Spanish sighs at Jeb's royal gaffe
Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles
Tuesday February 18, 2003
Who would have thought that Jeb Bush, the president's brother, was a closet supporter of the leftwingers who fought against Franco in the Spanish civil war? But this week the governor of Florida has caused ripples by referring to Spain as the "republic" it was then rather than as the monarchy it is now.
Mr Bush was in Madrid on a trade mission when, paying tribute to Jose Maria Aznar, the prime minister, he said: "I would like to finish by thanking the president of the Republic of Spain for his friendship with the United States."
But Spain ceased being a republic when General Franco defeated the Republican side and became dictator. The constitutional monarchy was restored under Juan Carlos II in 1975, after Franco's death.
Mr Bush, who owes his office in part to the financial support of rightwing Cuban exiles, would not normally be associated with the Spanish Republican cause.
His elder brother has made notable gaffes when dealing with foreign leaders, getting the name of the Canadian prime minister wrong and referring to Mr Aznar as "Anzar" before his first visit to Spain last year.
The blunder is unlikely to damage the friendly relations between Spain and the US, though the historian Juan Pablo Fusi, called the error as "an offence to Spain and its democratic monarchy."