Koldo CaslaDec 22, 2021
Spain and Its Achilles' Heels
The Strong Foundations of a Country's Weaknesses
Rowman and Littlefield 2021
In Spain and Its Achilles' Heels: The Strong Foundations of a Country's Weaknesses (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2021), Koldo Casla asks: Why was Franco exhumed from the Valley of the Fallen in late 2019? How is it that he was there in the first place? Why did Catalonia erupt suddenly in October 2017? Why don’t you hear so much about the Basque Country anymore? How did Podemos gather momentum so quickly in 2014-15, and why did half of that support vanish five years later? Isn’t it counterintuitive that a Catholic-majority country also has the most LGBT-friendly society in the world?
Understanding the most significant events in recent Spanish politics requires spelling out the unspoken but enduring foundations of the country’s deepest fears and weaknesses, its Achilles' heels. In Greek mythology, an Achilles' heel is a vulnerability that can lead to downfall despite the apparent general strength of the full body. Casla uses this term to define the underlying factors that, while by no means unique, are characteristic of a particular society, delimit what is possible and shape the political debate. They are the primary political frailties without which a country’s politics cannot be properly comprehended.
Koldo Casla is a Lecturer in Law at the University of Essex and the Director of the Human Rights Centre Clinic
Kirk Meighoo is Public Relations Officer for the United National Congress, the Official Opposition in Trinidad and Tobago. His career has spanned media, academia, and politics for three decades.