Hit the pause and go fix some coffee, because one of the main players has slipped offstage the Garzón case, albeit in an “temporary” fashion. Say adiós to Supreme Court Magistrate Luciano “Unlucky” Varela, who accepted the recusation against himself presented by Garzón’s lawyer. The procedure in this case involves the recused judge taking a break from the case while the judicial authorities decide whether he is fit to continue as lead magistrate. Three months minimum.
In the meanwhile, another magistrate takes his place, in this case Perfecto Andrés Ibáñez, a progressive judge that is unlikely to push the case forward until Varela gets allowed back onstage… which may very well never happen. Then again, let us not forget that Varela was also considered of the “progressive” wing until he was activated to carry out his fifth column task or die trying.
In any case, the good news is that the checks and balances of the judicial system are healthy enough to ensure that gross political show trials like the Garzón case cannot overstep the boundaries of democratic legality. By the smile on Garzón’s face, we can assume this small battle he has just won is of strategic importance in the larger war. For now, however, the case goes into rest mode, unless something unexpected happens, which given the twists and turns it has taken so far may not be so unexpected after all.