Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Medal of Honor for Having Witnessed the Execution of a Catalan National

The document awarding
the Medal of Honor
The Spanish city of Melilla will award Ramon Antón Mota the Medal of Honor of the Local Police, of which he is the former head. Among the merits for this award, the City Council names that he witnessed “the last execution in Spain, that of Puig Antich, which he attended as a representative of the Government.”

Salvador Puig Antich (Barcelona, May 30, 1948 – March 2, 1974), was a Catalan revolutionary active during the 1960s. He was executed by the Francoist regime after being tried by a military tribunal and found guilty of the death of a Guardia Civil policeman. His execution by garrote became very unpopular at the time. The Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies made a series of lithographs called Assassins and displayed them in the Galerie Maeght in Paris, in honour of Puig Antich's memory. Several books and a film explain his life.

According to current Spanish law, Franco's 40 year long dictatorship was legal, and so were all the crimes commited under the regime. This trial, for example, cannot be reviewed, nor can the sentence be annulled. Such is also the case of the trial against democratically elected Catalan President Lluís Companys, who was captured in France by the Nazis and handed over to Franco only to be humiliated, tortured, and finally executed. Spain has never apologized to the Catalan people or to Company’s family. But these are only two examples. Thousands were murdered, tortured, and sent into exile under the fascist regime without a fair trial.

Manuel Fraga, the founder and honorific president of the Partido Popular (one of the two largest Spanish political parties, which, according to the most recent polls, is posed to win the upcoming Spanish elections) was a minister under Franco's regime from 1962 to 1969. In 1968 he said:

“Catalonia was occupied by Philip IV, occupied again by Philip V, who defeated it. It was bombed by commander Espartero [...], we occupied it in 1939 and we are willing to occupy it as many times as necessary, and for that I'd be willing to take up arms again. So, you know what you can expect: I have this gun right here to use it again.”

He also said that “Barcelona is a beautiful city, it is a shame it’s located in Catalonia.”

Moreover, Franco’s only political party, Falange Española, is still legal and active in Spain, and Franco is still the honorific mayor of many Spanish cities.

While in Germany the victims of the Nazis are treated with respect, Spain legally protects and awards Franco’s ministers and supporters.


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