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Juan Carlos' Tour Called a Flop; U.S. Rep. Blames Spanish Aides

October 07, 1987|From Reuters

MADRID — A 10-day U.S. tour by King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia has been portrayed in the Spanish media as an embarrassing flop, triggering angry accusations of official incompetence.

Rep. Albert G. Bustamante (D-Tex.), a U.S. congressman of Latino origin, was quoted in the Madrid daily Diario 16 as saying he had been astonished by the way the Spanish authorities handled the visit.

Spanish opposition politicians demanded an official explanation in Parliament on Tuesday of what went wrong with the tour, which was to have projected an image of a modern and dynamic nation.

"The worst thing was that the royal couple passed by unnoticed almost everywhere," Bustamante said, adding that every effort appeared to have been made to keep the king away from ordinary people.

Reporters were informed last week that Hollywood stars, including Jane Fonda, would attend a royal banquet in Los Angeles. None turned up except Esther Williams.

"The royal party's lunches and dinners . . . are almost clandestine," the influential Madrid daily El Pais said.

Bustamante also criticized the king's advisers for ignoring the opportunity after last week's earthquake in Los Angeles, which coincided with the royal visit, "to take the royals to the worst-hit areas and put them in contact with people."

Bustamante said he was puzzled by the refusal of Spanish authorities to agree to a meeting between a caucus of 14 Latino congressmen and Juan Carlos during the monarch's visit to Washington.

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