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SPAIN: The continuing tragedy

It was a joyless joyful occasion. At the tenth Ibero-American Congress in Panama, the Latin American heads of state congratulated King Juan Carlos on the 25th anniversary of his proclamation at King on November 22, 1975, following the death of Franco. He has studied law at the University of Madrid, and doubtless from the students there he became acutely aware of the feelings and political views of that generation. In 1981 he bravely faced down an attempted coup by senior army officers, and won general respect for his strict adhesion to his constitutional role. At Panama, even Fidel Castro praised him as an old friend, only later to shock the congress by using the King's life tenure to justify his own. this was just a storm in tea cup.

Back in Madrid, preparations went ahead for grand ceremony in congress on November 22 at which the King would address both houses. Then ETA struck in a despicable way, assassinating in his Barcelona home a popular law professor, Ernest Lluch. Imprisoned by Franco, he has been Minister of Health in the first Socialist government. A very congenial man, he had devoted his life to settling the Basque problem to the satisfaction of all parties. ETA, which more than once had tried to kill the King, chose to assassinate Lluch just in time to wreck the parliament ceremony. It succeeded, leaving all close to tears, but the ceremony went ahead with sad speeches by the stunned celebrants.The non-violent Basque nationalists joined the general mourning. Like terrorists everywhere, ETA members seem to prove the theory of Cesare Lombroso, the founder of criminology, that some people have an inherent tendency to criminal behavior. At least, ETA shows a total lack of human feelings. The question is: who is behind these nasty young men and provides them with funds?

Ronald Hilton - 11/22/00