Arevalo made jokes about homosexuals, blacks, and the mistreatment of women, and nothing happened here. No, it is not true that forty years ago we were better off, forty years ago there were simply more lies and more privileges. Do you know what was happening forty years ago? That we were all forty years younger. That is true. It is the only truth. You have spoken here today of a time that did not exist. You have spoken here today of a time that did not exist, and you have done so hand in hand with the children and grandchildren of those who imprisoned you. But, Mr. Tamames, because I know the trap, that is not reconciliation, that is surrender, that is surrender.

You have dedicated a large part of your speech to criticizing this Government and the parties that negotiated with it for -- and I quote -- betraying the spirit of the Transition. Is this correct? I understand that it is. It seems like that's basically why you're here. You have repeatedly declared -- you have done so today -- as a constitutionalist, as an anti-- Francoist -- in fact, you have said that you joined the Communist Party not so much as a communist, but as an anti-Francoist -- and I repeat, as a son of the Constitution, and you harshly criticize the Government's incoherence and the Government's bad company. Is that correct? I understand that it is.

But, Mr. Tamames, do you know for which party you are standing here today as President of the Government? Because that is what this is all about, eh? Do you know who signed your motion of censure? Do you know? (A lady deputy: he knows perfectly well). Yes, you know, but I am going to tell you again. It is public and notorious information. One of the signatories of his motion of censure is Juan José Aizcorbe, VOX deputy for Barcelona. In 1982 he was a militant in Fuerza Nueva, in 1988 in Juntas Españolas, and in 1989 in Frente Nacional, all of them parties that called for a dictatorship through a new coup d'état. Signer of your motion of censure, current deputy. Mr. Tamames, what does this have to do with anti-Francoism, constitutionalism, and the spirit of the Transition?

Another one, Juan Carlos Segura, also a VOX deputy for Barcelona. In 1980 he was a militant in the National Front, in 1981 he was arrested -- I repeat, arrested -- for throwing a Molotov at a UCD headquarters -- you have to be a beast -- and in 1982 for burning a figure of the king, in 1982. Deputy, signer of your motion of censure. (Voices). Mr. Tamames, what does this have to do with anti-Francoism, constitutionalism, and the spirit of the Transition? (Voices).

The PRESIDENT: I ask for silence, please.

Mr. RUFIÁN ROMERO: Another one, Jordi de la Fuente, the current secretary of the organization of VOX in Barcelona. He was a member of a Nazi party, such as Movimiento Social Republicano, and in 2009 he was arrested for vandalism against a synagogue and against a juvenile center. Secretary of VOX in Barcelona. Mr. Tamames, what does this have to do with anti--Francoism, constitutionalism, and the spirit of the Transition?

Another one, is Jorge Cutillas, current deputy of VOX in the Assembly of Madrid. He was a member of Patria y Libertad and was arrested for stoning a bus with Basque children in Madrid. What a bad thing! What does this have to do with anti-Francoism, constitutionalism, and the spirit of the Transition, Mr. Tamames?

And the last one, because we could go on until tomorrow, I can assure you -- it is public and notorious information-- the champion, Javier Ortega-Smith. (Rumors). He was a member of the Falange in 1988 and published an article in which he called for the return of a single-party and single-union regime. Mr. Tamames, what does this have to do with anti-Francoism, constitutionalism, and the spirit of the Transition?

Mr. Tamames, you talk about waste; in fact, your VOX colleagues also talk about government waste. It seems fine to me to talk about waste, but what do you think, for example -- because as you talk about austerity...-- of VOX donating 4 million euros to a foundation chaired by Mr. Abascal? I do not say so myself, it is said by its former general secretary, Macarena Olona. What is your opinion? It seems to me that it is a waste; at the very least, ask why VOX donates 4 million euros to a foundation, precisely, chaired by Mr. Santiago Abascal. Since we are talking about waste, let's talk about it. Mr. Abascal is telling him things. I have the feeling that Mr. Tamames does not understand what he is telling him. (Rumors).

You also speak of national coexistence. Mr. Tamames, how does it help national coexistence -- and I ask you sincerely -- to send the Civil Guard and the National Police -- I tell you objectively, as an image -- to beat people at a polling station, in Catalonia, on October 1, 2017? How does it help national coexistence? Did it help to beat people in a polling station? Has there been anyone in Catalonia who has stopped being pro-independence? No. (Applause).

Mr. Tamames, you talk about our language, about speaking exclusively in Spanish. You have accused the Generalitat -- according to you, Generalitat; surely it is difficult for you to say Generalitat, I understand it -- of persecuting Castilian. Look, I am forty--one years old, I was born in Santa Coloma de Gramanet, everybody knows it, and in Santa Coloma de Gramanet linguistic immersion started; and linguistic immersion, as you know, means that children are schooled in Catalan because it is the language of the place where they are schooled, and it is a minority language and it is convenient to promote it because Castilian is spoken by between six hundred and seven hundred million people all over the planet. That's it. Do you think it is difficult for me to speak Castilian? (Several deputies: Yes). Oh, yes? Ah, it's hard for me. That's a new one. (Rumors) Is it hard for me?

The PRESIDENT: Silence, please.

Mr. RUFIÁN ROMERO: It is absurd that you say that the Generalitat or Generalidad persecutes the Castilian language; that is, I was born in the cradle of linguistic immersion! But it is that article 3 of your sacrosanct, of your sacred Constitution, that you are going to sleep with it, says that there are more official languages in this country apart from Spanish, apart from Castilian, Catalan, Basque, and Galician. Their sacrosanct Constitution says so. A country that does not recognize, that vilifies its linguistic and cultural diversity, simply does not deserve it; does not deserve it. (Applause).

Mr. Tamames, you talk about democratic memory, and you say that in the war there were neither good nor bad guys; and you end your speech reading Machado. I am convinced that Machado would not have found what he said about neither good nor bad funny at all, eh? (Applause). But, well, it got VOX to applaud him. The question is, do you think it is right that a murderer, such as Queipo de Llano, was in a basilica until the day before yesterday and that a universal poet, such as Lorca, is still today in a grave and nothing happens here? Do you think this is neither good nor bad? Do you think it is right? (Applause).

What I do find curious, above all, is that everything is a coup d'état except what is a coup d'état. Reforming the Penal Code is a coup d'état; an investiture of the Socialist Party with Unidas Podemos is a coup d'état; renewing the Constitutional Court is a coup d'état; approving the budgets is a coup d'état; a referendum in Catalonia is a coup d'état; but the 36 is a grandparents' fight! (Laughter). Feijóo says it; you do not say it, you say something else. Mr. Feijóo says it is a grandparents' fight. Everything is a coup d'état, except a coup d'état. It is curious.

Mr. Tamames, you talk about the overrepresentation of separatist parties, I understand your point of view, and you talk about a new election law. You have been very insistent on this point. You have a reputation for being rigorous; the data belies that. Do you know how many votes the PSOE needed for each seat in the last elections? 56,601. The PP? 56,708. The PNV? 63,167. And Esquerra Republicana? 67,167. Mr. Tamames, these are lentils, who is overrepresented here? Why do they keep saying about the electoral law? It is absurd (Applause).

You literally say, Mr. Tamames, that Spain has an exemplary penal system, a model for the world. Mr. Tamames, then, why have judges in Scotland, Germany, Switzerland, or Belgium not yet extradited dangerous criminals, as you say, such as Carles Puigdemont or Marta Rovira? Why? If the Spanish penal system is ideal, if it is incredible, why don't European judges extradite them if they are so dangerous? I am telling you. Do you know what these judges say in their sentences? That they would not have -- and this is literal -- a fair trial. It is a disgrace to the democracy of this country. (Applause).

Mr. Tamames, you talk about SMEs and propose a simple solution for them: that they cease to exist. He gives the example of Juan Roig, Amancio Ortega, or people who raise the shopping basket beyond inflation and who always pay badly. At least he did not use Ferrovial as an example. You have also talked about Gibraltar at some point. I only recommend you one thing, do not send Ortega Smith to negotiate that. (Laughter, Applause). Mr. Tamames, a summary of your speech. You have gone from -- I dare say -- I prefer a red Spain to a broken Spain, to I prefer a fascist Spain to a broken Spain, and that is a shame because you can grow old as Maruja Torres or as yourself. (Applause).

I end with a comment to the Government. A motion of censure is made to censure a government, and many of us also think that this government has reason to be censured. That's what I commented earlier about there are a lot of people who listen to these people with some attention and if they get the tune, it's because of their neglect. I don't have time, but I would like to talk about mortgages, I would like to talk about prices. You, ladies, and gentlemen of the Government will not be defeated by a motion; you, ladies, and gentlemen of the Government, will be defeated by inflation. It is not acceptable that a minister of this government when people cannot buy food in a supermarket, tells them: Well, go to the one across the street. Maybe you don't understand the difference between an unfair dismissal benefit of 33 or 45 days, maybe you don't; it would be important for you to understand it, but maybe you don't. (Applause). Understand that solutions must be given to the people. In this regard, a democracy cannot be based on the current account of the people, a democracy must be based on the current things that affect the people. Start, ladies and gentlemen of the Government, to think about the people you are disappointing and not so much about the managers of the powers that be who are pressuring you.

Nothing more and thank you very much (Applause from the members of the Republican Parliamentary Group, standing up).

1Notable combination of epistrophe and epizeuxis

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Transcript Note: Outsourced professional translation with modest editorial revisions by Michael E. Eidenmuller

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