Witness: The Day Troops Held Spain’s MPs Hostage Reply

Antonio Tejero Molina

BBC.com–Six years after the death of Spain’s dictator General Franco, the country remained a fragile democracy. Political tensions continued despite free elections and a new constitution. Moreover the army was not fully behind the new democracy and some in uniform remained loyal to Franco. In February 1981, as parliament sat to swear in a new prime minister, 200 Spanish civil guards burst into the chamber and took all 350 MPs hostage.

Joaquin Almunia – who later became an EU Commissioner – was one of the MPs trapped in parliament as the civil guards, led by Lieutenant Colonel Antonio Tejero, fired into the air. Mr Almunia spoke to Witness about that dramatic day.

Witness is a World Service programme of the stories of our times told by the people who were there.



I Belong to Dublin but Spain is Mine 1

My home on the Costa Blanca is the best investment I ever made. It has given me a second life, and a more open, tranquil version of myself, writes Sheila O’Flanagan

Sheila O'Flanagan homeSheila O’Flanagan, Irish Independent, December 12, 2013–Because I once worked in financial services, I’m often asked what my best investment ever has been. And although I know most people imagine that I’m going to tell them about a hot-tip share that doubled in value a few days after I bought it, or a massive killing on the commodities market (neither of which actually happened unfortunately) the truth is that the best investment I ever made was buying a holiday home on Spain’s Costa Blanca nearly 16 years ago. More…

Munira’s European Road Trip Becomes a Life in Spanish Leather 3

Munira Mendonça repujadora

One of Spain’s leading craft persons and activists on behalf of her compañeros in Spanish leather working was born and raised in Oakland, California. Over her 35 years in Spain Munira Mendonça has presided over an association of women artesanas, served on the board of directors of the Andalusian regional federation of artisans, and organized craft fairs and courses. Since she’s had her shop, she’s promoted the work of local handicraft workers there. She’s also taught her skills to a series of apprentices, some of whom have established their own workshops. And she still offers occasional leather working courses to small groups. More…

Ten Architects Commissioned Fantasy Homes in Spain. What happened? Reply

Ten Houses Spain

CNN.com–Architects rarely lack creativity, but they frequently lack the freedom to explore it. Clients have preferences and there are often building restrictions in place, which inevitably force architects to compromise on their vision. But what if those limits were removed? In the daring “Solo Houses” experiment, French developer Christian Bourdais has given ten architects carte blanche to develop vacation homes in Spain. Set on the border of the Los Puertos de Beceite nature reserve, which sits astride the provinces of Teruel, Tarragona and Castellon, these homes don’t resemble typical real estate projects, rather works of art. More…

British Museum-Museo del Prado – A Glimpse at What Curators Do 1

Spanish drawings discussion
The 15-minute video that follows presents a conversation between Mark P. McDonald, the British Museum’s Assistant Keeper, Department of Prints and Drawings, and José Manuel Matilla, head of the department of drawings and prints of the Prado Museum, in which they discuss last month’s exhibition in the British Museum of Spanish drawings from the Renaissance to Goya. If  you’ve ever wondered exactly what curators do, and what their concerns are when they sit down to program an exhibition, you might find this conversation enlightening. More…

It’s About Loving Spanish Spain 2/2 7

Gypsy horse trader

This is the second and final part of Bart Sedgebear’s “¡Alegria! Foundation” interview with  editor, Mike Booth

What did you do for a living when you arrived in Spain?

I wrote and photographed travel stories for newspapers and magazines. On winter mornings I breakfasted  a couple of “sol y sombras” (brandy with anise) with my neighbors in the “Diablo’s Bar” just off the village square. For years I thought that was the normal breakfast in Spain. More…

It’s About Loving Spanish Spain 1/2 2

The ¡Alegria! Foundation Story, an Interview with Editor, Mike Booth

Harvest time

.Mike Booth is an expatriate photojournalist and editor. He was granted Spanish citizenship in 1983.

An Interview by Bart Sedgebear

Q: What does Spain mean to you, Mike?
A: “For me Spain is like the girl you fell in love with 40 years ago and, after all you’ve been through together, you love her more than ever.” More…

In Search of the Spirit of Al-Andalus Reply

Granada cathedral Alhambra

With the Moorish architecture of Granada’s Alhambra and the Cordoba cathedral as evocative backdrops, Marcel Theroux meets a group of Spanish Muslims who are drawing on the area’s Islamic legacy to a promote a new religious tolerance. Muslim intellectuals in Granada and Cordoba explain their ongoing efforts to promote a cordial cultural and religious coexistence. The very apt Spanish term is “convivencia,” “living together.” Not all is sweetness and light, however, as there is opposition from both sides. More…

¡Alegria! Editor Featured in Conexion Spain Virtual Webcast 2

Conexion Spain Virtual

¡Alegría! Editor Mike Booth Affirms: “It’s about Loving Spanish Spain”

One of the new features of the recent Conexion Spain Virtual online trade show, sponsored by the Spanish national tourist offices in the U.S. and Canada, was a series of webcasts by specialists on Spanish subjects. (Don’t let the term “webcast” scare you. They’re just online Power Point presentations with voice over.) If you missed the live broadcast on April 11th, the Spanish tourist office folks have kindly made it available on their own site, where you can access it for the next three months. More…

“We were amazed by just how kind everybody was…” 3

A Video Interview at Home in a Spanish Village with Londoners Alan and Stella Sekers

Alan Stella Sekers

Alan and Stella Sekers on the terrace of their village house in Quentar

When Alan and Stella Sekers retired from teaching they wanted to introduce some adventure into their lives, perhaps living in Spain. They discovered Quentar, “their” Spanish village, almost by accident when they went to visit some friends there. They soon made the decision to look for a house of their own in the village. One old ruin of a place appeared in short order. They flew back down from London and… Well, let’s let them tell you what happened.  More…