Barcelona Photoblog: La Guardia Civil: The Boogey Man

Monday, July 24, 2006

La Guardia Civil: The Boogey Man

The Guardia Civil, the Spanish equivalent of Italian Carabinieri or French Gendarmerie, is sadly famous because of their cruel and repressive methods during Franco's dictatorship. As you see in this photograph taken at the Museum of History of Catalonia they used to patrol in pairs and wore the traditional tricorne. We have to say that modern Guardia Civil is far more gentle.


  1. Carlos, I'm cuurently reading a new book called "The Ghosts of Spain", by the Madrid correspondent of the the UK paper The Guardian. Very readable, journalistic style. It's about the Civil War ghosts, Franco's regime and the pact of silence from 1975 on all those who were on the lado derrotado from 1939. Chilling, how Spain chose to try to bury the past, how it has been forcing its way out of the ground in recent years, how the rest of theworld looked the other way (no war criminals, no truth enquiries, no rewriting of a more balanced history).
    The impact of this picture is that the painting says so much about those years, decades of the most appalling brutality & frightening repression that dictatorships are so good at. Very powerful.
    Last point: the 1st time I ever arrived in Spain by plane was inMadrid, early '82. We came out, 2 GC looked at me with hugely suspicious eyes & bad attitudes, big moustaches & those absurd tricornes. I saw rojo (rage, that is)instantly & instinctively. It was my Portuguese wife who gently but firmly made me keep quiet, because the fear had crossed the frontier & was still in her from her Portuguese childhood (1950s/60s).Yes, they are gentler now. People, if you know nothing about Spain's recent real past, I urge you to find out.

  2. this looks very sinister and thank you nowhere.

  3. Anonymous9:57 PM

    Yes the fear that nowhere man mentions is also still very apparent here in the Canary Islands. There are still those who would bury the past, but a few small voices finally saying it must be remembered to ensure that it can not happen again.

  4. Thanks Nowhere Man for reinforcing the issue with your documented words. Thanks to you all, you too Edwin and Pamela for commenting on this theme, so sinister that as you see few people dare to deal with. Of course it is something still alive, concealed under the surface of our domestic affairs, left and right, republican, monarchic, loyalists, nationalists, franchists, communists. Too much hatred still burning that only future generations will bury up.

  5. lights, shadows, perpective is perfect! the mood is mysterious


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