Last month saw the 20th anniversary of the murder of Guillem Agulló. 'Guillem who?' I pretend to hear some readers caterwaul in awe at their own ignorance; about which there is no need to be ashamed, because the truth behind the late Guillem's death has been as buried as he himself, except for the yearly homages rendered by a scattering of far-left pro-independence groups whose media profile has been no higher than a grasshopper's knee. Agulló was a (left-wing, pro-separatist) 19 year old from the Valencian area, in a town of which, Montanejos, he was picked on and then stabbed to death by a group of (pro-unionist) neo-Nazi youths, on April 11, 1993. Despite the known membership of said youths to far-right organisations and the fact that Guillem wore his own opinions on his sleeve, literally, in the form of Catalanist badges and insignia, and despite the fact that he was both accosted and murdered to the tune of screamed insults at these opinions, the judge declared the killing was not politically motivated. All of those involved in the murder but one were let off scot free and that one - one Pedro Cuevas - served only four years of his 14 year sentence. To have an inkling of the political conflict in which Guillem Agulló became tragically embroiled, we need to go all the way back to the conquest of the Valencian area from the Arabs and Berbers by the Catalan Count-King James I in the 13th century, who filled these newly abandoned lands with Catalan stakeholders. Taken over by force (and Castilianised ditto) by the Bourbon Crown in 1707, this Kingdom of Valencia saw a cultural and linguistic revival in the 19th century which became increasingly right-wing and trivially folkloric under the Franco regime. A new left-wing form of Valencianism appeared in the 'Sixties, promoting the independence of all the Catalan speaking areas (an ideal which Guillem Agulló fervently believed in). Fearful that the País Valencià might become a second rebellious Catalonia, the Spanish State opposed this movement with quasi-legal chicanery, and the Spanish Far Right, with outright violence. Should anyone doubt that the two are in some kind of cahoots, they have only to look at the subsequent fate of Pedro Cuevas: having had his sentence for murder reduced by ten years, he was eventually re-arrested for the sale and possession of illegal weapons and racist propaganda in 2005; released soon afterwards, he was allowed to stand as a candidate (for a neo-fascist party) in the Valencian city elections in 2007. Even as you read this, Cuevas – convicted killer, gun-runner and racist propagandist – is swanning about free as a bird. There has long been something rotten in the State of Spain, and it surely isn't just a matter of a few corrupt Royals or greedy politicians.
Matthew Tree, Catalonia Today, maig de 2013