“The day that all the press from the time of the dictatorship is digitized will be a true revolution of the image that Francoism gives us.” Juan Antonio Ríos Carratalá, the University of Alicante professor denounced by a descendant of the legal lieutenant who participated in the process of the poet Miguel Hernández, returns to the charge with Oil, nuns and poets. Other stories from 1964 (Renacimiento, 2021), an amusing chronicle of the supposed first 25 years of peace under Franco.
Ríos Carratalá (Alicante, 1958) thus closes his trilogy on Francoism rescuing pathetic and funny stories that portray the dictatorship, when a minister named Manuel Fraga Iribarne designed the strategy of the XXV Years of Peace to turn the page of the isolation and autarky stage postwar Spanish. “The date suited them very well, it coincides with a different phase of Francoism in which developmentalism was underway,” explains the author to elDiario.es. “I remembered it when I was little and the number of people who participated is impressive, it was a success that coincided with the fact that people were happy and the story of peace was good for them, which replaces that of victory,” adds the historian.
Fraga’s idea has penetrated the perception of Francoism: “That is the image of Francoism that has remained in the collective imagination, those of us in our sixties remember that as kids.” The author rescues the crazy ingredients of Franco’s propaganda of the time, always juicy. The “Spanish Texas”, an oil field located in Burgos, is one of the stellar stories in the book. “The No-Do and other media transferred the supposed prominence of the country that has just discovered oil in its subsoil to all the spectators. They did it week after week, with the insistence of the propaganda. After the catchy melody of the presentation of the newscast, Spaniards not only believed they had the world at their fingertips, but also imagined themselves to be the universal center of attention, “writes Ríos Carratalá.
“That came out of hand: 25 years of peace and on top of that we discovered oil in Spain, not even the best screenwriter,” says the author with a laugh. It goes without saying that the Burgos deposit did not free Spain from its energy dependence. “The propaganda campaign that was carried out was impressive,” says the author, who has reviewed the newspaper archives of the time in which Burgos was painted as “Spanish Oklahoma.” “Historians, unlike journalists, see the balloon when it rises and when it falls over time,” he adds.
Scams, lies and propaganda
“The Franco regime was supported by propaganda, anyone who contrasts the propaganda discourse with reality immediately realizes to what extent it falsified reality”, explains the author of Oil, nuns and poets. Other stories from 1964. Of course, in the context of the dictatorship, “there was no possibility of contrast, it was a fairly well done propaganda and spectacular in terms of its size,” adds Ríos Carratalá.
Developmentalism led to a change in the perception of Spain abroad, with beaches as the flagship. Also within the country. “He found a population that liked to believe that propaganda, at that time people began to have consumer goods and the economic situation advanced”, says the professor at the University of Alicante, who also warns: “The lies, if the people don’t want to believe it, they don’t believe it. ” “Scams are never done if the scammer does not allow himself to be scammed,” he adds.
Juan Antonio Ríos Carratalá has completed his trilogy on the dictatorship after the publication of A Francoism with Francoists and Of lies and Franco, all posted by the Renacimiento publishing house. If something characterizes the works of this historian, it is the rescue of peculiar feats, sometimes even funny, that give a very different image of the Franco regime. His method of work focuses rather on the review of the newspaper archives. “I realized when I published before this trilogy, another dedicated to the Second Republic. There were two republics, the one for books and one for newspapers,” he explains. “Unfortunately”, the author abounds, “only a small part of the Franco regime press is digitized.” “The day that all the press from the time of the dictatorship is digitized will be a true revolution of the image that Francoism brings us,” he warns.
“I continue working as always”
After winning the lawsuit filed by the son of the legal lieutenant who participated in the process against the communist poet Miguel Hernández, Ríos Carratalá assures that he has not been conditioned by the judicial ups and downs he has suffered in recent years. A judge in Alicante endorsed, in a forceful sentence, the investigative work on the Francoist repression of the professor, although while a battle is being fought with Google in the National Court, the son of the legal ensign Antonio Luis Baena Tocón also filed a lawsuit against Ríos Carratalá, other historians, academic institutions and journalists in which he requests 11.5 million euros for the alleged interference in the honor of his deceased father.
“Ultimately, these demands are intended for you to shut up and, if the goal was for me to shut up, I will continue working as usual,” concludes the professor.