Tuesday, December 03, 2013

THE OTHERWISE INTERESTING piece on the WSJ about how Franco's legacy “rattles Spain” contains a glaring error:

In 1977, Spain's parliament passed an amnesty law that protected officials of the dictatorship and those involved in Civil War-era crimes, including supporters of anti-Franco forces, from prosecution.

And it's not the first time they make that error. Allow me to self-quote what I wrote back when the “crusading judge Garzón” was in legal hot water:

Fourth, the 1977 amnesty approved by the Spanish parliament at the beginning of the democratic transition after Franco's death did not clear "atrocities linked to Gen. Francisco Franco's four-decade-long dictatorship," as the Wall Street Journal states (it's not the only one doing so). The amnesty had been a rallying cry even before the transition, but not by the right seeking to absolve themselves for their crimes but by the left, in order to being able to start from scratch and being able to participate openly in the political process. It was also a demand from Basque and Catalan nationalists who at the time often took the streets with slogans like "Libertad, amnistía, estatuto de autonomía" (Freedom, Amnesty, and Statute of Autonomy). The 1977 amnesty was not aimed at the 'heirs of Franco' because those guys at the time still enjoyed strong links to the military. The army's tanks and guns were enough protection against any temptation to go after them (the situation completely changed after the 1981 coup attempt: the modernization and cleanup of reactionary elements in the army was thorough and masterly done, with impeccable democratic methods by the Socialist government of Felipe Gonzalez; but we're talking about an earlier time now). The amnesty benefited not just leftist parties and politicians, which were illegal until then, but also political prisoners and most notably, also those convicted for terrorism and other crimes. It was passed by a big majority of leftist, centrist and right-of-center parties. The only ones against it were a handful of right-wing lawmakers who opposed it precisely because the amnesty set free all Basque ETA terrorists with blood crimes, including those who had killed scores law enforcement officers, servicemen, civilians, even those who killed Admiral Carrero Blanco, whom Franco had appointed as his successor, in 1973. To summarize: the 1977 amnesty was a law to benefit the left which was still outside the institutions, not the right who had inherited them from Franco.

If you don't believe me, look at these pictures.