America is a democracy run by the republican party. Surprisingly the republican party has produced something that is pretty close to a dynasty. In Spain we have a dynasty, and a king. But our King´s values are more aligned to those of the American Democratic Party than the Republican Party. So America has a democracy that with elements of a monarchy and we have a monarchy that is mostly a democracy with a King who risked his life to defend democracy. And to top it all Spain is governed by the Socialist party, traditionally anti monarchic but now in a very good relationship with the king.

How does Fon fit in all this?

We are happy to announce that the Socialist Party of Spain has adopted Fon and our partners Skype as their main means of communications. The Socialist Party will Fon 1250 of their offices and is equipping their leaders with wifi enabled laptops. Does King Juan Carlos use a laptop? I don´t think so but probably President Bush does not use one either. The Socialist Party of Spain has realized that having its leaders carry laptops and show they are informed, aware and connected is a good thing for their image and more importantly, their functioning as a governing body. I wonder if the next President of the United States will write his own e mails. Maybe it´s time to change the red phone for the red fon.

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Anonymous on June 1, 2006  · 

I am not sure whether the King has similar political beliefs to the Democrats or the Republicans in general. I am sure that the King differs from the Socialists in the understanding of the territorial disputes in Spain and the central vs. descentralization debate. In the US, the Republicans are the stong proponents of decentralization and diminishing yeilding power to the States. In questions of Federalism, the Spanish Socialists follow the fundamental Republican canons.

Finally, the Bush’s are becoming a political dynasty in the States, similar to their Democrat brothers the Kennedy’s, Shriver’s, Kerry’s, and Roosevelts. As you have endorsed through this website, Hillary will make Bill the father of a whole new family dynasty, the Clintons.

By the way, I loved the red phone for the red fon joke (“red” meaning “network” in Spanish). GOOD ONE!

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Anonymous on June 1, 2006  · 


I’m not aware of the current Spanish king ever having risked his life for democracy. He was actually designated as his succesor by Franco (, and even though he did start the transition to the current system, I very much doubt his life was ever in risk. What do you base your statement on?


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Francisco on June 2, 2006  · 

#1 A very interesting feauture of the Spanish political system is that the King can not make public political statements (he has no political power in fact). Actually, as far as I am concerned, all his speeches -excepting Chrismats day- are supervised by the goverment. So that no one can actually know his opinion about centralisation/decentralisation. 🙂

#2 I think Martín says the King risked his life because of the following: (from wikipedia): “…which ultimately culminated in an attempted military coup on February 23, 1981, in which the Cortes was seized by members of the Guardia Civil in the parliamentary chamber (see 23-F). According to the widely accepted version, the coup ended up being thwarted by the public television broadcast by the King, calling for unambiguous support for the legitimate democratic government. In the hours before his speech, he had personally called many senior military figures to tell them that he was opposed to the coup, and that they must defend the democratic government…”

Like many other Spaniards (77%) I think this King is excellent… and very cool! Let me tell you an anecdote: In 2001 I was awarded an scholarship to get my MBA abroad. It was awarded by “La Caixa”, the Catalan public savings bank (Note I am from Madrid, so?). The King and the Queen are invited every year to give the scholarship certificates (interesting, isn´t?). The parents are invited to the ceremony so we were there, Mom, Dad and me. After the ceremony the King spends a couple of hours talking to the people. Mon wanted to see him closer so I offered her to get closer to the King and tell him something. So we did. When we were just in front of him Mom was so paralised that she was unable to even say “hi”. The King quickly realised that and said “Lady, nice meeting you” and he made a reverence as if my Mom was a Queen or something like that! Everybody there look at us and asked to themselves “who are they?”

My Mom -and I- would never forget that story! This is what Juan Carlos really is: a King for the people, and not the other way around.


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Anonymous on June 2, 2006  · 

I don’t think his behaviour during the attempted coup of 23-F ever put the king’s life at risk. If anything, the life of several members of parliament was in risk, who had firearms pointed at them while the king was somewhere else and very safe probably.

I guess my point is that the Spanish system will not be a proper democracy until ALL power resides on the people (voters). A “parliamentary monarchy”? Yes, but not a democracy. So you think that the king is excellent and a very nice person, that’s very fine and won’t argue over that, but I don’t think he deserves his position and power just because of his heritage.

I’m surprised that Martin has defended the figure of the king as a democratic hero while monarchy is by definition the opposite of democracy. If he was really “a king for the people” as he says, he should have given up his entitlements to “the people” long ago, together with the fortune he’s amassed in all this years.

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Francisco on June 3, 2006  · 

#4. I think sending a TV message against the coup while the tanks where up and down is risking his life actually. Traditionally the Royalty in that cases use the strategy of wait-and-see.

Also, Spain is a democracy. Please do not forget that fact. The King has no power. And if Spaniards do not like the King, so we can change the constitution and appoint -if we wish- Donald Duck as new King , but so far 4 out of 5 Spaniards like (or even “love”) the King, not because of being “a king”, but because of his behaviour. Let´s say that the King of Spain is a sort of “President of the Republic” with no real power, and with an indefinite term that can be cancelled by a constitutional change, that he would never stop.


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Martín Varsavsky on June 3, 2006  · 

I would like to clarify my position. Personally, I think Monarchy makes no sense. Now as far as Kings are concerned Juan Carlos is as good as they come.


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swaption on June 14, 2006  · 

Francisco I believe that the King had prepared the coup with some democrats, in fact, the fake couo highlighted the most prodictatorship militars and allowed to change them to more prodemocrats.
The fact is that the King had no option than support the democracy, the King became King cause ETA killed Carrero Blanco cause the intention of some continuist was the dictatorship should go on.
The way Adolfo Suarez managed the transition with the remindings of a civil war that killed brothers allowed our changed to a democracy.

Martin, did you read the last surveys? 77% is too high, I believe know is 50%-50% and the number of republicans increasing due to recent corruption scandals.

Francisco, again, probably the King is paid to assist to this scholarships events (by La Caixa) so he should reverence everybody, not only your mother. 😉

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Martin Varsavsky on October 12, 2008  · 

@ fonero:

You have no fucking clue of how hard it is to build a start up in this environment grow fon as much as we are growing it (doubling revenues since May) and on top of that dealing with trolls like you. Frankly I don´t know if the Socialist Party followed through with their announcement but what I know is that your comments help nobody obtain free wifi. And don´t bother answering because this is a blog for constructive criticism, not for you.

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