Sometimes the change seems swifter than it really is. Spain has not changed overnight. When [Francisco Franco] died, his people had long outgrown his dictatorship. Spain had become a middle-class country, and Spaniards had some of the same aspirations that other people had in Western Europe. In the view of many analysts, many forces were in place, ready to be unleashed by Franco's death.
Yet the king and [Adolfo Suarez], the heirs of Franco, led the transition to democracy and even turned over power, when the voters so decided, to the enemies of Franco. The two relatively young men-[Juan Carlos] was 37 and Suarez was 42 when Franco died-adopted the mood of their generation.
In a land where Spaniards were once forced to adulate their dictator in public, Franco, 10 years after his death, now seems a remote and scorned figure. Publishers are putting out new or revised biographies. Some nostalgia is evident. The extreme right-wing party that is patterned after Franco's old Falange still sells little medallions of Franco in front of the main post office.