THE RESIDENT DICTATOR
French Radical-Socialists Shocked
From a Special Correspondent A correspondent of Journal dc Geneve summarises a description of the present state of Barcelona, the erstwhile brilliant and gay city, in two words: misery and disorder.
Even in the early days of the Red rule, he says, despite only too many signs of ruin and destruction, sinister bands of cutthroats out on their grim errands, the features of the old Spanish city, however disfigured, were still recognisable. Now even this has disappeared, and in every way Barcelona is a sordid copy of Moscow: all its southern light-hearted gaiety has vanished, officials, soldiers are garbed in drab Moscow style, huge placards displaying the fateful letters U.S.S.R. cover the walls, soldiers march to the strains of the Internationale and follow not the colours of the Republic. but the Red flag with hammer and sickle.
Marx, the God
The splendid Catalan square disports gigantic effigies of Lenin and Stalin, whilst the Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona's pride, is disfigured by a colossal Karl Marx. affixed to the Casa Carlos Marx. Muscovites, armed to the teeth, stroll about the pavements of the main streets affecting an attitude of disdainful superiority, states the Journal.
The principal theme of conversation is the great Russia. whose exact whereabouts the Catalans are not sure of, but which is the land of hope and the powerful friend and ally. The formerly fine shops now display shoddy Moscow goods which are also sold by street hawkers.
A magnificent car drives by, escorted by policemen — its occupant elegantly dressed also appears to be a foreigner.
To the correspondent's question the answer comes that this is the " Russian Consul," Antonov-Ovseenko, Barcelona's all-powerful dictator. He seems less Muscovite than his Catalan subjects.
As a corollary to this the report of the four French Radical-Socialist deputies who visited Barcelona is very significant.
Their impression of the Red capital is uncompromisingly unfavourable; they state that a complete anarchy reigns in Catalonia, they were able to visit Valencia. They believe the civil war, without help from abroad, would soon end, for less and less is the Government militia willing to fight.
These French deputies have stated that if a choice is to be made between General Franco's rule or the state of anarchy under the so-called " Government," the choice must be for Franco. This is all the more important since these men are RadicalSocialists. They are also hostile to any commercial agreement with Catalonia.