To the Editors:
The mutilated and disabled of the Spanish Republican Army who live in Spain are still considered, thirty-two years after the end of the war, as “enemies of fatherland” who deserve neither respect, attention, or help. They are given the status of “citizens” so that they may meet all obligations imposed by the state, but they do not benefit from the rights which should be granted to them, taking into account their special condition. Since 1939, they have been the pariahs of a society and regime which are characterized by their injustices, by a total lack of feeling, and by the crime which was perpetrated upon thousands of Republicans wounded in the war, left in the most total misery for having committed the “crime of fighting in the ranks of the vanquished.” To those who by chance or by conviction fought with the “victors,” they grant rights and benefits; to those others, amputees, blind, paralyzed, or those whom war wounds have impaired for life, the Spanish government, contrary to what is done in other countries, maintains them in a total neglect arising from a discrimination which is indeed a disgrace.
Therefore, we are addressing this appeal to all national and international institutions, to political and social organizations, to all persons who still hope for justice, and to all other people of good will, in order that protests be made to the Spanish authorities, demanding that the mutilated and disabled of the Republican Army who are living in Spain have the same rights which are given to the physically disabled who fought in the ranks of the so-called “nationalist” army.
We ask all those of good will to insist that such discrimination cease and that, in their triple condition as war-wounded, human beings, and citizens, the mutilated and disabled of the Republican Army be considered in Spain, in all ways (pensions, prosthetics, rehabilitation, employment, etc.) as Spaniards who have indisputably the right to benefit from all advantages stipulated by law.
The League of Mutilated and Disabled of the Spanish Civil War, in Exile, is asking nothing from the Franquist regime. Our status as exiles proves that, individually and collectively, we grant it no authority at all, considering it a regime which has usurped by force the national sovereignty in establishing in the country a system of government which has never been sanctioned by popular will. But neither can we forget the mutilated and disabled Republicans who are living in our country….
April 20, 1972