FAQFAQ          SearchSearch          MemberlistMemberlist          UsergroupsUsergroups    RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile          Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages          Log inLog in          
op-ed by Xuan Candano: 'La romeria de la autonomía'

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Asturian-American Migration Forum Index -> The Future of Asturias - El futuro de Asturias
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
is
Moderator


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2007 9:47 pm    Post subject: op-ed by Xuan Candano: 'La romeria de la autonomía' Reply with quote

This op-ed piece in today's La Nueva España (Sept. 11, 2007) is by television reporter Xuan Candano, one of the few people in the Asturian media whose pieces demonstrate a creative intelligence and critical eye when commenting on the unusual governance of Asturias since Franco's death.

As you might already know, September 8 is the so-called 'Día de Asturias', the rather orthopedic 'regional day' that gets reduced to vague proclamations and mind-numbing speeches. The rotund Asturian president, Vicente Alvarez Areces, has yet another chance of addressing his fellow Asturians to stultify them with platitudes and statistics. He already does this on the regional TPA television, which he set up, as well in the regional newspapers that his administration buys out with advertising revenue.

Xuan Candano hits the nail in the head with sentences like this, where he describes the unimaginative, unremarkable, garden-variety of speech that the PSOE/FSA government (and likewise its counterpart, the conservative PP) has grown (and groaned) to be known for:

"Son tan tópicos, tan retóricos, tan repetidos, y olvidan tan absurdamente esas cuestiones identitarias que tanto detestan los socialistas en Asturias como realzan en otras autonomías, que los discursos literalmente sirven lo mismo para Asturias que para La Rioja o la Toscana."

[They are so topical, so rhetorical, so over-used, and they absurdly leave by the wayside all those identity issues that the Asturian Socialists so detest but so readily espouse in other autonomous regions of Spain, that the institutional speeches could literally be beamed into not only Asturias, but also into the Rioja region or Italy's Tuscany.]

He's right. I'd go even further. I could take a speech by Areces, translate it into Russian and feed it into the Central Asian wire services as having been said by the likes of Nursultan Nazarbayev, the president-elect (by more than 90%) of Kazakhstan, or some vaguely obscure eminence grise from Moldova, or Poland. Sad, but that is the type of colorless technocrats in power in Asturias.

For those who don't read any Spanish, I'll come up with a translation later.

La Nueva España (Uvieu/Oviedo) Sept. 11, 2007
http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=1757_52_556118__Opinion-romeria-autonomia

“La romería de la autonomía”
by Xuan Candano


“Ser asturiano nun ye
usar montera picona
saber echar bien la sidra
o xubir a Covadonga
nin adornase con histories
que son verdaes a medies
que de tanto ser grandones
van crecenos les oreyes.”

(a song by Victor Manuel)

Un año más el Día de Asturias demuestra jocosamente que la autonomía en esta tierra sólo la toman en serio los políticos. Y porque viven de ella.

La celebración política se confunde con la religiosa. El Gobierno, el Parlamento, el rector, los militares y el poder judicial acuden en peregrinación a Covadonga a los actos que preside el Arzobispo. Este año Carlos Osoro felicitó al presidente, Vicente Álvarez Areces, por la cobertura de la misa en la TPA, la televisión gubernamental, que inauguró hace un año sus emisiones con un directo desde la basílica.

La parte política se reserva para las vísperas. Hay un Pleno en la Junta General tan covadonguista como el de la basílica, porque los dos grandes partidos comparten y exhiben año tras año su rancio españolismo y su indisimulado centralismo. La FSA es en esto tan visceral como el PSOE de Extremadura, donde la fiesta autonómica coincide con la de Asturias y hace tiempo que la supera en relevancia.

También hay un discurso institucional del presidente del Principado que recogen todos los medios. Les propongo que prueben a colocar los textos de Álvarez Areces del 8 de septiembre en cualquier otro país o autonomía. Son tan tópicos, tan retóricos, tan repetidos, y olvidan tan absurdamente esas cuestiones identitarias que tanto detestan los socialistas en Asturias como realzan en otras autonomías, que los discursos literalmente sirven lo mismo para Asturias que para La Rioja o la Toscana.

Areces no habla nunca en asturiano ni en el «Día de les lletres», al que no acude, ni en el de Asturias, a no ser para citas tan asombrosas como la de este año, con la que dio a conocer más allá de Tapia, donde vivía, a Conrado Villar, corresponsal de prensa y escritor local que no pasará precisamente a la historia de la literatura:

“Quero, ademáis,
madre mía
Gozar dos aires da patria,
y escuitar nel meu terruño
os dulces sones da gaita.”

Areces ni siquiera en su discurso alude nunca a la lengua asturiana, tras la retahíla habitual de «la cultura, el territorio, el paisaje y la historia». Para el Presidente y su Gobierno, el asturiano es una lengua invisible, un problema que no conviene citar ni en el Día de Asturias y al que condena a una agónica muerte lenta.

La programación oficial del Día de Asturias se completa con una fiesta popular itinerante. Deporte y juegos tradicionales, mucha gaita y sidra a esgaya. Este año en Navia la TPA paseó a La Marquesina, un personaje zafio con el que ridiculizan la cultura tradicional asturiana, porque el humor inteligente con los políticos del Principado se ve que no les hace mucha gracia y está prohibido en pantalla. En Puerto de Vega la folixa del Principado coincidió con las fiestas del pueblo. No pasó de añadir unos actos al programa de Las Telayas, que es la fiesta que sienten suya los vecinos del lugar donde murió Jovellanos.

El Día de Asturias no es más que una romería reciente, con mucho presupuesto y mucho bombo, porque las perras salen del Principado y no del esfuerzo de los vecinos y las comisiones de fiestas, pero sin arraigo ninguno entre la población.

Por su parte, los asturianistas, que caben todos en un taxi, de tantas broncas y escisiones, festejan el Día de Asturias por separado en actos distintos y en diferentes localidades. Los de URAS-PAS pusieron una corona al rey Alfonso II en Oviedo y se juntaron en una «comida de hermandad». Los de Andecha Astur se manifestaron en Gijón, y los de Unidá celebraron un mitin en Avilés. Los de Izquierda Unida-Bloque por Asturies se desmarcan de parlamentarios y extraparlamentarios y este año organizaron un mitin en Lena. Si éste es el Día de la Comunidad, esta autonomía no es muy seria verdaderamente. Parece una autonomía de tambor y gaita.

Asturias tiene una autonomía otorgada, no demandada. Le tocó en el reparto de la transición, cuando se diseñó el mapa autonómico y a las demandas históricas de catalanes, vascos y gallegos se sumaron primero los andaluces y más tarde otras comunidades de «vía lenta», entre ellas Asturias.

Aquí llegó la autonomía por mimetismo, como llegará ahora la reforma, sin más demanda que la de los asturianistas, que están al margen del Estatuto. Curiosa autonomía la nuestra, donde los autonomistas están fuera del juego político y los centralistas se reparten el poder.

En este cuarto de siglo la autonomía en Asturias se distingue por tres «hechos diferenciales». Por una bandera que inventaron los collacios de Conceyu Bable, Xosé Lluis García Arias, Lluis Xabel Álvarez y Amelia Valcárcel; por un himno con el que los borrachos de medio mundo entonan una canción de letra surrealista en un castellano horripilante, y por una clase política desmesurada y endogámica. Esa masa, cada vez más numerosa y compacta, de políticos, cargos públicos, liberados, asesores y burócratas ha sido la gran beneficiada con la autonomía asturiana, y no precisamente los ciudadanos.

Los progresos y avances, sociales y económicos, que ha habido en Asturias en estos años, muchos, pese al mito de la crisis, hubieran llegado igual sin la autonomía otorgada. Se deben más a la dinámica histórica y a la opulencia capitalista del primer mundo que a la ubicación de los gestores públicos en Oviedo o en Madrid. Los fondos europeos o la red de carreteras comarcales hubieran llegado igual con la antigua Diputación, que consiguió en su día el Hospital Central y la autopista Oviedo-Gijón-Avilés.

Personalmente sólo encuentro razones para el orgullo en la breve historia de la autonomía asturiana cuando visito el Museo de Bellas Artes, una excelente pinacoteca que debemos al impulso de dos asturianistas, Emilio Marcos Vallaure y Toto Castañón. Justo es reconocer que en esto la autonomía sí pintó algo.

-Xuan Candano
Back to top  
is
Moderator


Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 837
Location: Yaoundé

PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 10:14 pm    Post subject: English translation Reply with quote

Here goes a somewhat loose translation of Xuan Candano’s piece on Asturian non-autonomy. Many of the subtleties in the text, such as ‘covadonguismo’, are hard to explain. But Candano is right about the legacy of Franco’s regime among Asturians. They were taught to see themselves as precursors of a glorious Catholic-Fascist Spain, victors over Moorish invaders in 722, as opposed to their own tribal thing.

It is similar to the founding myth of the Southern Slaves, in which Kosovo was contained from Ottoman incursions by Serbian foot soldiers. The current ruling Socialists in Asturias (almost 30 years of uninterrupted power) are a product of this Franco-style thinking and not far from a Milosevic-style jingoism, so very far removed from the Social Democrats of northern Europe they so aspire to imitate.

“The sideshow of the Asturian autonomy”
by Xuan Candano

“To be Asturian does not mean
To wear the tall hat
Or to know how to pour cider,
It does not imply adorning yourself with tales
that are only half-truths.
With all this self-aggrandizement,
only our ears will grow.”
(song by Victor Manuel)

One more year, the ‘Day of Asturias’ is proof that the region’s autonomy is only taken seriously by local politicians—and only because their income depends on it.

The political feast gets blurred with religious functions. The regional government, all the members of parliament, the university dean, the military and judicial authorities all dutifully wend their way to Covadonga to a function presided over by the Archbishop. This year, Carlos Osoro [the Archbishop] personally thanked Vicente Alvarez Areces [the Asturian president] for the Asturian public television’s (TPA) coverage of the mass. Incidentally, the TPA was launched at the basilica of Covadonga.

The political dimension of the celebration takes place the following day. A full session of the regional parliament is held, just as ‘covadonguista’ in spirit as the event at the basilica was the previous day. In effect, the two largest parties [PSOE/FSA and PP] share and exhibit a stodgy Spanish nationalism, as well as a self-assumed centralist position. The Asturian Socialist Federation (FSA) is as visceral in its Spanish nationalism as the PSOE of a region like Extremadura, whose regional day takes place at the same time and has long surpassed its Asturian counterpart in political relevance.

There’s also an institutional address by the president of the Principality that is broadcast by all the media outlets. I would recommend trying to cut and paste the texts of Alvarez Areces on September 8 for use in any other country or autonomous region. The speeches are so topical, so rhetorical, so repetitive/repeated and they so absurdly ignore the identity issues that the Asturian Socialists so loathe, but readily espouse in other autonomous regions of Spain, that they literally could apply not only to Asturias, but also to La Rioja or Tuscany in Italy.

Areces never utters a word in Asturian, not even in the ‘Dia de les lletres’ [the official day of Asturian literature], which he does not care to attend, and of course he does not speak Asturian even on the ‘Day of Asturias’. Although he did make a surprising quote this year by Conrado Villar, a small-time reporter and local writer from Tapia who has not exactly made it into the annals of literature. Here is the quote [in Galician-Asturian]:

“I want, moreover,
My mother,
Enjoy the breeze of the motherland,
And listen on my plot of earth
To the sweet sounds of the bagpipe.”

In his speech, after harping on the run-of-the-mill ‘culture + territory + landscape + history’ platitudes, Areces did not even refer to the Asturian language. For the Asturian president and for his administration, Asturian is an invisible language, a problem that should not be acknowledged on the ‘Day of Asturias’ and to which he has condemned to a slow death.

The official program on the ‘Day of Asturias’ climaxes with a traveling public festivity. Sports and traditional Asturian games, a great deal of bagpipers and cider for everyone. This year, the TPA paraded the popular character of ‘La Marquesina’, an insulting caricature [of an old woman] that ridicules rural Asturian culture. It is always easier to make fun of ‘La Marquesina’ than to apply intelligent humor to the Principality’s own politicians, which would be a lot funnier. Unfortunately, it is censored from your television screen. In Porto Veiga (Puerto de Vega), the ‘folixa’ (Asturian-style fun) of the Principality this year coincided with the village’s own festivities. However, not much was added to the traditional program of Las Telayas, which is felt by locals as their collective feast. This, by the way, is the place where Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos [an 18th century Asturian intellectual] died.

The ‘Day of Asturias’ is only a recent phenomenon, albeit with a large budget and much pomp and circumstance. After all, the money comes out of the Principality’s own anonymous coffers and not from the sweat equity of neighborhood feast commissions.

Meanwhile, the pro-Asturians, who all fit inside a taxicab because of all the bad blood and factionalism, celebrate the ‘Day of Asturias’ at different events and in different places. The adherents of the URAS-PAS coalition [Union Renovadora Asturiana and Partíu Asturianista, center-right] offered a wreath to King Alfonso II in Oviedo [Uvieu] and broke bread in a so-called fraternal meal. The supporters of Andecha Astur [nationalist left] held a demonstration in Gijon [Xixon], while the supporters of Unidá [a more moderate splinter group of Andecha Astur] held a rally in Aviles. The people of Izquierda Xunida-Bloque por Asturies [left-wing coalition of diverse parties] passed on parliamentary proceedings, and also extra-parliamentary ones, and held their own rally in Lena [Pola L.lena]. If this is the regional autonomy day, this autonomy is not really that serious. It’s an autonomy mostly of bagpipes and drums.

Asturias has a hand-me-down statute. It was a handout, part of the divvying process of Spain’s democratic transition when the map of regional autonomies was drawn up and the historic demands of Catalans, Basques and Galicians were honored, followed by those of the Andalusians and, in the back of the pack, other communities of the so-called ‘slow path’, which included Asturias.

Regional autonomy came to Asturias only by copy & paste methods, in a similar fashion in which the current reform process is unfolding. Only the pro-Asturians have demanded it and they are politically sidelined. Asturias is an altogether peculiar regional autonomy in which the pro-devolution camp is outside the political framework and the centralists [PSOE/FSA and PP] share the power.

In the last quarter century, the Asturian regional autonomy could be characterized by 3 differentiating factors: a flag invented by the friends of Conceyu Bable, including Xose LLuis Garcia Arias, Lluis Xabel Alvarez and Amelia Valcarcel; a national anthem that only drunkards around the world sing to, the lyrics being a surrealist brew of poor Castilian Spanish; and by a bloated political class that is quite keen on venality. That critical mass, ever more numerous and dense, of politicians, political appointees, unlocked charges, advisers and bureaucrats—they have been the true beneficiaries of Asturian autonomy. Not, however, the citizens.

All the progress, the modernization (both social and economic) that has transpired in Asturias these last few decades would have materialized anyway without regional autonomy. They are more the result of historic movements and of the munificence of the first world, rather than because of the administrators of public money in Oviedo or Madrid. The European cohesion funds or the road network would have been channeled to the former provincial entity [of Franco’s Spain]. Back in its heyday, the province of Asturias managed to be awarded the Central Hospital and the Oviedo-Gijon-Aviles highway.

Personally, the only reason that makes me proud of the short-lived Asturian autonomy is prompted by my visits to the Museum of Fine Arts, a fine institution owing to the efforts of two pro-Asturians: Emilio Marcos Vallaure and Toto Castañon. In this case, the regional autonomy did in fact do something fine.

-Xuan Candano
Back to top  
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Asturian-American Migration Forum Index -> The Future of Asturias - El futuro de Asturias All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

Site design & hosting by

Zoller Wagner Digital Design