The Times 1988-04
Start Omhoog De Volkskrant 1967-01 De Volkskrant 1968 De Volkskrant 1968-10 NRC 1971-11 De Tijd 1972-02 NRC 1972-02 NRC 1972-12 Het Parool 1974-01 De Tijd 1974-01 De Volkskrant 1974-07 The Times 1988-04



The Times Thursday April 21, 1988


Sr Rafael Calvo Serer

Rafael Calvo Serer

Seńor Rafael Calvo Serer, who died in Pamplona on April 19, at the age of 71, was a prominent Spanish newspaper proprietor whose pioneering efforts during the latter years of the Franco regime helped lay the ground for today’s flourishing press freedom in that country.

Calvo Serer achieved fame largely as the publisher of Madrid the evening newspaper which was closed down by the Franco regime in November 1971, when it had achieved the precarious status of the capital’s only really independent daily. It had already suffered numerous temporary closure orders and fines, as a result of its publishing information and editorials to which the Government objected.

The end came dramatically after the regime had stubbornly ignored pleas by the newspaper’s journalists and printers, and its offices had to be sold off. The building was blown up in April 1973 as crowds watched, to make way for a new property development.

The censors had first struck, closing down the paper for two months when an ingenious editorial was published on May 30, 1968, entitled, “Retirement at the Right Time. No to General De Gaulle.” Every discriminating Spanish reader knew it referred not to the French leader, but to General Franco.

Calvo Serer, faced with a trial and probable prison sentence, fled to Paris, where he continued to harrass Franco with his signed articles in Le Monde, Le Figaro, the International Herald Tribune and other foreign dailies. The regime had prepared charges against him of “endangering the security of the state” and he was subsequently charged in absentia with political offences.

In 1974, when the regime was nearing its end, Calvo Serer played an active part in the foundation of the Democratic Junta, a coalition of clandestine democratic parties which was preparing for the future. In June, 1976, seven months after Franco’s death, he returned to Spain and was imprisoned briefly, only to be amnestied soon afterwards.

That same year Spain’s Supreme Court ruled that the closure of his newspaper by the government had been illegal. In 1977 the same court confirmed that verdict and ordered the post-Franco government to pay compensation and damages. With democracy established, the Supreme Court set the amount owed to Calvo Serer as 518 million pesetas (f 2.6 million) plus interest.

Calvo Serer’s militant opposition to the dictatorship did not seem conditioned in any way by his self-confessed membership in the Roman Catholic lay organisation, Opus Dei, several of whose members were ministers of the Franco Governments during the time of his persecution. He always insisted that his own actions had demonstrated that political freedom existed within Opus Dei, even for strong-willed and strong-minded liberals like himself.


Opus Dei - Escriva Works - Romana - heilige Jozefmaria - De Boog 
Gegevens over Opus Dei 
Vaticaan - Katholiek Nederland

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