Considered Spain’s most celebrated poet. He was executed at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War for his sexuality, socialist views and support for the elected Popular Front government.


Franco’s remains to be exhumed from the massive Valley of the Fallen mausoleum some 50 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of Madrid and the site turned into a “memorial of the victims of fascism”.

For years this photo of Francisco Franco lying in state was displayed on the door of my fridge. It was a wonderful daily reminder that he was finally dead.

Now this ….

Spain’s new government to remove Franco’s remains from mausoleum

Spain’s new Socialist government is determined to remove the remains of Francisco Franco from a vast mausoleum near Madrid and turn it into a place of “reconciliation” for a country still coming to terms with the dictator’s legacy.

“We don’t have a date yet, but the government will do it,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said late Monday during his first television interview since being sworn in on June 2 after toppling his conservative predecessor Mariano Rajoy in a confidence vote.

He recalled that a non-binding motion approved last year in parliament called for Franco’s remains to be exhumed from the massive Valley of the Fallen mausoleum some 50 kilometres (30 miles) northwest of Madrid and the site turned into a “memorial of the victims of fascism”.

Spain can’t allow symbols that divide Spaniards. Something that is unimaginable in Germany or Italy, countries that also suffered fascist dictatorships, should also not be imaginable in our country,” Sanchez added.

Earlier on Monday Socialist party spokesman Oscar Puente said the mausoleum should be transformed into a “place of reconciliation, of memory, for all Spaniards, and not of apology for the dictatorship.”

Franco ruled Spain with an iron fist from the end of the country’s 1936-39 civil war until his death in 1975, when he was buried inside a basilica drilled into the side of a mountain at the Valley of the Fallen, one of Europe’s largest mass graves.

Built by Franco’s regime between 1941 and 1959 — in part by the forced labour of political prisoners — in the granite mountains of the Sierra de Guadarrama, the monument holds the remains of more than 30,000 dead from both sides of the civil war, which was triggered by Franco’s rebellion against an elected Republican government.

Franco, whose Nationalist forces defeated the Republicans in the war, dedicated the site to “all the fallen” of the conflict in an attempt at reconciliation, but only two graves are marked — those of Franco and Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the far-right Falangist party which supported Franco.

‘Uncomfortable past’

The mausoleum features a 150-metre-tall (500-feet) stone cross and other symbols of Franco’s National-Catholic ideology, and is seen by many as a relic of the dictatorship. Fresh flowers can still be found on top of Franco’s and Rivera’s tombs.

Many on the left are repulsed by its existence, comparing it to a monument glorifying Hitler.

Others, often on the right, insist the Valley of the Fallen is an innocuous piece of history whose critics have twisted its true meaning.

The Socialists included the removal of Franco and Rivera’s remains in a proposed law they presented in December 2017 when they were in opposition.

The proposed law also called for the creation of a truth commission and for politically motivated court rulings taken during Franco’s dictatorship to be annulled.

Sanchez unveiled it at a highly symbolic spot near the eastern port of Valencia where more than 2,000 Republican supporters are believed to have been shot dead by Franco’s forces.

“If we ignored an uncomfortable past, we can’t build a comfortable future,” he said at the time.

‘Genocidal dictator’

Rajoy’s Popular Party, a successor to the Popular Alliance founded in 1976 by former Franco ministers, accuses the Socialists of needlessly raking over the past. It opposed attempts to exhume Franco’s remains when it was in power.

“The Socialist party has accustomed us to leading these cultural battles” which “do nothing to help coexistence,” said Andrea Levy, a top Popular Part official.

Centrist party Ciudadanos said it was open to moving Franco’s remains, while anti-establishment party Podemos, which supported the no-confidence motion that brought the Socialists to power, hailed the initiative.

Top Podemos official Pablo Echenique said it was wrong for the remains of a “genocidal dictator” to rest “in a giant mausoleum while there are tens of thousands of dead in mass graves”.

He was referring to the estimated 114,000 bodies of the victims of Franco’s forces during the civil war and the first years of his rule that are still in unmarked graves across Spain.


Spanish Police Brutality 1st October 2017 Catalonia Full Compilation

Image by Mike Flugennock


Franco’s ghost rears its ugly head in time for Halloween

Images by Carlos Latuff





Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy invades Catalonia on the back of a tank

And finally, from Israel






For the past ten years the International BDS Movement has been the most vocal and respected Movement against the occupation of Palestine.

It has grown rapidly, especially in the Jewish sectors on US campuses. Its fight for Justice has caused alarm in zionist circles and has been the target of anti-Semitic charges by Israel itself, all of which are unjustifed and untrue.

Image by Carlos Latuff

Image by Carlos Latuff

Attempts by the Israeli government to blackmail the BDS leadership have failed and will continue to do so. Instead, victory after victory have been celebrated throughout the world as BDS wins battle after battle.

Last week the organisors of a Reggae Festival in Valencia cancelled an invitation to a Jewish American because of his refusal to publicly support the creation of a Palestinian State. The decision was made after the Valencia BDS Movement put pressure on the group. It was a decision that was applauded worldwide including on this Blog itself.

Only after the Spanish government itself protested this move was the decision reversed and Mattesyahu did perform at the Festival.

I must ask a few questions regarding this entire matter;

Why was Mattesyahu singled out from all of the scheduled performers to make the statement supporting Palestine?

Is it possible that there were/are some anti-Semitic elements in the Valencia BDS Movement??

If Mattesyahu was singled out because he was the only Jew on the roster,


If there are anti-Semitic elements in the Movement,


If the BDS Movement realises its mistake, they must admit it. We cannot afford to lose any of our growing support, not at the expense of ending the occupation!!!



In all fairness, I present a conflicting view from Omar Barghouti in THIS report from Mondoweiss


News such as the following was on the front pages of  every Israeli newspaper over the weekend … (Click on link to see report)

Spain passes law of return for Sephardic Jews

Applicants to be vetted by local Jewish community, face language and history tests before securing new passport

My response, as one of those descendants follows …

Descendents of Sephardic Jews expelled in 1492 can now apply for Spanish nationality

Descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled in 1492 can now apply for Spanish nationality

Open Letter to the Parliament of Spain

It was of much interest to see that your government has passed legislation granting citizenship to the descendants of the Jews expelled from your country in 1492.

Jews leaving Spain in 1492

Jews leaving Spain in 1492

Allow me to fill you in on the ‘journey’ of my own family after the expulsion; Rather than going to one of the Muslim countries in North Africa, as many others did, they chose to go to Turkey. Those that went to North Africa received a much warmer welcome, which resulted in my family eventually going on to a new situation in Holland.

They found there that in order to succeed economically they would have to assimilate with the Eastern European Jewish Community (Ashkenazim), a fate much less severe than the forced conversions to Catholicism for those who remained in Spain.

Again, after a number of years they once again moved on, this time splitting up, some going to Slovakia, the others to Hungary. Many of those in Hungary pursued their Jewish educations and became prominent members of the rabbinical community, included was Rabbi Shlomo Gantzfried, co-author of The Code of Jewish Law.

Those in Slovakia basically worked the fields to survive. My grandfather, Yisrael Mayer, whose name I bear, was a cobbler.

In both cases, in Hungary and Slovakia, the Jewish community was rounded up and sent to various labour camps. My family wound up in Auschwitz where they were brutally slaughtered by the nazi beast, with the blessings of your Francisco Franco and your Pope, Pius Xll.

My father was spared these horrors as he immigrated to the United States when he was still in his teens. Hence, I am here today to tell this saga.

I have one question of you before I continue, Why was this ‘offer’ not granted to the descendants Of the Muslim community who were also expelled by King Ferdinand?

In 1492, simultaneous to the discovery of the New World was the start of the Spanish Inquisition, a massive expulsion of Jews and Muslims.

In 1492, simultaneous to the discovery of the New World was the start of the Spanish Inquisition, a massive expulsion of Jews and Muslims.

Today, I reside in Israel, a country which in 1948 employed the same tactics against the Palestinian population when the zionist regime stole much of their lands. Close to a million people were forced to leave their homes and country. Over a million of their descendants still languish to this day in refugee camps.

Will they have to wait 500 years for an offer to return to their land as well?

Does this look familiar? See image posted earlier.

Does this look familiar? See image posted earlier.

Fortunately, that will not be the case. A growing number of Jews, both in Israel and in the Diaspora are involved in movements which daily expose the crimes committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinians. Their day to day work in these matters will usher in changes much sooner than your government did.

There are many Jews of conscious throughout the world

There are many Jews of conscious throughout the world

Now, as for your ‘offer’, I will try to be as diplomatic as possible. Simply stated,this gesture is much too little and comes much too late. Therefore, I personally do not accept it.

Yours Sincerely,

Steve Amsel (Yisrael Mayer)

PS …. despite all of the above, or perhaps because of it, ‘my thoughts remain free’ …..


Image Copyleft by Carlos Latuff (Global Intifada)

Please watch this wonderful music video by the Spanish band  Ska-P about the Occupation   FIRST, A LITTLE HISTORY, then the video:


(Spanish pronunciation: [esˈkape]) is a ska punk band formed in Vallecas (Madrid), Spain, in 1994. The band can be categorized, politically, as an anti-establishment musical group. It is one of the most popular ska bands in Spain, Europe, and Latin America Musically, despite their fun image, Ska-P has well-rehearsed and tight arrangements, and as of 2002, includes among its members a small but striking brass section which gives the band a powerful sound.

Band name

The band name is a pun on the Spanish word for ‘escape‘ and ska p(unk). The name further takes advantage of the letter k common to ska, and since the early 80s, also closely associated with the Madrid working-class district of Vallecas, as a symbol of working-class pride. Thus, Vallekas and many other occurrences of the k instead of the c or qu in Spanish words, reflecting also a feature of the Basque, which has neither the qu nor the c, replacing both with k.


Ska-P is very open and frank about their views. Common themes throughout Ska-P’s songs are human rights – including abolishment of the death penalty, social injustice, antizionism, anti-fascism, anti-capitalism and the support of legalization of cannabis, and animal rights (particularly the abolishment of bullfighting).



Image Copyleft by Carlos Latuff

Spanish stores boycott Israeli game

Toy stores in Spain remove popular Rummikub tile-based game from shelves following flotilla affair

Maya Mahler

BARCELONA – Rummikub, the Israeli game made popular worldwide, has become the recent victim of the trend to boycott Israeli goods throughout the world.

Following Israel Navy’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla, a chain of toy stores in Spain decided to remove the Israeli product from its shelves and replace it with a Chinese imitation, a report in the Spanish newspaper al-Pais revealed.

“We carried the game until now because it is very interesting from a pedagogical perspective,” said Quim Sicília, one of the senior managers of the Abacus chain, to the Spanish newspaper. “But as a cooperative, we see what is going on, and we must be sensitive to the social situations.”

The game, marketed in Israel by the company Kodkod, was invented by Ephraim Hertzano, and has earned many fans around the world. Just last year, the Rummikub World Championship was held in Spain.

According to Sicília, the decision to remove the Israeli game was made independently by the chain’s management, and not as a result of pressure from pro-Palestinian groups. However, following the article’s publication in al-Pais, Abacus issued a clarification saying that the statements reported in the newspaper were taken out of context and that there is no boycott of the product.

A senior Abacus official explained to the Yedioth Ahronoth daily that the Israeli product will continue to appear in the company’s catalogue, and is sold mainly to schools at 40 euros a unit. The Chinese imitation, he said, “entered the picture in order to provide a cheaper, more accessible option to families.”

Regarding the Chinese version of the game, called “Rummy”, that is carried in Abacus (which has 34 branches, mainly in Catalan), the Spanish newspaper quipped, “China is known as a country with a dictatorial government that issues the death penalty and limits freedom of expression.”



Antonio Prada Girón says a piece of family history — a stolen brother — is missing from photos and a government “family book.”

Families Search for Truth of Spain’s ‘Lost Children’

LOMBILLO DE LOS BARRIOS, Spain — The truth, if ever it emerges, will come too late for Emilia Girón.

For 65 years, Ms. Girón, a hard-bitten mother of seven, ached to know what had become of her son Jesús. Born in the early 1940s during the vengeful first years of Gen. Francisco Franco’s 36-year dictatorship he was taken from her to be baptized shortly after his birth. She never saw him again.

“To her last, my mother bore the anguish of not knowing what had happened to Jesús. She yearned to meet the child that they had stolen,” said Antonio Prada Girón, 69, the oldest child of Ms. Girón, who died in 2007 at the age of 95.

Sifting through family documents and photographs in the slate-roofed cottage where his mother once lived, Mr. Prada said his parents were persecuted in the years after Franco took power by the police, who were hunting for his uncle, a fugitive guerrilla. Mr. Prada’s parents, who farmed the vine-covered hills around this northwestern hamlet, were jailed when he was 2. His mother gave birth to Jesús soon afterward.

The story is part of a dark and long overlooked chapter of the repressive decades under Franco that has drawn fresh attention since November, when Judge Baltasar Garzón ordered provincial judges to investigate the “disappearance” of children taken from left-wing families as part of an effort to purge Franco’s Spain of Marxist influence.

Historians and associations that represent Franco’s victims say hundreds of children were taken from families who had supported Franco’s Republican opponents during the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939 or who were suspected of ties to left-wing groups. The children were adopted or sent to religious schools and state-run homes.

Some were baptized with new names, their birth records hidden or destroyed, they say. Others, sent into exile during the war by the Republicans and brought back by Franco, were given new identities.

“In a sense, this is the most symbolic crime of the Franco era,” said Emilio Silva, head of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, an organization that has excavated the remains of hundreds of people from Franco-era graves. “To steal a child and take away his identity — that’s what Franco did to the country as a whole.”

In his 152-page court order, Judge Garzón wrote, “There was a ‘legalized’ disappearance of minors, who lost their identity, and whose number remains uncertain.” He suggested that there could be thousands of “lost children,” but historians say that figure is inflated.

“There were definitely kidnappings of children in prisons, abuses. But we really don’t know how many,” said Angela Cenarro Lagunas, a professor of modern history at the University of Zaragoza.

Ricard Vinyes, a professor of modern history at the University of Barcelona and the author of a book on female prisoners of the era, said documents and oral testimonies indicated that hundreds of children lost their identities when they were separated from their imprisoned mothers.

The case has some echoes of Argentina’s dirty war in the 1970s and 1980s, in which children of murdered dissidents were secretly stolen and, often, adopted by military families. Mr. Vinyes said Franco was open about his project to re-educate the children of his enemies.

Franco’s top military psychologist, Antonio Vallejo Nágera, claimed that Spain could be saved from Marxism by isolating children from Republican parents. A 1940 decree allowed the state to take children into custody if their “moral formation” was at risk.

“Their logic was that the solution lay in separating children from their mothers,” Mr. Vinyes said.

Catholic schools and the welfare system known as Social Aid became a machine for political reorientation. Social Aid children led a life of fascist doctrine, harsh discipline and Catholic ritual, Ms. Cenarro said.

According to Mr. Vinyes, nearly 31,000 children were registered as being in state custody at some point between 1945 and 1954, a majority of them from Republican families. For many, it was because their parents were imprisoned or executed; for some, it was because their families — partly as a result of Franco’s disastrous policy of autarky — could not support them.

Uxenu Ablaña, 79, said he was tormented because of his leftist background in the Catholic and welfare homes where he lived from 6 to 18. Mr. Ablaña, a retired machinery salesman who grew up in Spain’s north, in the Asturian village of Pravia, went into state custody after the police killed his mother and jailed his father for collaborating with the Republicans. He said that in the homes he was named Eugenio Álvarez, the Spanish version of his Asturian name.

“They called me ‘child of a red,’ communist, devil,” Mr. Ablaña said by telephone. He recalled being made to spit-polish 80 pairs of shoes in a broom cupboard. “It is as if my life ended the day I went to Social Aid.”

Now that Judge Garzón has ordered the investigation into “lost children,” associations representing Franco’s victims say they believe that they may locate some of them. The judge instructed provincial courts in January to collect DNA samples from several aged or sick Spaniards searching for family members.

Fernando Magán, a lawyer for the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, said judges could open adoption registers and lists of children in Social Aid homes and religious schools.

Mr. Prada, who settled in France in 1958 but returns each winter to Lombillo, said finding his brother would help close wounds.

“It has left a hole in my life, knowing that I have a brother, not knowing where he is, whether he was brought up by good people,” he said, fingering the yellowed family book, the official booklet in which the Girón family members are listed. Jesús is not registered there.

When Mr. Prada was about 10, he and his grandmother made the 180-mile trip to Salamanca, where his mother had been imprisoned, to look for Jesús. They found nothing, and guards at the orphanage threatened to send his grandmother to jail if she persisted in her search.

“To think, I might have walked by him once in the street without knowing,” he said, his eyes reddening. Even with the new investigation, he said, the chances of finding Jesús are minute. “It’s like looking for a needle in a haystack.”