Seven decades later, civil war still splits Spain





Seventy years after he was shot during the Spanish civil war, 90-year-old Leandro Saun turns red with anger when talking about a conflict that still divides Spain.

"We're only partially over it," he says during a debate in Marca, a small village near the Ebro river, site of one of the bloodiest battles of the 1936-1939 war.

Saun fought with the Republican forces against General Francisco Franco's men, and spent 12 years in prison, four of them under a death sentence.

He has been telling his story at a string of events this year to mark 70 years since the outbreak of the war -- an anniversary that has opened a bitter debate between Spain's left and right on a subject long shrouded in silence.

"People of the first generation carry this in their hearts, but the present generation is different, we're on our way to this becoming less traumatic," says Jose Luis Ledesma, a professor at the University of Zaragoza.

The grandchildren of those who fought in the war are lifting the lid on an era their parents sought to ignore for fear of Franco, whose 36-year dictatorship only ended with his death in 1975. Around 50,000 people disappeared, were imprisoned or tortured during his time in power.


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