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August 05, 2004
Leaving Asturias

AVIN (JNS) _ Before we go, Juan's wife makes us a piece of wild boar Juan had shot the year before. We talk about Don Turribio and Rogelio.
Juan says he isn't muy amigo with Rogelio because of what happened in the war.
Juan's father spent more than five years in jail for nothing he says, and Rogelio's family was among those responsible.
Asturias was the region where the miners went on strike and the fascists retaliated hard. Juan still shakes his head in disbelief. My father remembers hearing about one man the fascists came looking for and couldn't find, so they killed his two sons.

Anyone who had a weapon of any kind, even a shotgun for hunting, risked arrest, Juan says, remembering how his father, before he was arrested, hid an antique shotgun in a mountain cabana and didn't tell his sons out of fear they would get in trouble.
Family members, meanwhile, walked two hours across the mountains to work for two pesetas a day in the mines, he remembers. Those who supported labor, or the elected republic were targeted by the fascists.
That's history, however, he says.
''Costo mucho trabajo ponerlo como esta,'' he says.
''It cost much work to put things as they are now,'' he says referring to the return of democracy and the current economic good times.
The shotgun, meanwhile, stayed for years in the cabana, no longer used for shelter while tending to sheep spending the summer grazing in the highlands. One day it was mentioned and someone who knew Juan's father remembered where it was hidden. They climbed up the mountain to the cabana found it wrapped in cloth.
Back at El Campu, Jesus, Ana's husband wasn't affected personally by the war, and is more concerned about the present. He can't understand why Spain became involved in Iraq and why the U.S. isn't more evenhanded in the Middle East.
On our way to La Coruna, we stop to say goodbye to Juan and I ask him to show me the gun . He pulls it out of a cabinet in his garage. It's now a little pitted with rust, but is a fine side-by-side 12-gauge with elaborately worked hammers that swing down to fire the shells.
It will still fire, he says.

Posted by Alex at August 05, 2004 12:35 AM