Franco Spain’s trade in children

This music video is the anti-Franco song Los Cuatro Generales. The lyrics, translated in English, are:

1.The four insurgent generals,
The four insurgent generals,
The four insurgent generals,
Mamita mia,
They tried to betray us,
They tried to betray us.

2. Madrid, you wondrous city
Mamita mia,
They wanted to take you,
They wanted to take you.

3. But your courageous children
Mamita mia,
They did not disgrace you,
They did not disgrace you.

4. At Christmas, Holy evening
Mamita mia,
They’ll all be hanging,
They’ll all be hanging.

From British daily The Morning Star:

The vanished children of ’60s Spain

Monday 26 July 2010

David Eade

Cristina Diaz Carrasco’s brother was said to have died shortly after his birth in 1967, but Cristina had her doubts. He was born at the hospital in La Linea (“The Line”) – a Spanish town that has grown up across the border from Gibraltar at the tip of southern Spain.

Over the years Spaniards have flocked to the town to seek work in the dock and shipyards and the other booming businesses of Gibraltar.

This meant that itinerant workers did not have their families to support them in the event of giving birth or a child’s death.

As Cristina’s mother was from Irun in northern Spain and had no family in the area, her son’s body was buried by the hospital.

The family returned each summer and left flowers on what was presumed to be his grave.

However, after works at the cemetery in 1980, the grave could not be found and it was subsequently discovered that there were no records at the cemetery, the civil registry or the archives of his birth, death or interment.

Last November Cristina told her story to the media and since then at least five other families have come forward with a similar tale in La Linea.

One of the latest involves a woman named Carmen from the Canary Islands. She came to La Linea in 1968 with her husband to work.

She arrived pregnant and, fearing all was not well, sought medical aid. On November 14 1968 she gave birth at the private Inmaculada Clinic to a son, who she was told soon died.

Neither Carmen nor her husband had any family in La Linea and the hospital told them not to worry – it would take care of everything.

It was when her daughter saw Cristina on the Antena 3 TV programme Espejo Publico and they discussed it that she found their situations had been very similar – and just a year apart.

She had never visited La Linea cemetery to visit the grave of her son, but now she decided to make the trip.

Again no grave could be found nor did the cemetery have any records of such a baby having been buried there in November of 1968.

She also visited the Archivo Historico Municipal in La Linea, which holds the records from that time. There is no record of his birth, death or burial.

One could argue that these were cases of poor record-keeping. But a more sinister explanation is more likely.

Judge Baltasar Garzon has gleaned facts and figures from various studies and has established that in wider Spain during the Franco era children were indeed taken from their parents without their knowledge and passed on to adoptive families. It seems that the story is the same in La Linea.

Garzon has estimated that during the post-war period of the Franco dictatorship, a staggering 30,000 babies were “reallocated” in this way.

It has also been reported that 200,000 pesetas was the price of acquiring such a baby in the 1960s.

Writer Benjamin Prado says in his book, Mala Gente Que Camina, that in Spain people think “such things only happened in Argentina or Chile which had much shorter dictatorships. The courts do not want to investigate in case the same thing happened here.”

In Madrid in the 1960s one of the standard jokes among children was to say to their parents: “Did you buy me in the Rastro?”

However, Prado points out that many did just that – bought them at the market – and hence many Spaniards do not know their true parentage or indeed who they are.

Now there are many web pages and social networks on this theme. The problem is that the Andalucia health system that runs the present hospital La Linea didn’t exist then and the birth and death records are in archives with those involved in recording them long since retired or deceased.

However, the thirst for the truth among those in their forties is strong and they will not be silenced until the truth is uncovered.

The prosecutor in Algeciras – the nearest major town to La Linea – has recently decided to open an investigation into these local disappearances.

Chief prosecutor Juan Cisneros has accepted the official reports by six families that involve births at the then municipal hospital in La Linea as well as two private clinics in the town.

Cisneros says these cases have to be investigated to find answers for the families involved and determine just what happened in the last century.

All the affected families have now joined an association called Anadir formed by Antonio Barroso.

He was adopted and suspects he was stolen from his true parents.

The lawyer Enrique Vila is taking all these cases to the High Court both in Cadiz and in Spain where there are dozens more. However it has to be recognised that because of the time that has passed any investigation will be difficult to pursue, a fact that was recently stressed by the head prosecutor in the Cadiz court.

Find General Francisco Franco’s stolen children of the Spanish Civil War, says court: here.

Thousands Of Children Stolen During Franco Rule: here.

The lost children of Franco-era Spain: here.

Families Search for Truth of Spain’s ‘Lost Children’: here.

Inquiry into Spain’s missing children: here.

A Spanish association of people searching for lost children or parents has filed a petition demanding that the attorney general probe allegations that newborns were being stolen from their mothers and sold to other families for decades – including as recently as the mid-1990s.

Spain’s Costa Blanca provided a safe haven for many Nazis, allowing them to enjoy a retirement without regret or atonement: here.

For the past two years the right wing opposition Popular Party (PP) in Spain has been embroiled in the “Gürtel” corruption scandal, which has implicated many of the party’s top officials and leading businessmen: here.

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