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Ex-US ambassador to Spain laments embassy cables coverage

Cuban-born diplomat says leaked statements reflect collective view of Madrid mission

Former US ambassador to Spain in the period 2005-2008, Cuban-born Eduardo Aguirre, on Tuesday lamented the "damage" done to individuals, governments and countries on both sides of the Atlantic by the release of the so-called State Department cables by WikiLeaks.

In a written statement, Aguirre described the coverage given to the cables by EL PAÍS as "irresponsible." In the cables, the US mission under Aguirre offers at times unflattering descriptions of politicians still serving in the current Spanish government as well as policy rifts within that administration. There are also embarrassing revelations of what the Embassy perceived to be Spain's stance toward international affairs. The former envoy said out of his loyalty to his country of adoption he did not feel free to go into details on the cables.

"During my period as ambassador in Spain, I did everything possible to make myself available to the media, attempting to respond seriously and in depth to questions and requests," Aguirre said. "I am, therefore, unhappy not to be able to take part in a debate in which my name is mentioned with so much frequency."

Aguirre said although the cables were "signed" by the ambassador, they do not necessarily reflect the opinion of any single diplomat, but rather the collective embassy view. He said he left Spain after his four years as head of the mission with enduring affection for a country he had come to "love and appreciate."