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By Jason Moore

THIRTY years ago yesterday armed Spanish troops burst into the Spanish parliament building taking most of Spain's political elite hostage. It was an attempted coup by a group of army officers who wanted to see a return of the old style military rule of General Franco. I was living in Spain when it happened and it was a time of great political tension and at one stage it appeared that Spain's new era of democracy was coming to an end.

Now, all this happened just 30 years ago and it is quite amazing how Spain has changed since then. There is no chance that the events of the 23 February could ever be repeated because Spain has become a modern democratic country. The Spanish miracle has happened in the space of thirty years and the country should be congratulated for taking such important strides during this period. If it hadn't been for this current recession there was a strong possibility that Spain could be a member of the G8, the group of leading industralised nations. The failed military coup was a real watershed for Spain and it probably rather strengthen Spain's democracy rather than weaken it. Spain's political leaders since the coup need to be congratulated for ensuring the peaceful transition. The dark days are certainly in the past.