Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Fun with Franco!

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?” (

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!

This post was published on Monday, July 25th, 2005 6:35 pm. It has been categorised under Franco History People Politics.
22 Mar 2006 7:21 pm

I was wondering if you knew any good sources to find information on the relationship of Dali and Franco. Thanks for your time and consideration.
Colt Conner

31 Jul 2006 10:59 pm

It sickens me to see the bastardo Dali sitting with Franco whose minions killed his friend of youth, the great poet Lorca. I’m also reminded how Luis Bunuel was snubbed by Dali when he turned to his friend for help. Ennobled, indeed.

1 Aug 2006 11:16 am

Lorca’s death as the result of Falangist in-fighting is thoroughly regrettable, but Franco had nothing to do with it.

1 Aug 2006 1:56 pm

There is still some dispute concerning Franco’s “involvement.” It remains a fact, however, that Franco’s government banned Lorca’s work.

1 Aug 2006 4:56 pm

Well there is not a shred of historical evidence to suggest Franco was actually involved in Lorca’s death in any way.

The ban on Lorca was lifted in 1953, I think.

1 Aug 2006 11:26 pm

You are right: there is no evidence, only conjecture.

And yes, it was in 1953, after Franco’s regime ended, that the official ban on Lorca’s work was lifted.

Only after Franco’s death could Lorca be openly discussed in Spain. Why?

2 Aug 2006 12:56 pm

Your knowledge of history is appalling! The Franco regime ended in 1975 when the Generalissimo died. Franco was still the Caudillo of Spain in 1953, the year Lorca’s work was unbanned.

2 Aug 2006 2:28 pm

You are correct.

It was a mistake for me to have written “after Franco’s regime ended” which only happened, of course, upon his death in 1975.

Though the offical ban on publication of Lorca’s work was lifted in 1953, it is my understanding that he was still held in disrepute until Franco’s death. Correct me, of course, if I’m wrong.

21 Nov 2007 5:12 am

Lorca was killed thanks to the criminal poet Alberti whom read in the republican radio a poem attacking the popular front in Lorca’s name.
Lorca’s sister did ask Alberti’s wife please no to read anything in the radio with her brothers name, but it was way to late.
Of course the national army pulled the trigger but that was a war no a proyection of bambi.

19 Apr 2008 11:56 am

JP, this makes no sense to me. The popular front was the left party, and Lorca was killed by the fascists. Maybe that he was gay and left-winged helped.

6 Sep 2008 5:15 am

The moral of this story (Lorca’s death) is that whichever your political aspect you should respect artists. Killing literature and poetry is a crime against everyone and not just your political opponents.

viva españa
28 Nov 2008 6:14 pm

Federico García Lorca

García Lorca´s assasination was a total monstruosity (as any assasination ) and has no posible justification. But, from the Start it was shown as a Falangist State Crime, which was not true. Firstly, becouse when it happened, there was no State yet, not even goverment in the “nacional zone”.
Histórically it´s not even worth discusión that such crime could be the work of a handful of uncontrollable men, tolerated by the incompetence of a Civil Governor in Granada, in circumstances ot total isolation form the Franquist command.
There have been too many never ending statements, (for example) to leave Santiago Carrillo out of the massacre of Paracuellos del Jarama, where 10.000 Spaniards were executed under his strict orders. Carrillo was the top authority in the matter of Public Order at the time, in the seized Madrid, which depended on a Defense Commitee, on immidiate contact with the government, which had been transported to Valencia. Neither was a single execution. And , however those who put the blame of it on a handful of uncontrollable men, put the blame of the crime of Víznar on Franco´s regime. (which, did not exist yet, back then.)
But there is something else in this luctuous fact. But there is still something worse: the capitalization by the Marxism of the figure of García Lorca. When those who met him and enjoyed his friendship and frecuent relation, knew very well that Federico wasnt involved in politics; he even said more than once that, he was irritated by being used with publicitaria ideas. (therefor, when the Republican Left decided to pay him tribute); which, feeling totaly identified with the people who, in Andalucía, used to suffer all kinds of abandonment, he never showed to be taking part on any polítical party in the least. He belonged to the midle class and his habits were burgeois burgueses (in the best sense of the word). And his independence ideological is shown in his relation with José Antonio Primo de Rivera, to whom he made a donation for The Falange´s Party. (This is a Liliana Ferlosio, viuda de Rafael Sánchez Mazas, personal testimony.)
This relation of the great poet from Granada, with the founder of Falange, is been already told by several people, among them: Felipe Ximénez de Sandoval, in his Biografía apasionada, and Gabriel Celaya (Poesía y verdad-Papeles para un proceso, Editorial Planeta, Barcelona, 1979), and also Ian Gibson in his book: En busca de José Antonio (Editorial Planeta, Barcelona, 1980, pp. 215-221).
None of this has been told, as hasn´t been made the serious, deep, study, that the poetical work of Lorca deserves. Those who pretend to be his grief-stricken friends, and tireless, devout followers, have never done anything but utilize him as a mere propagande icon, instead doing their best to presento the younger generationsa deep analisys ofrecer of the admirable work of Federico, poet, creator of a singular beautiful lyric populism. Millions of pages have been griten about him, in all languages; but still has to be done the recounting of his exhaustive gloss of his literary merits. Interestingly, the only humanistic chair «García Lorca» in the world, was created by the Universidad de San Marcos, de Lima, and by Julio Rodríguez, when he was the Franquist Secretary of Education. Which goes to show you the way Lorca´s figure has been used by very specific, motives outside his value as a writter. (I relieve that, fortunatelly, is still alive the person who best could insist in this necessery work: Luis Rosales. Who by the other hand, is perhaps the only one who knows the real truth, the insides of Federico´s murder, although he has never, (mantaining by his own will, a respectful silence) wanted to reveal it. ¿Isn´t it time already to help in the open knowledge of this man´s reality and tragical death?)
Luis Rosales stated in the news paper Ideal de Granada, as told in an excerp by the Europa Press Agency on 25-X-79: “If he (Federico)would have been a militant of any polítical party, they would have had killed him with a reason.But, they killed him becouse of a difamation, a lie and there you have the documents. […] The Communist Party of Spain is been been taking a good share of this cake, called Federico García Lorca, during 40 years.»

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