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Franco's Black Spain
Drawings by Luis Quintanilla; commentary by Richard Watts, Jr.

Franco's Black Spain pages 11-16


The Civil Guard. There are no more characteristic defenders of the ideals of Black Spain than these grim, cold, ruthless ex-soldiers, with their black cloaks, their patent-leather hats, and their chill cruelty. Once a well disciplined rural police, created to suppress banditry, they have become the most hated of all the official upholders of Franco's New Order. The worst thing about them in the eyes of Spanish patriots is that they are men of the people who have been trained to strike down their comrades, and do so with a kind of impersonal relish. These are characteristic types, realistically studied.


One of the jobs of the Civil Guard was to transfer from jail to jail some of the thousands of political prisoners that Franco's Holy War made of the once free men and women of the Spanish Republic. Quintanilla suggests that their frugal meal does nothing to soften the bored ferocity of the Guardsmen as they go about their appointed task.


The Civil Guard appeared to find particular relish in setting upon one of their victims when some of his family happened to be present.


The punishment called "the swing" was the Civil Guard's idea of a genuine lark.


The treatment known as "the purge" was a lot of fun, too. The gentlemen of the Civil Guard are stolid fellows, rarely given to the luxury of relaxing their grim features, and the evidence is that only the sadistic pleasure of some casual torture inflicted on their Republican fellow countrymen permitted them the weakness of an occasional almost human smile.


Then there was the sport to be had with women about to become mothers.