In honor of Spain’s patronal feast, that of St. James the Greater, and because I’ve been reading Stanley Payne’s The Franco Regime 1936-1975 I’ve decided to bring you, our dear readers, a bit of modern Spanish history:
• “In an interview with an American history professor,” writes Payne, “[Franco] declared that his role had been analogous to that of the sheriff in the typical American western, a cinematic genre that he enjoyed. Franco went on to observe with considerable mirth that the Spanish, rather than being rebellious and difficult as they were often portrayed, were generally patient and long-suffering. ‘The proof of that,’ he said breaking into a sudden loud cackel, ‘is that they have put up with [soportado] my regime for so long!'” (p.398, S. Payne, The Franco Regime 1936-1975).
• Remarkably, General Franco persisted in surviving much longer than even his supporters anticipated. On his deathbed at last, Franco was told that General Garcia wished to say goodbye. “Why?” Franco replied. “Is Garcia going on a trip?” (Anecdotage.com)
Hey look! Franco has a friend over to play! The Generalissimo is seen here with artist Salvador Dali, who was later ennobled as the Marquis de Pubol.
• A foreign journalist went to Spain to find out the truth about the Franco regime. One fellow agreed to tell him, but insisted they meet secretly. The journalist then asked him “What do you think about Franco?” Looking cautiously around, the fellow replied “To tell the truth… I like him!”
• Much was made last year about the statue of Saint James portrayed as the Slayer of the Moors (‘Matamoros’) at his cathedral in Compostela:
On Sunday, in a ceremony that will resound with ancient symbolism, King Juan Carlos will pay homage to the Moor Slayer on his saint day by making the annual National Offering at Santiago. The dictator Gen Francisco Franco once sent his only Moroccan general, Mohamed ben Miziam del Qasim, to make the offering. Sensitive officials covered the base of the statue with cloth to hide the decapitated heads of his compatriots.
(The Daily Telegraph, 22 July 2004)
Happy Saint James Day everyone! ¡Viva España!