Catalan crisis: Birth of modern Spain left many feeling betrayed

Idea of a Basque and Catalan right to self-determination was never countenanced

 General  Franco. It is an uncomfortable truth, all the more dangerous for being denied so often, that Franco’s authoritarian spirit still has a real presence in today’s Spain. Photograph: Getty Images

General Franco. It is an uncomfortable truth, all the more dangerous for being denied so often, that Franco’s authoritarian spirit still has a real presence in today’s Spain. Photograph: Getty Images

The spectre of the Franco dictatorship has quietly haunted Spain since his death 42 years ago next month. His legacy loomed over the Spanish-Catalan crisis long before many claimed to see the old general’s ghost in Barcelona two weeks ago, inspiring the Spanish police to assault Catalan voters at polling booths.

Undoubtedly some recent accusations from Catalan nationalists (and the Spanish left) about the return of Francoism have been outrageously exaggerated. Franco’s police were, routinely, infinitely more savage than their counterparts in Catalonia on October 1st.

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