Pedro Sánchez, character in the history of Spain

If President Sánchez stopped looking at his navel, from being worried about continuing, from looking in the mirror to appreciate his elegant silhouette that is going to go down in history, he may realize some truths that he proclaims are perogrullo.

Those who, according to the criteria of historians, deserve to go down in history go down in history. Historians are ladies and gentlemen, stale and a little bored, with the supposed air of a bookworm, who spend the day among old and dusty papers to write books that very few people read, but which are the notarial deeds of those who have at his discretion the merits and sympathies to go down in history with a capital letter. Historians have the enormous capacity for the rest of humanity to remember some characters as good or bad, smart or stupid, likeable or unsympathetic, as main, secondary or supporting actors. This, which may seem unscholarly, is largely true.

If we don’t talk about those who are now in fashion thanks to the Democratic Memory Law (the unnameable, Azaña, Yagüe, Largo Caballero, Queipo de Llano… all from more than half a century ago) we can find a long list of important people who do not appear in the history books or do so only as supporting characters, unless we turn to very highly specialized monographs. To give two examples. Who remembers Alonso Martínez? He has a central square in Madrid, but if we ask passersby, I bet euros against pipes, that 99 percent do not know who he is. The same if we ask the same question to the Spanish about Laureano López Rodo or Alejandro Rodríguez de Valcárcel. Now, if we ask about General Cabrera, about Ana Hurtado de Mendoza, Princess of Eboli, or Cardinal Cisneros, very few would know who they are.

Historians are the ones who can and will put Sánchez in his rightful place in the history of Spain. The academic of History Luis Suárez dedicated eight voluminous volumes, under the title Frank, chronicle of a time, to the life of the nameless. I very much doubt that anyone will write something similar about Sánchez in the future, and, I hope, his brief stint in the Government. The way that Sánchez would like to enter history, although it may seem untrue, largely does not depend on him. In my humble opinion, if he is going to enter the story, he will be through the small door, like the supporting actor Bob from The Simpsons. If the work of Luis Suárez is republished in the future, he will appear in it, in a footnote, as the author of the desecration of the tomb of the biographer.

Although it is true that now that the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the First Spanish Republic is approaching, it is very likely that he will be equated with some of the great presidents of this brief stage in the contemporary history of Spain; Estanislao Figueras, Francisco Pi y Margall, Nicolás Salmerón, Emilio Castelar and General Francisco Serrano. Many of his successes surpass the most relevant events of this time, being, without a doubt, his most important achievement to defeat all the notables of the PSOE and manage to take over the General Secretariat of his party, being able to govern Spain with the smallest popular support that the socialists have had since the death in the bed of the unnameable.

That Sánchez will go down in history – as a main, secondary or supporting actor – I have no doubt. Calm down, president! But José María el Tempranillo, Manuel Delgado –a psychopath considered the worst murderer in Spanish criminal history– and David Fernández, better known as Rodolfo Chikilicuatre, have also gone down in history.

  • Luis E. Togores He is a professor of Contemporary History at the CEU San Pablo University in Madrid.

Pedro Sánchez, character in the history of Spain