Spain's king Felipe VI

The Spanish monarch also provoked anger by remaining seated as Bolívar's symbolic sword was brought into the ceremony
The king of Spain, Felipe VI, was booed and whistled during Sunday's swearing in ceremony for the new president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro. When the Colombian president read the list of dignitaries present and pronounced the name of the Spanish monarch, the audience gave an energetic jeering to the Bourbon. Felipe's facial expression suggested his discomfort in the face of a situation that had been anticipated, since Petro is the first left-wing president to govern the Latin American country. The new head of the Colombian executive, moreover, was a guerrilla in Colombia's April 19th Movement (M-19), which claimed the ideas of Simón Bolívar, the nineteenth century liberator who brought to an end the Spanish colonial era in much of Latin America.

Thus, in the 1970s and 80s, the M-19 vigorously opposed Spanish power in Colombia and took the lead in episodes such as the theft of Bolívar's famous sword in 1974, as well as actions such as the 1985 assault on the Palace of Justice, that ended with the death of 101 people, before reaching a peace agreement with the Colombian government in 1990.


The Bourbon king was not comfortable at a ceremony at which the political and historical references were not aligned with imperialist protocols. And in fact, the situation was so annoying for Felipe VI that he sparked controversy on social media with a gesture seen as highly disrespectful towards Latin American countries and former Spanish colonies: the monarch refused to stand up at the moment when the glass cabinet passed by, carrying the sword of the revolutionary Bolívar to the new Colombian president. All the dignitaries present got to their feet except Felipe VI, who remained seated and did not applaud. Colombian social leader Gener Usuga was the first to report the Spanish head of state's rudeness: "The king of Spain, the only one who remained seated when Bolivar's sword reached the presidential possession. This is the same sword with which the liberator fought the Spanish army more than 200 years ago".

Catalan president in exile Carles Puigdemont also responded to the images in which the Spanish monarch does not hesitate to show his political stance in a solemn moment.


"The monarchy restored by Franco has his pictures taken with the deputies of the fascist Vox party, but does not stand up in the presence of a symbol in which the peoples liberated from Spanish tyranny are recognized", wrote the president in exile in an outspoken message to express his indignation. The reference of Vox related to another public gesture in which the Spanish king took part in in recent days, when he allowed himself to be photographed in Mallorca with representatives of the far-right party, who had been invited to a reception at the royal palace in Marivent. And not the first time that Felipe VI has inflamed social media by having his photo taken with representatives of the far right