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Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives - vol 197512 (Page 3)

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Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives - vol 197512
1,200 attend Del Vayo memorial
A meeting in memory of Julio
Alvarez del Vayo, prime minister of
Spain during the Civil War
1936~39, was celebrated at the
Community Church in New York
City on the evening of November
19th, 1975.
Alvarez del Vayo died, an exile in
Geneva, at the age of 84 on May 2
of this year.
The occasion also served as a
protest against the United States'
foreign policy in support of the
fascist regime now headed by Juan
Carlos who had been appointed
monarch of Spain by his predecessor
Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
An audience of 1,200 heard a
impressive and moving account of
del Vayo's life, socialist ideals and
devotion to his homeland by his son
Diego del Vayo.
Other speakers were Steve Nelson
for the VALB, Erich Schmidt of the
United States Committee for
Spanish Democracy, Barbara W.
Tuchman, historian; Ring Lardner
Jr., author; and a young Spaniard,
Alexandro Gomez, recently released
from the Carabanchel prison.
Arthur. Miller, unable to attend
because of illness, addressed the
audience by tape.
Ossie Davis was chairman. His
pungent and accurately directed
comments added to the enthusiastic
spirit of the meeting.
Messages in tribute to Alvarez del
Vayo and expressing hopes for a
democratic Spain were received
from President Echevarria of
Mexico and I. F. Stone. A poem to
the spirit of del Vayo, who was
known as the "eternal optimist," was
sent by author Kaye Boyle.
John T. Bernard, ex-congressman
from Minnesota, the only voice in
Congress raised against United
States' arms embargo to Republican
Spain at the outset of the Civil War,
wrote an especially moving tribute.
Senators Adlai Stevenson III,
Illinois; Dick Clark, Iowa; and
James Aboueszk, South Dakota, sent
greetings to the meeting, as did
Congresswoman Bella Abzug.
Although diversity of opinion was
apparent among the speakers, there
was unanimity on two aspects of the
Spanish question; that the Juan
Carlos regime was created to
continue the ultra right policies of
Franco and was incapable of
democratic evolution, and that the
United States must not interfere on
the side of fascism against the
democratic desires of the Spanish
By strange coincidence, the death
of Generalissimo Francisco Franco
occurred on the same night as the
Memorial to del Vayo.
In March, 1941, the first of two articles I wrote analyzing the repression in
Spain was printed in The VOLUNTEER.
It is mind-boggling that now, 34 years later, I am writing about that same
horror. For more than three decades the Spanish people have suffered fascist
oppression, the severity of which has varied from time to time. Now, as the
Franco regime is tottering, shaken by the militant actions of a new
generation, there has been a rapid escalation in ruthless, legalized terror.
Spain understands that this newest wave of repression is the reaction of a
regime which fears that its rule may soon come to an end. It began while
Franco was ill but lucid and continues (after his death) with Juan Carlos as
the nominal head of state.
In July, 1975 Amnesty International sent a mission to Spain which
reported on the tortures of hundreds of political prisoners. The mission
concentrated its study on the consequences of the "state of exception~'
clamped on the Basque region in April and extended to all of Spain later.
Their report (published in September) notes that torture has been and is,
prevalent all over Spain since Franco's victory in 1939.
Beatings, whippings and sexual assaults are ancient and standard. New are
the uses of refined psychological techniques, electric gadgets, cigarette
burns, razor blade cuts in the tongue, drugs, butane-gas blowlamps and
other ingenious devices that are the by-products of modern technology and
fascist viciousness.

Amnesty provides evidence that women have been systematically
humiliated, stripped naked, their pubic hair shaved, their breasts burned.
Male and female victims have been subjected to mock executions, beatings
with electric cables and mutilation of sexual organs, among other practices.

In October, according to recent reports, the police threw a young woman
and a young engineers, who had been severely tortured, out of the window
of the Bilbao police headquarters. Both died. The police apparently have
been given carte. blanche to commit any excess they want.

Vigilante groups are emerging from the cracks and crevices of the moribund
regime, notably the Guerrilleros del Cristo Rey which "operate secretly, in
league with the police, and they are violent." Miguel Esquerra (a colonel in
Hitler's Waffen SS) is the head of a group called the "Parallel Police." Its
members are busy physically attacking members of the oppos-
Continued on page 10

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