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"If Spain had the capability of the NSA, they'd do it too."

Protesters march through downtown Washington D.C. during the Stop Watching Us Rally protesting surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency, on October 26, 2013, in front of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The rally began at Union Station and included a march that ended in front of the U.S. Capitol building and speakers such as author Naomi Wolf and former senior National Security Agency senior executive Thomas Drake.

The Spanish government has traditionally been supportive of the United States when it comes to foreign affairs. But recent allegations that the NSA monitored 60 million phone calls made by Spanish citizens may change that, says the BBC’s correspondent in Madrid, Tom Burridge.

Burridge says it’s possible that Spain’s strong language against the alleged spying could reflect pressure from its EU partners. Spain has had to rely heavily on Germany through the eurozone crisis.

As for regular Spaniards -- it’s no surprise they’re not happy to find out their calls may have been monitored by the United States but "a lot of people we spoke to on the street weren’t surprised," says Burridge.

And a little outrage at the American government doesn’t seem to have deterred them from spending money with American companies -- Burridge says Starbucks and McDonald's in the area are still crowded as usual.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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