Impunity: A Seal of Francoism and the Transition

The so-called “Argentine Lawsuit” has reached a new investigative instance, in this case, about the former Spanish transition minister Rodolfo Martín Villa.

Franco´s regime committed atrocious crimes that have not yet been punished under “democracy.” Spanish justice never accepted claims by relatives, friends and comarades of the Republicans and those killed. However, for many, there is no forget nor forgiveness for the murderers. Among them, the families of the victims who managed to file the “Argentine Complaint” proudly stand. They had to transfer their demand thousands of kilometers away to seek the justice that neither the Spanish institutions nor those of the European Union provide.

In the framework of the instances in progress, next Thursday, September 3, the investigatory statement of former Minister of the Interior of the Transition Rodolfo Martín Villa will be summoned. It will be an online exhibition, held from the Argentine Embassy in Madrid to Buenos Aires, for “crimes of aggravated homicide.” The context is provided by twelve crimes against humanity, committed when Villa was Minister of Trade Union Relations in the Government headed by Carlos Arias Navarro. Among them, we can mention the Vitoria massacre, on March 3, 1976, in which five workers were killed by gunfire of the Armed Police in a previously “gassed” church and 100 people were injured, the majority by firearms; and the Sanfermines of 1978, in which there was one death and 150 were injured.

The articles published in different media report four former presidents and other authorities who have written letters to the judge of the lawsuit, María Romilda Servini de Cubría, supporting the witness. According to the publication, the support came from former presidents Felipe González, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (PSOE), José María Aznar and Mariano Rajoy (PP), from two former general secretaries of the UGT and CCOO and others. It also highlights the explicit support of the former minister and today Vice President of the European Commission as High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, a fervent defender of the repression of the Catalan people who demand the right to self-determination. They are putting pressure on the Argentine judiciary, when Villa cannot be exonerated in advance of his political responsibilities, by action or omission, as a government authority during the crimes.

Villa has been very clear, not only does he intend to defend himself, but also to vindicate the transition “which has been one of the best stages in our recent history…” The truth is, that as the current president Pedro Sánchez does before the corruption of Juan Carlos I, they appeal to the transition as a “sacred” shield. It would be appropriate for them to also ask Villa about the case of the young Gustau Muñoz, murdered by police repression during the 1978 Diada in Barcelona, ​​Catalonia, since this case – in which his family is plaintiff – was the one that opened the possibility to investigate the crimes perpetrated not only during the Franco regime, but also during the transition. At that stage, another savage crime was perpetrated: that of the comrade Yolanda Gonzáles, a student and member of the PST (Socialist Workers’ Party) murdered in Madrid on February 1, 1980 by a far-right gang.

At the end of the day, the transition and the monarchical-parliamentary regime of 78 guaranteed a “model” of impunity that successive presidents, whether of the PSOE or the PP, the kings and officials of the State apparatus, were in charge of maintaining. Without investigation and punishment of those who violated human rights, reconciliation will always be a smokescreen to hide the crimes of those who carried out a coup, caused civil war and sustained a genocidal dictatorship for forty years.

From SOL in the Spanish State and the MST of Argentina, both members of the International Socialist League, we call on the left, and progressive and democratic people to reject the pressure and mobilize to demand the punishment of those directly and politically responsible for the murders. Crimes against humanity do not prescribe, impunity must be ended with mobilization and permanent struggle.

MST Argentina

SOL Spanish State