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SPAIN: The assassination of Ernest Lluch

The assassination of Ernest Lluch, the kindest of men, angered and saddened not only Spaniards but a host of people worldwide who are interested in Spain. From Barcelona, José Manuel de Prada writes:

"I did not know Ernest Lluch personally, but we frequented the same bookstores, and I saw him there very often. He always looked to me like a genial and very intelligent man, with whom it was possible to have all sorts of fascinating conversations. So yesterday, when I learned that he had been murdered, I felt as if someone close to me had been the victim, and had to go out and take a long walk before I could resume my work. As I have said in another occasion, since these "nasty young men" have moved to Barcelona, the city it much less enjoyable. It is not a question of fear. The real problem is that it is quite difficult to enjoy the simplest thing (going to the cinema, to a bookshop, to the corner grocery) while you know that these bastards are somewhere near you plotting their next atrocity."

My comment: The present situation recalls by experiences in Spain in 1931-36. Like the present monarchy, the republic was hailed with great expectations. Then the killings began. Order broke down, making life dangerous. I remember driving to a friend´s house in Chinchón near Madrid for dinner. We were relieved to reach the village and return to Madrid safely. People became weary of the lack of safety and longed for order. The killings culminated in that of a well-known deputy José Calvo Sotelo on July 13. 1936. Civil war then seemed inevitable, and more people welcomed the military intervention than we like to think.

Little mentioned in the news was that, while official Spain was celebrating the 25th anniversary of the reign of King Juan Carlos, there were violent riots of Franco supporters which the police had to suppress with force. The present danger is that people may tire of ETA terrorism and that they will support military action against them, a military coup not being out of the question. It is a danger which faces several Spanish American countries, notably Mexico, Colombia and Chile, where the public is weary of the inability of a democratic government to guarantee the peace. This vague fear lurks in the back of the minds of the people of those countries. We hope those fears are unjustified.

Ronald Hilton - 11/23/00