Angel Manuel Ballesteros
Institute of Ceuta Studies
No need to be Metternich to agree on the inconvenience of historical discussions regarding foreign policy. And this is so evident that it could become a law, if not mathematical, of course diplomatic.
The letter from the president of beloved Mexico, claiming that the King of Spain apologizes for the ‘abuses’ committed during the ‘Conquest’, is consubstantial part of the imperial nature of Spain that, like the great countries that transformed history, did it with the corresponding procedures at the time, certainly habitual in the hardness of the conquests, in the heroic deeds of few against many, and not attenuated in their excesses by the lack of comparative culture because it was not known the existence of the peoples to discover, to conquer, in America and in Africa, while Asia was traditionally alien to the European conceptual circuit.
Hence, entering into controversy makes sense in the academic field and would be advisable from a positive, constructive revisionism, but always keeping in mind the exception of the different times, which in an emphatic but not entirely satisfactory manner was formulated as “the fault was of the times, not of Spain¨. And taking on account that the grievances committed in the sixteenth century, led without delay to the corrective legislation of the Spanish crown, with the introduction of humanism in the law of nations, the superb timbre of Hispanic honor.
Then, from those Spanish ancestors, partly adventurous, the Creoles emerged and emancipated by taking advantage of the weakness of the metropolis. But were unable, after two centuries of independence, to reach the levels of civilization required from the Western perspective. Meanwhile in the country, then and now, more cultured, the endearing Argentina, from where all my direct family comes, they continued exterminating the natives, like the Americans to the north.
But here the diplomatic field is being treated, the same that with doses of heterodoxy that had to be specified empowered the English and the Dutch to endorse the Black Legend, first of all in the face of the great Hispanic fact of miscegenation in America, perhaps the only one that allows to humanize the conquests, which was ignored by the British et alii. We have also to differentiate the origin of the Dutch aversion, based largely on the excesses of the ‘Tercios’, of the English, against which we defend ourselves more times than we attacked and that have ended leaving in such unequal balance as the affront of Gibraltar.
The diplomatic technique seems clear: Spain does not pronounce itself, because it does not proceed, on events that occurred five centuries ago, which it assumes naturally in what corresponds, but that does not value for the unbridgeable difference of time. Already in the Fifth Centenary, immersed in the inevitable and recurrent controversy, proliferated hyperindigenism diatribes, as expected, as has been predictable now to celebrate the fifth centenary of the arrival of Cortes to the Aztec Empire. As it will continue to be, every time that legally Spain commemorates some emancipation, celebrates some feat, remembers its glorious and singular past in America (It has already been said that it was another diplomatic defeat or, rather, an alien diplomatic victory, which led to ¨America, United States of ¨).
Therefore and despite or just for its simplicity, for its cleanliness without artifices, neither gimmicky nor factitious exegesis, for its naturalness, for its relevance, in short, it is time that, for the greater glory of Hispanic America, Madrid will establish this procedural praxis as invariable, systematic response, and elevate it to international doctrine.
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