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Censorship and persecution

España hoyAfter Manuel Fraga took office as Minister for Information and Tourism in 1962, the Franco regime attempted to portray a new façade of openness that contrasted with the closed stance of preceding years. However, since Ruedo ibérico’s books were published in France and thus were beyond the censor’s grasp, they continued to denounce the constant manipulation that everyday life as well as the past was subject to, and because of it they threw doubt on the officially constructed image. In response the government increased its policing and judicial harassment to prevent the entry and distribution of Ruedo ibérico books in an attempt to place a financial stranglehold on the publishing house. On the other hand, there was an attempt to deplete the stock of manuscripts already in Spain by intimidating possible collaborators. The first victim of this persecution of individuals occurred in 1971, with the arrest and later imprisonment of Luciano Rincón for a crime of slander against the head of state, proffered under the pseudonym of Luis Ramírez. Fraga also wielded an apparently reasonable but more insidious weapon. The Minister issued a bulletin of bibliographic orientation (Boletín de Orientación Bibliográfica) that periodically reviewed with a critical eye the works published by Ruedo ibérico and other publishing houses, yet displaying an oblique reasoning that sought to discredit the works without having to respond to the issues raised. The bulletin served as a reliable measuring stick by which to ascertain the level of irritation that each work produced in government circles.

The war of words gave way to the gun, just as José Antonio might have acted. On the night of the 13th to the 14th of October of 1975, the bookshop on Rue Latran was the subject of an attack: the detonation of a bomb claimed by Antiterrorismo ETA, a far-right organisation that during the death throes of the regime sought a call to action whilst other sectors sought national reconciliation; accords with which to find a future coexistence, an exit strategy that José Martínez and RI had always opposed.

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