The closest I have been to Spain is when I represented Kidder Peabody who as the shareholder of Benito y Monjardin, a Madrid-based Spanish broker created by two Spanish grandees, Enrique de Benito and Juan Monjardin. It was challenging to develop that partnership and I was asked to create a trust relationship that could allow better cooperation between the European brokerage organizations.
I have a true respect for the Spanish people and they demonstrated their ability to rescue themselves in the banking crisis origination in the Cajas de Ahorros managed by local politicians. However, the key to understanding Spain is to include Latin America: the most important Spanish groups are important players in Latin America. It is true of banking, telecommunications (Telefonica), energy (Repsol) and banking (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya and Banco Santander). Their pride fuels their entrepreneurship.
It is often forgotten that Spain has owned half of Europe in the XVIth century and is a country of cultural talents and depth. It is also the country that introduced to Europe the remarkable achievements of the Moresque civilization, including philosophers like Avicennes and Averoes who allowed Christianity to distance itself from Platonisms to Aristoteles who would influence one of the greatest theologians of all times: St Thomas of Aquinas.