More on Mexico's role in supporting Republicans flee Spain
A friend in Lisbon
El País in English
In this installment of EL PAÍS’ series based on Mexico’s archive of letters by Spanish exiles, the key role of the Mexican ambassador to Portugal of getting Republicans out of Europe

[...]the Mexican Foreign Ministry recently released archives pertaining to the Spanish Republicans who sought refuge in Mexico during and after the Civil War, helped by the country's ambassador in Portugal, Gilberto Bosques. EL PAÍS has been given exclusive access to the dozens of letters and statements, which provide further evidence of the systematic repression that General Franco inflicted on Spain throughout the war, and in the decade that followed, when anybody suspected of Republican sympathies faced summary execution, and an estimated 150,000 men and women were either shot or simply taken away and disappeared.


His case, like the hundred or so more stored in six heavy folders covering the period 1946 to 1948, sheds new light on one of the darkest periods of Spain's recent history, told by men and women whose lives had been torn apart by the war, and who even now, in peace, faced long harsh years of retribution and repression.

Their only hope was exile, either to head north over the Pyrenees to a France much of which was still in ruins after four years of war and occupation, or west to Portugal, and the slim chance of starting a new life in Mexico.


Meanwhile, in Spain, the dictatorship was taking root, and gaining growing international approval. Within four years, the country would be admitted to the United Nations, and soon courted by the United States as an ally in the fight against communism. Many of the Republicans who had managed to escape would never return, while those who had been unable to get out would spend years more in prison and soon be forgotten.

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