Monday, 8 February 2010

Spain: Fascism's last refuge in Europe

Toni Strubell, the Coordinator of the Dignity Commission, has sent the following letter to the international media condemning Spain's refusal to eradicate the remains still present in many villages and towns of the dictatorship of General Franco, Europe's last fascist government and ally of Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy. He also decries Spain's obstacles to inquests into crimes committed during the dictatorship and it's opposition to any kind of official inquiry or truth commission.

Dear Sir,

I would very much like to call your attention to worrying events coming from today's Spain. Last February 4th, Spanish newspapers reported that a National Audience judge, Baltasar Garzón, is to be put on trial and possibly suspended. What was his crime? Having dared to try and open up an investigation into the mass graves and other crimes perpetrated by the Franco regime (in Valencia alone, mass graves holding over 26,300 post-war Franco victims have recently been discovered). That very day the newspapers also informed that the huge fascist monument honouring the cruiser Baleares in Palma bay (the pride of Franco's fleet sunk by the Republicans after having shelled thousands of fleeing refugees on the coastal roads of Andalusia) is not to be demolished. It is to be conserved. What must Spanish democrats and relatives of the victims make of this? Can anyone imagine the same occurring with a monument dedicated to a Fascist-manned warship in any other part of the democratic world? Furthermore, on February 5th newspapers informed that the Basque Parliament, where Spanish Constitutional parties at present hold a majority (due to the illegalization of the Basque left party) voted against instating a Truth Commission (such as the one established by Nelson Mandela in South Africa in the early nineties) to discover the truth about the crimes of Franco. What in heaven's name is happening in Spain? I think it is high time democrats all over the world be informed about the huge democratic deficit that exists today in Spain. Europe largely ridded itself of Fascism in 1945. The one place it lives on is in Spain, where 56 streets in Madrid still bear the names of Franco generals. The sooner the whole world knows the truth about Spain, the sooner we can start to put an end to so much iniquity and disgrace.

Toni Strubell i Trueta
Coordinator of the Dignity Commission

The former head of State, General Franco (left), with his successor to be, the then Prince Juan Carlos of Spain, at his side at a Fascist rally in Madrid in September 1975