Angel Rañón

Citation
Angel Rañón

Material Information

Title:
Angel Rañón
Series Title:
Spanish Civil War oral history project
Creator:
Rañón, Angel
Varela-Lago, Ana M
University of South Florida Libraries -- Florida Studies Center. -- Oral History Program
University of South Florida -- Tampa Library
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publisher:
University of South Florida Tampa Library
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 sound file (51 min.) : digital, MPEG4 file + ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Ybor City (Tampa, Fla.) ( lcsh )
History -- Spain -- Civil War, 1936-1939 ( lcsh )
Genre:
Oral history. ( local )
Online audio. ( local )
Oral history ( local )
Online audio ( local )

Notes

Summary:
Angel Ranon describes how the Spanish Civil War affected Ybor City, and some of the ways people in Tampa supported the war.
Venue:
Interview conducted March 10, 1997.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
General Note:
Supplemental material available in the USF Tampa Library Special Collections area.
Statement of Responsibility:
interviewed by Ana Varela-Lago.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
029487454 ( ALEPH )
316065591 ( OCLC )
S64-00026 ( USFLDC DOI )
s64.26 ( USFLDC Handle )

Postcard Information

Format:
Audio

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This item has the following downloads:


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segment idx 0time text length 240 Ana M. Varela-Lago: This is an interview with Mr. Angel Rañón. Mr. Rañón, first I would like to start by talking a little bit about your family. Could you tell me, how did your family first come to Tampa, and why? What did they do here?
1457 Angel Rañón: Well, my father was the first to come. To Tampa. He came by way of Cuba. Havana. And, he spent probably, as near as I can figure out, about a year in Havana. And then he came to Tampa. And my mother stayed behind, together with my brother and myself. And the three of us eventually came to Tampa. By the same route, through Havana and then to Tampa. Although we didn't spend any time in Havana, just a few days. And have been here ever since.
244 AVL: Where did they come from, your parents?
356 AR: Well, they came from the province of Lugo. Which is-
4AVL: Both of them? They were from the same-?
5293 AR: Both of them, yes. They lived very close to each other, in the same village. They're both, just, they were born just days apart. My father was born in, May the 1st of 19-I'm sorry, 1899. And my mother was born May the 22nd of the same year. So they more or less grew up together, you know.
630 AVL: Why did they leave Spain?
7363 AR: Why did they leave Spain? Well, my father- I'm only speculating from what I've heard-my father was, of military age, or soon would be, and I think he wanted to get away from, the military-how shall I say-commitment, or whatever they had with the country, and, because it was very difficult. And also to look for a better place to earn a living for his family.
852 AVL: So he first went to Cuba? What did he do there?
9222 AR: He was a furniture and cabinet maker. And he had a relative who, his name was Jose Acevedo, who had a very, very large factory of furniture and-so he went to work with him, and he worked for him until he came to Tampa.
1058 AVL: Was he the first in your family to leave? From there?
1164 AR: No, I had another uncle who had-my father came here in 1920.
1220 AVL: Here, to Tampa?
13250 AR: Well, to Tampa-Cuba and Tampa, because I think it happened within a year's time. He had a brother who had come earlier-and I don't know what year he came, but he died in Tampa in the year 1913. And he's buried in the old Centro Español Cemetery.
1466 AVL: So once he was in Tampa, then he decided to bring his family?
15155 AR: Well, he started-as soon as he got here he started working in the construction business in a very small way, and he stayed in it until the day he died.
1635 AVL: So when did you come to Tampa?
1754 AR: Me? I came here in 1931. Arriving in January 11th.
1826 AVL: With your mother and-
1932 AR: Mother, and my brother John.
2019 AVL: -your brother.
218 AR: Yes.
22109 AVL: Could you tell me a little bit, your memories about growing up in Tampa? How old were you when you came?
23140 AR: I was not quite 11 years old. And as soon as I got here, I was placed in school, without knowing the first word of the English language.
24AVL: What school was that?
2538 AR: Robert E. Lee [Elementary School].
26AVL: Robert E. Lee.
27583 AR: Elementary, yes. And, they put me in the first grade and, with children who were considerably younger than I was, and that kind of put me out of place, but eventually, I was- several times I was double promoted as I became more familiar with the language. My education, of course, was at the 11th year level where, I was placed in the 6th year level, so as soon as I began to understand the language and became somewhat knowledgeable about it, I was double promoted a number of times. So that by the time I graduated from high school I was just barely behind the other graduates.
2867 AVL: How about your family? Did they use English in your home, or-?
29232 AR: No, because my mother didn't speak any English. Eventually she spoke well enough to get along, but she never really mastered it. My father did. I mean, he learned the language pretty well, read and write and everything else. So.
30131 AVL: So how was the change from Galicia to here, to Tampa? What do you remember, like things you liked most, things you hated most?
31237 AR: Well, I don't know that I hated anything. I fell right into the system here and I had-the only problem that I had was the language, and-it didn't take me very long to overcome that, so. I fell right in, right in place, anyway. I had-
3250 AVL: An easy transition coming from there to here?
3316 AR: Yes, it was.
34AVL: Where did you live at that point? In Ybor City?
35242 AR: Well, it wasn't really considered Ybor City, but it was just north of what is considered Ybor City. Just a few blocks. I lived on 10th Street between 19th and 21st Avenue[s]. And 10th Street is only two blocks east of Nebraska Avenue, so.
3639 AVL: Then you went to high school, and-
37376 AR: Well, I went to junior high. I went to George Washington Junior High School, which was not too far from home. We walked, we walked to both elementary school and junior high, and walked back. Then on, went on to high school. And although high school was at least a couple of miles from where I lived, I rode a bicycle. We didn't have automobiles. So. I did a lot of riding.
3873 AVL: How about the social life in Ybor City, did you belong to the clubs?
391094 AR: Well, I belonged to Centro Español. And when I finished high school, I was old enough to become a member. And almost as soon as I graduated from high school they, I joined the Club, and I was recruited to belong to the, what they call the Sección de Recreo y Adorno. Which is a, it was a social group that was involved in putting on dances and other festivities. And I, kind, of grew up in that atmosphere. And we, while I was a member of the Sección de Recreo, we had dances all throughout the year on Sunday afternoons. Except during the summer when it was closed down. And it was a fun time in my life. Spent a lot of hours in the Centro Español, and gave a lot of my time to it. Matter of fact, I was a, probably about the second year that I was a member of the Sección de Recreo, I was the recording secretary. And all our meetings were in Spanish and everything was recorded in Spanish. And I was hoping that some of that was here at the university. And I've looked, and I haven't found anything that-I think those records must have been lost. Or perhaps I just didn't find them.
40AVL: What can you tell me about the 1930s in Tampa-what was that decade-?
41397 AR: Well, it was a very difficult time because, we were just at the end of the Depression, and it was very difficult. My father always had work, but it didn't pay a whole lot, so-but we, we survived very well. I don't know what else I can tell you that, sometimes we didn't know when, when the next money would come into the family, but we did very well, I would say. We never lacked for anything.
42168 AVL: Okay. I would like to start talking now about the Spanish Civil War. And, just ask you, first, whatever memories come to mind when you think about that, that time.
43939 AR: Well, the thing that's-see I was about what, 15, 16 years old-when this, the war started and, the thing that I remember the most, I guess, was when they would get together at a storefront on 7th Avenue, mostly the women, and they collected clothing to ship to Spain. And I sometimes went down there to help. And one of the things that I did was help them pack cigar cuttings, so that they could have cigarettes to smoke. And they put them in the little bags-cloth bags-and all of that went to Spain. And I remember the collections that they used to make at the steps of the cigar factories. And-outside as well-and where, cigar makers came out of the cigar factories, they always had a quarter or fifty cents, or whatever they felt they could afford, and that was all used to buy things to send to Spain; medical supplies. And I believe they also collected enough to where they were able to buy four ambulances that also went to Spain.
4489 AVL: Was your family involved in this committee, the Comité Popular, or-were there any-?
45AR: Not directly that I can recall, except to, for the work that they did with the collection of clothing. And I know my father contributed monetarily to the Frente Popular. And I suppose that's where the money for the ambulances came from.
46AVL: Those were weekly collections?
4731 AR: Ye, every week, every week.
4846 AVL: And they used to go around Ybor City, to-
49196 AR: Ybor City, yes. Because my father didn't work at the factory, so they, you know, came soliciting funds at my father's office, which at that time he had an office and-it was on a regular basis.
50187 AVL: Do you remember any of the speakers who came here to talk about what was going on in Spain? I've heard that the Ambassador came here a few times. Do you remember any of those events?
51257 AR: The Ambassador to Spain in Washington at that time, represented the Republic. And he came to speak, I think at the Centro Asturiano, perhaps other locations. And I remember going to listen to him, but I really don't remember what he really talked about.
5240 AVL: Were those events attended? I mean-
5318 AR: Well-attended?
5437 AVL: -were people-yes, well attended?
55228 AR: Oh, yes. They usually spoke at the Centro Asturiano. In the theater. And also at the Labor Temple. And the theater at the Centro Asturiano probably has a capacity of probably 900, or so. And it was always filled to capacity.
5670 AVL: Who would attend those events, you would say. Spanish mainly-or-?
5741 AR: Yes, mainly; si, mainly Spanish, yes.
5860 AVL: -other ethnic groups like the Cubans and Italians, or-?
5959 AR: Well, I'm sure there were some but, mainly the Spanish.
60AVL: What could you tell me about the relations between Cubans, Italians, and the Spanish, regarding the war?
61304 AR: Well, as I remember, the Italians were supportive of the Frente Popular. I don't think that they took as an active a part. But they were very supportive with donations, you know, as well as their own personal feelings about it. And the Cubans, probably are about the same thing. They all contributed.
6229 AVL: How about the Americans?
63AR: Well, probably not very much. Because Ybor City was kind of a place of its own, you know, and not, they were not integrated into the city as such to any great extent. So, they were isolated, you know. At least in my opinion.
64AVL: How about news from Spain-how did the Tampa community learn about what was going on?
65570 AR: Well, we had, I think, three newspapers in Tampa at that time. La Gaceta, La Prensa, and La Traducción. And, eventually the Traducción and the Prensa joined forces and they became La Traducción-Prensa. And I think they all received news from Spain. And I know my father had a short-wave radio at home, and every night of the week he'd sit by the radio and listen to the news from Madrid. I think they used to start the newscast by saying, let's see if I remember what it was-one of the phrases they used was "Aquí Madrid." And then they went into their newscast.
6648 AVL: How long was the newscast, do you remember?
67241 AR: It probably wasn't very long. Probably, maybe 30 minutes, or so. And they gave statistics of how many people were injured and how many were killed and, from both sides of the-and how many airplanes were shot down, and that sort of thing.
6879 AVL: I see. Did you receive news from your family-how was your family in Spain?
69771 AR: Well, they just-well, they wrote back and forth, yeah. I remember one of my uncles was-not persecuted, because they never found him, but they were, they were after him because of his liberal feelings about-and his feeling for the Republic. And he had to leave the house and go out into the mountains and kind of hide away from those who were after him. And I remember my grandmother, my paternal grandmother, writing to me and telling me that on two occasions they came to the house looking for me. And of course she told them, "Well, he's not here any longer, he's in the United States." And that was the end of it. Because at that time I was of military-or, shouldn't have been, but I was-of military age. Sixteen, seventeen, you know. And they came looking for me.
7077 AVL: Now, being so young, what do you remember-your ideas about the war were?
71402 AR: Well, of course, I was, I guess my ideas reflected my parents' feelings, and my parents' feeling is that the Republic was a legally instituted government and they should have been given the opportunity to rule the country according to democratic principles. Like this country, you know. They fought for the same principles: liberty, the pursuit of justice and-and they were very much, much into it.
72136 AVL: Could you tell me a little bit, as the war evolved, how were the feelings of the community-of course, the Republic was, was losing-
73AR: Well, primarily, they were in favor of the, what we call the Loyalists, which were the Republicans. I think they were overwhelmingly in favor of continuing that type of government. There were some that were opposed. Not too many-and, it caused some ill feelings between friends, sometimes.
74AVL: Tell me more about that.
75394 AR: Yes, and I know that my father had a friend that, during the war, I don't think they spoke to each other. And, after the war things settled down; they became good friends again. And they visited each other, and at their houses and-so once it was over, it was over, you know. It was no, there were no hard feelings-long lasting hard feelings about it, everybody went on about their business.
7688 AVL: Was there confrontations between people who, you know, didn't support the Republic?
77478 AR: I don't think so, except perhaps one, where it led to the death of the two persons that confronted each other. And they felt so strongly about it that, one of the men-his name was Alvarez-they were neighbors. Or well-known to each other at the very least. And Alvarez, they were arguing in front of their house and he went inside and got a gun and came over and shot the other man. Killed him. And then he committed suicide. So, that was a very, very tragic thing to happen.
78133 AV: How about discussions within the social clubs-within Centro Asturiano, Centro Español--were there any problems, in that regard-?
7997 AR: No, no. Not that I recall, because-primarily they all were all for, in favor of the Republic.
8087 AVL: Why do you think that support was so overwhelming here in Tampa? For the Republic.
81451 AR: Well I, I suppose that, you know most of them had come in the early part of the century and had lived here for those years, and, my father came in, he was probably one of the last immigrants to, you know, to come and they saw the benefits of the democratic government and they wanted that for Spain, and I think that's why they favored the Republic so much. Because, they could see the same thing happening in Spain and they wanted that for Spain.
8292 AVL: Do you remember any conflicts between the Catholic Church here and the Latin community?
83641 AR: Not directly; only what I heard. The Loyalists, because the Catholic Church favored the [Francisco] Franco regime. I don't think there is any question about that. And here in Tampa a lot of people quit going to church because of the conflict. And some people who were sending their children to Catholic school, pulled them out of that Catholic school. Because they felt that the Catholic Church had no business in trying to get involved in the affairs of the government. So there were some bad feelings about that. But then, again, in time, that was all forgotten. Or most of it was forgotten; some of them never went back to the church.
84AVL: What can you tell me about the last months of the war?-I mean, when Franco was obviously winning-there were all these demonstrations, asking the United States government to lift the embargo. Do you remember how the Latin community-?
85137 AR: I don't, yes, I don't recall that too much. Or at all, really. For me, once the war was over it was over, you know. You had to go on.
86AVL: Do you remember people, or within your family, discussing the role taken by the United States government, the neutrality? And the role-
87922 AR: Well, they felt-yes, they felt that the United States should have been more supportive of the Loyalists. I'm sure the other side felt the other way. But, being that it was a legally instituted government, that the United States should have been more supportive and helpful. In many ways; they, financially, and-see for many years after the Civil War was over-Spain had nothing. And they felt that they should have helped out. And they didn't help the other side either, for that matter. They always took a neutral position and-it was only after, I guess World War II that this country had, wanted bases in Europe and, of course Spain was kind of a crossroads for Europe in that respect. And that's when they established, with the consent of the Spanish government, established air bases and naval bases and so forth, and I think that helped, eventually helped Spain quite a bit, because it brought in a lot of dollars.
88728 And they paid the government for the use of this space and they created jobs because they built the air bases, and that was all American money. And I think that's probably about the time that the recovery of the Spanish economy started. And it continues to this day, you know. And then, you know, the Franco government had a lot of help from the German and Italian governments during the war. They gave him all kinds of war material, including airplanes and what have you, to fight. And some people feel that that was the beginning of World War II. That the axis, meaning Germany and Italy, tried out their war machine in Spain during the Spanish Civil War providing war material and personnel and advisors, and all of that. So.
89100 AVL: What did the community do when Franco finally won the war? Do you remember what happened then-?
9095 AR: No, there was nothing more they could do, except-help the families that were left in Spain.
9127 AVL: How did they do that-?
92AR: By sending whatever material, you know, monetary help they could; and I remember that
93362 my family would send clothing and some, perhaps some medicines. So, that's how they-because, it was very difficult-food stuff, which they-you know, I know that some families went hungry because of-they were just-fortunately in the part of Spain where I came from, being an agrarian economy, at least they had enough to eat, because they grew their own foodstuff.
94965 My, one of my uncles-and this went back-back to my grandfather who had a mill where they ground grain into flour, and both wheat and corn, and oats and that continued, and I know my uncle took over the operation of those mills that ground the wheat from the farms and, he always, and they, nobody paid him anything, monetarily. Nobody paid him anything for doing the work, but they compensated him by giving him a certain amount of the grain that he ground into flour. They gave him some of the flour and he in turn helped to feed the community, and keep them, and give the flour so they could bake the bread and feed the livestock and so forth. And they grew-the family grew wheat and they grew corn and they grew potatoes and they grew turnips, and a lot of the things that they were used to. And of course from, with that they grew animals and they had cows and they milked cows and they made cheese and, you know just all the things that they needed to subsist.
95134 AVL: Were people trying to bring part of their families to Tampa? Do you remember families trying to get their relatives out of Spain?
96370 AR: No, no. The immigration into the United States from Spain was, almost came to a stop. The only ones that I remember coming here were, came in illegally; they, some of them were sailors that were on these ships that came to pick up materials and some of them jumped ship, and stayed here and eventually became part of the community. And there were very few. Very few.
97101 AVL: So once Franco won the war, would you say that the war disappeared from Ybor City in that sense?
9828 AR: In that sense, yes, yes.
9945 AVL: There were no more speakers coming, or-?
10015 AR: No, no, no.
101AVL: -fundraising events, or-?
102280 AR: No, that was the end of it. And, speaking of fundraising, they, you know, they held what we called picnics, where they cooked yellow rice and chicken and went to some park and, they had dances and sold tickets and bought the food and all the net proceeds went to, to help out.
103167 AVL: Was the organization of the Centro Popular, the Comité Popular, pretty much similar to the ones of the clubs, I mean, were the same people kind of volunteering-?
104364 AR; Yes, pretty much, except that in the clubs, some of the officials of the clubs were-owners, or very high employees of the cigar factories, they were the presidents and, you know. And of course the cigar makers went along with them because of-that's where they made their livelihood and, but most of the cigar manufacturers were-favored the Franco regime. Yeah.
105AVL: Why do you think that was?
106AR: I don't know; economics, I guess. They felt that that was the best way for Spain to come out of their depression, and so forth.
107AVL: Were there conflicts in that sense, that people would fear to be fired because of their support?
108AR: Well, not too much, no. No. They, I suppose that they were some, but I don't think it was widespread. Yeah. And it's not to say that all the owners and so forth were supportive of the Franco regime-because they were not. They also favored the Loyalists.
109170 AVL: You mentioned before that you remembered a lot of the work done by women. Would you think that women did most of the work in this kind-overall events, or, did they-?
110AR: Fundraising?
11193 AVL: Yes. How would you characterize how the Comité was organized, in terms of who did what?
112344 AR: I think that, perhaps in the actual putting together these packages and bundles of medicine and clothing and tobacco and so forth, probably the women were more involved in doing that type of work. And the men usually were the ones that collected the stuff and, yeah. So I don't think it was overwhelmingly women. I think it was pretty much-
113114 AVL: Let me ask you about the effect that the war had on you and the community. What would you say was the effect?
114AR: The effect?
115AVL: The Spanish Civil War on yourself-
116AR: After the war, or prior to the war?
117AVL: -on your family. Yes, the whole-I mean, if you hadn't experienced it, you think your life would have been any different, or yourself, as a person, or your family-?
118458 AR: I don't think so. We were just coming out of a recession ourselves and, I don't think it affected it in any way. Yes. I think, we came out of the recession and, I think we would have come out of the recession regardless, because of our leadership and the president of the United States and the steps that he took to bring it back, and I think it would have happened anyway. So I don't think it-And from that sense I don't think it affected us in any way.
119AVL: How about your own experience in terms of this thing happening. Did you consider yourself like an American at that point, or-?
12024 AR: Oh, yes, sure, sure.
12149 AVL: -were you still pretty much linked to Spain?
122462 AR: Yes, no, I was-I'd always been, since I started school I always considered myself as an American. And, you know, people have asked me where my allegiance is and my allegiance is to this country, you know, and-first my country is the United States. And of course I've always-having been born in Spain-I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for it, and I've gone back to Spain many times to see my family and the country. As much as I've been able to do. So.
123256 No, and my father was very staunch American. He felt the same way and says, "This is my country. And if there was ever a war between America and Spain, I would be an American." So. That's how strongly he felt about it. And, likewise, that's the way I felt.
124AVL: Did he become a citizen?
12533 AR: Oh, yes. Yes, long, long ago.
12622 AVL: Your mother, too?
127190 AR: Yes, my mother, yes. You know, I meant to bring you a book, a loose-leaf book that I have of my father's and my mother's and mine, certificates of citizenship. Plus other documents that-
128AVL: When did they become citizens, already in the '30s?
129695 AR: In the '40s. And that's when I became a citizen. Matter of fact, I, you know, I'd registered for the draft here during World War II. And when I went to register for the draft, the lady that filled out the necessary papers told me, says, because at that time I was not an American citizen. I was still a Spanish citizen. And she told me, well, she says, "You know you don't, being a Spanish citizen, you don't have to register for service." And I told her, I said, "Well, that doesn't make any difference. I want to still register and become part of the draft." I never did serve. Because of physical conditions; I was rejected for service. But I would have gone just like everybody else did.
13085 AVL: Was there a lot of support within the Latin community when World War II started?
131AR: Oh, yes. Oh, sure.
132153 AVL: Why would you think that somebody, like yourself, who had grown up in another country, why do you think people became so loyal to the United States?
133AR: Well, by that time the-
134AVL: I mean to the point of offering-
135110 AR: Most of the young people-the overwhelming majority of the young people were born in this country, so it's-
136103 AVL: But how about the immigrants? Because, a lot of Spaniards immigrated to other countries, you know-
137AR: Yes, sure, sure.
13871 AR: -to Latin America, and they always considered themselves Spaniards.
13913 AR: Spaniard.
140135 AVL: -I mean, they went there, they made their money, and then, you know, they thanked the country in that sense, more economical, but-
141AR: Yes. Well, a lot of them came to Cuba and Argentina, and they came with the idea that they were going to make their fortune and go back. Many of them did. But many of them never left.
142105 AVL: When your father came to Tampa, did he ever think, well, I'm just gonna make some money and go back?
143AR: No, no, no.
144AVL: He decided to settle here?
145335 AR: No, this was-his country. Now that doesn't mean that he didn't have a desire to go back. And he did, as soon as he could, financially, and-of course there was, this was after World War II, actually. But-I don't remember the year that he went back, but it was in the, probably in the late '40s. When he went back for the first time.
146AVL: But he returned, then?
147AR: Oh, yes, he just went-
148AVL: Went to visit-
149330 AR: -he just went to visit the family. No, he never entertained any idea of staying in Spain. He liked being there, and he liked to see his family and-my mother's family-and the same thing happened to me, you know. I didn't go back to Spain until 1970. It had been almost 40 years, since I had left. And I'd still like to go back.
150201 AVL: Looking back, when [Francisco] Franco was in power, almost 40 years, would you say that the people here in Tampa came to grips with that? In terms of saying, well maybe it was for the better, or-?
151AR: Yes, many-sure.
152AVL: How, how were the feelings changing through the years?
153331 AR: I'm sure that they felt that it was something they had to live with, and there was no way to overturn the government because he was very well entrenched and, the military was all behind him and, so they went back anyway. Matter of fact, when I went back in 1970, he was still alive, and still in power. So, we just accepted it.
15476 AVL: Do you remember when he died, what the reaction of the people here was?
155384 AR: I'm sure there were no long faces. I think everybody was glad he was gone. And, you know, it wasn't long after he was gone that the country returned to a democratic form of government. Although the King's still King, but he's a very democratic King and we have the courts-I mean as we call it over there, the Congress and everything is done in, pretty much the way it's done here.
156202 AVL: Okay, before concluding this interview, I would like to ask you if there is anything else you would like to include in the interview that I forgot to mention, or some topic that you would like to-?
157118 AR: Well, I don't know; let me look at the list there. Oh, I got one here. Maybe it will refresh my mind a little bit.
158116 AVL: -something that you think we should have discussed, or some aspect that you want to make sure is included here?
159AR: You know it's a shame that you never got to-I don't think you did, anyway-know Victoriano Manteiga.
160AVL: No.
161AR: Because he was-
16223 AVL: Tell me about him.
163AR: Boy, he was a Loyalist from, very, very-
16465 AVL: What do you remember of him? He was the editor of La Gaceta.
165129 AR: Well, he was making speeches and writing in the paper, and everything he wrote was pro--Republic, and very, very vocal about-
16657 AVL: What newspapers did you use to read. What newspaper?
16714 AR: Newspaper?
1689 AVL: Yes.
16912 AR: Who, me?
170AVL: Yes.
171602 AR: Well, primarily the two papers that we had here. One of which still exists, the Tampa Tribune. And the Tampa Daily Times. Yeah, those, I read those very regularly. I still read the Tribune every day. Matter of fact, I worked as a newspaper carrier for both of them. I started with the Tampa Daily Times and then worked for them for about a year and then I moved over to the Tribune because it was a bigger paper and, we just made a little more money working with the Tribune. So. I delivered the Tribune all the way through high school. I guess I worked for the Tribune for about five or six years.
172171 AVL: Apart from Victoriano Manteiga, was there any other person that, you know, you remember like a major force in bringing the people together in support of the Republic?
173292 AR: I'm sure there were others, but I really don't, the social clubs, I think were kind of the nucleus of the whole thing. And of course, Victoriano Manteiga had the paper, then, in which he could express his views, and also write about the economy and everything that was happening in Spain.
17436 AVL: So what do you remember of him?
17511 AR: Of him?
176AVL: Yes.
177AR: Oh, I have very good recollections of him. He and my father.
178Side A ends; side B begins
17942 AVL: Yes, you were talking about Manteiga-
180635 AR: Well, he was a very strong force in the Latin community, Spanish community in particular, because everybody read La Gaceta you know, and his editorials and the news that he received from overseas and it was a very well read paper. He was a very liberal-minded person-not only in respect to the Spanish-but in our own country, he was for Franklin D. Roosevelt and all he stood for, and very liberal thinker. I understand, and I never knew him then, but I understand he was a reader at the factories. And of course everything he read, I'm sure it was written by some of the liberal writers of the time. And before the time, you know.
181704 Some-well, most of the cigar makers, although they probably didn't read a whole lot themselves, but they were exposed to some of the finest works of the time, and before then that were read to them at the cigar factories. And some of the manufacturers weren't too keen on that type of reading, you know-they didn't quite fit with their thinking. So I think, eventually, they got rid of most of them. Eventually they stopped reading to the-and of course that also was part of the evolution of the radio, and, I remember going through the cigar factories in the-by that time most of them were women, I think-that they had their radio and their earphones and they were listening to the radio instead of, so.
182AVL: Instead of the readers.
183180 AR: So. No, I think that was just an evolution of the radio, and communications in general. But,Victoriano, I think, deserves a place in the hearts of the Latin community in Tampa.
18443 AVL: Was he present at all at these events?
185424 AR: Yes, mostly yes. He's the one that-when the, say the Ambassador would come to speak, he was the one that introduced him to the people, and, you know. Very, very intelligent man. Well read, and, very lucid when he spoke, and, I have a lot of respect. And fortunately his son, Rolando, has kept up the paper, and-and I think it's, Rolando his son, is also a very liberal thinker. So. I don't know what, anything I can add.
186AVL: Yes, maybe there is some aspect that I have forgotten to mention, or that is fresh in your memory that we haven't discussed. I just wanted to make sure that you had the opportunity to add anything.
187AR: Okay. If anything else comes to mind, I'll certainly let you know.
18810 AVL: Okay.
189AR: You can add it to what I've already said.
190128 AVL: Okay. This concludes our interview. Thank you very much for participating in this project and allowing me to interview you.
191AR: You're certainly welcome. I'm sure I've repeated a lot of things that you've already recorded, but-
192AVL: No, not really. Everybody-
193AR: -everybody has a different-
194AVL: Yes, a different story to tell.
195End of interview
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COPYRIGHT NOTICE This Oral History is copyrighted by the University of South Florida Libraries Oral History Program on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida. Copyright, 2009, University of South Florida. All rights, reserved This oral history may be used for research, instruction, and private study under the provisions of the Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of the United States Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section 107), which allows limited use of copyrig hted materials under certain conditions. Fair Use limits the amount of material that may be used. For all other permissions and requests, contact the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH FLORIDA LIBRARIES ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM at the University of South Florida, 4202 E. Fo wler Avenue, LIB 122, Tampa, FL 33620.

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1 Spanish Civil War Oral History Project Oral History Program Florida Studies Center University of South Florida, Tampa Library Digital Object Identifier: S64 00026 Interviewee: Angel Ra–—n (AR) Interview by: Ana M. Varela Lago (AVL) I nterview date: March 10, 1997 Interview location: University of South Florida, Tampa Transcribed by: U nknown Transcription date: U nknown Interview changes by: Arlen Bensen Interview changes date: November 25, 2008 Additional changes by: Mary Beth Isaacson Additional changes date: November 26, 2008 Final edit by: Maria Kreiser Final edit by: January 28, 2009 A na M. V arela L ago : This is an interview with Mr. Angel Ra–—n. Mr. Ra–—n, first I would like to start by talking a little bit about your family. Could you tell me, how did your family first come to Tampa, and why? What did they do here? A ngel R a–—n : Well, my father was the first to come. To Tampa. He came by way of Cuba. Havana. And, he spent probably, as near as I can figure out, about a year in Havana. And then he came to Tampa. And my mother stayed behind, together with my brother and myself. And the three of us eventually came to Tampa. By the same route, through Havana and then to Tampa. Although we didn't spend any time in Havana, jus t a few days. And have been here ever since. AVL: Where did they come from, your parents? AR: Well they came from the province of Lugo. Which is AVL: Both of them? They were from the same ? AR: Both of them, yes. They lived very close to each other, in the same village. They're both, just, they were born just days apart. My father was born in, May the 1st of 19 I'm sorry, 1899. And my mother was born May the 22nd of the same year. So they more or less grew up toge ther, you know. AVL: Why did they leave Spain? AR: Why did they leave Spain? Well, my father I'm only speculating from what I've heard my father was, of military age, or soon would be, and I think he wante d to get away from, the military how shall I say commitment, or whatever they had with the country, and, beca use it

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2 was very difficult. And also to look for a better place to earn a living for his family. AVL: So he first went to Cuba? What did he do there? AR: He was a furniture and cabinet maker And he had a relative who, his name was Jose Acevedo, who had a very, very large factory of furniture and so he went to work with him, and he worked for him until he came to Tampa. AVL: Was he the first in your family to leave? From there? AR: No I ha d another uncle who had my father came here in 1920. AVL: Here, to Tampa? AR: Well, to Tampa Cuba and Tampa, because I think it happened within a year's time. He had a brother who had come earlier and I don't know what year he came, but he died in Tampa in the year 1913. And he's buried in the old Centro Espa–ol Cemetery. AVL: So once he was in Tampa then he decided to bring his family? AR: Well, he started as soon as he got here he started working in the construction business in a very small way, and he stayed in it until the day he died. AVL: So when did you come to Tampa? AR: Me? I came here in 1931. Arriving in January 11 th AVL: With your mother and AR: Mother and my brother John. AVL: your brother. AR: Yes. AVL: Could you tell me a little bit, your memories about growing up in Tampa? How old were you when you came? AR: I was not quite 11 years old. And as soon as I got here, I was placed in school, without knowing the first word of the English language. AVL: What school was that? AR: Robert E. Lee [Elementary School] AVL: Robert E. Lee.

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3 AR: Elementary, yes. And, they put me in the first grade and, with children who were considerably younger than I was, and that kind of put me out of place, but eventually I was several times I was double promoted as I became more familiar with the language. My education, of course, was at the 11 th year level where, I was placed in the 6t h year level, so as soon as I began to understand the language and became so mewhat knowledgeable about it, I was double promoted a number of times. So that by the time I graduated from high school I was just barely behind the other graduates. AVL: How about your family? Did they use English in your home, or ? AR: No, because my mother didn't speak any English. Eventually she spoke well enough to get along, but she never really mastered it. My father did. I mean, he learned the language pretty well, read and write and everything else. So. AVL: So how was the change from Galicia to here, to Tampa? What do you re member, like things you li ked most, things you hated most? AR: Well I don't know that I hated anything. I fell right into the s ystem here and I had the only problem that I had was the language, and it didn't take me very long to overcome that, so. I fel l right in, right in pla c e, anyway. I had AVL: An easy transition coming from there to here? AR: Yes, it was. AVL: Where did you live at that point? In Ybor City? AR: Well it wasn't really considered Ybor City, but it was just north of what is consi dered Ybor City. J ust a few blocks. I lived o n 10th Street between 19th and 21 st Avenue [s] And 10th Street is only two blocks east of Nebraska Avenue, so. AVL: Then you went to high school, and AR: Well I went to junior high. I went to George Washington Junior High School, which was not too far from home. We walked, we walked to both elementary school and junior high, and walked back. Then on, went o n to high school. And although high school was at least a couple of miles from where I lived, I rode a bicycle. We didn't have automobiles. So. I did a lot of riding. AVL: How about the social life in Ybor City, did you belong to the clubs? AR: Well I belonged to Centro Espa – ol. And when I finished h igh school, I was old enough to become a member. And almost as soon as I graduated from high school they, I joined the Club, and I was recruited to belong to the, what they call the Secci —n de Recreo y Adorno. W hich is a, it was a social grou p that was inv olved in putting o n dances and other festivities. And I kind of grew up in that atmosphere. And we, while I was a member of the Secci — n de Recreo, we had

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4 dances all throughout the year o n Sunday afternoons. Except during the summer when it was closed dow n. And it was a fun time in my life. Spent a lot of hours in the Centro Espa – ol, and gave a lot of my time to it. Matter of fact, I was a, probably about the second year that I was a member of the Secci — n de Recreo, I w as the recording secretary. And all o ur meetings were in Spanish and everything was recorded in Spanish. And I was hoping that some of that was here at the universi ty. And I' ve looked, and I haven't found anything that I think those records must have been lost. Or perhaps I just didn't find t hem. AVL: What can you tell me about the 1930s in Tampa what was that decade ? AR: Well, it was a very difficult time because, we were just at the end of the D epression, and it was very difficult. My father always had work, but it didn't pay a whole lot, so but we, we survived very well. I don't know what else I can tel l you that, sometimes we didn't know when, when the next money would come into the family, but we did very well, I would say. We never lacked for anything. AVL: Okay. I would like to start talking now about the Spanish Civil War. And, just ask you, first, whatever memories come to mind when you think about that, that time. AR: Well, the thing that's see I was about what, 15, 16 years old when this, the war started and, the thing that I rem ember the most, I guess, was when they woul d get together at a storefront o n 7th Avenue, mostly the women, and they collected clothing to ship to Spain. And I sometimes went down there to help. And one of the things that I did was help them pack cigar cutt ings, so that they could have cigarettes to smoke. And they put them in the little bags cloth bags and all of that went to Spain. And I remember the collections that they us ed to make at the steps of the c igar factories. And outside as well and where, cigar makers came out of the cigar factories, they always had a quarter or fifty cents, or whatever they felt they could afford, and that was all used to buy things to send to Spain; medical supplies. And I believe they also collected enough to where they were able to buy four ambulances that also went to Spain. AVL: Was your family involved in this committee, the Comit Ž Popular, or were there any ? AR: Not directly that I can recall, except to, for the work that they did with the collection of clothing. And I know my father contributed monetarily to the Frente Popular. And I suppose that's where the money for the ambulances came from. AVL: Those were weekly collections? AR: Ye, every week, every week. AVL: And they used to go around Ybor City, to AR: Ybor City, yes. Because my father didn't work at the factory, so they, you know, came soliciting funds at my father's office, which at that time he had an office and it was o n a regular basis.

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5 AVL: Do you remember any of the speakers who came her e to tal k about what was going o n in Spain? I've heard that the Ambassador came here a few times. Do you remember any of those events? AR: The Ambassador to Spain in Washington at that time, repre sented the Republic. And he cam e to speak, I think at the Centro As turiano, perhaps other locations. And I remember going to listen to him, but I really don't remember what he really talked about. AVL: Were those events attended? I mean AR: Well attended? AVL: were people yes well attended? AR: Oh yes. They usually spoke at the Centro Asturiano. In the theater. And also at the Labor Temple. And the theater at the Centro Asturiano probably has a capacity of probably 900, or so. And it was always filled to capacity. AVL: Who would attend those event s, you would say. Spanish mainly or ? AR: Yes mainly; si mainly Spanish, yes. AVL: other ethnic groups like the Cubans and Italians, or ? AR: Well I'm sure there were some but, mainly the Spanish. AVL : What could you tel l me about the relations b etween Cubans, Italians, and th e Spanish, regarding the war? AR: Well, as I remember, the Italians were supportive of the Frente Popular. I don't think that they took as an active a part. But they were very supportive with donations, you know, as well as their own personal feelings about it. And the Cubans, probably are about the s ame thing. They all contributed. AVL: How about the Americans? AR: Well, probably not very much. Because Ybor City was kind of a place of its own, you know, and not, they were not integrated into the city as such to any great extent. So, they were isolated, you know. At least in my opinion. AVL: How about news from Spain how did the Tampa community lea rn about what was going on? AR: Well, we had, I think, three newspapers in T ampa at that time. La Gaceta La Prensa and La Traducci—n And, eventually the Traducci—n and the Prensa joined forces and they became La Traducci—n Prensa And I think they al l received news from Spain. And I know my father

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6 had a short wave radio at home, and every night of the week he'd sit by the radio and listen to the news from Madrid. I think they used to start the newscast by saying, let' s see if I remember what it was one of the phrases they used was AquÂ’ Madrid ." And then they went into their newscast. AVL: How long was the newscast, do you remember? AR: It probably wasn't very long. Probably maybe 30 minutes, or so. And they gave statistics of how many people were injured and how many were killed and, from both sides of the and how many airplanes were shot down, and that sort of thing. AVL: I see. Did you receive news from your family how was your family in Spain? AR: Well they just well they wrote back and forth, yeah. I remember one of my uncles was not persecuted because they never found him, but they were, they were after him because of his liberal feelings about and his feeling for the Republic. And he had t o leave the house and go out into the mountains and kind of hide away from those who were after him. And I remember my grandmother, my pate rn al grandmother, writing to me and telling me that o n two occasions they came to the house looking for me. And of co urse she told them, "Well, he's not here any l onger, he's in the United States." And that was the end of it. Because at that time I was of military or, shouldn't have been, but I was of military age. Sixteen, seventeen, you know. And they came looking for me. AVL: Now, being so young, what do you remember your ideas about the war were? AR: Well of course I w as, I guess my ideas reflected m y parents' feelings, and my parents' feeling is that the Republic was a legally instituted government and t hey should have been given the opportunity to rule the country according to democratic principles. Like this country, you know. They fought for the same principles: liberty, the pursuit of justice and and they were very much, much into it. AVL : Could you tel l me a little bit, as the war evolved, how were the feelings of the community of course, the Republic was was losing AR: Well primarily they were in favor of the, what we call the Loyalists, which were the Republicans. I think they were overwhelmingly in favor of continuing that type of government. There were some that were opposed. Not too many and, it caused some ill feelings between friends, sometimes. AVL: Tell me more about that. AR: Yes, and I know that my father had a friend that, during the wa r, I don't think t hey spoke to each other. And, af ter the war things settled down; they became good friends again. And they visited each other and at their houses and so once it was over, it was over, you know. It was no, there were no hard feelings long lasting hard fee lings about it, everybody went o n about their business.

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7 AVL: Was there confrontations between people who, you know, didn't support the Republic? AR: I don't think so, except perhaps one, where it led to the death of the two persons that c on fronted each other. And they fel t so strongly about it that, one of the men his name was Alvarez they were neighbors. Or well known to each other at the very least. And Alvarez, they were arguing in front of their house and he went inside and got a gun a nd came over and shot the other man. Killed him. And then he committed suicide. So, that was a very, very tragic thing to happen. AV: How about discussions within the social clubs within Centro Asturiano, Centro Espa – ol were there any problems, in that r egard ? AR: No, no. Not that I recall, because primarily they all were all for, in favor of the Republic. AVL: Why do you think that support was so overwhelming here in Tampa? For the Republic. AR: Well I, I suppose that, you know most of them had come in the early part of the century and had lived here for those years, and, my father came in, he was probably one of the last immigrants to, you know, to come and they saw the benefits of the democratic governme nt and they wanted that for Spain, and I think that's why they favored the Republic so much. Because, they could see the same thing happening in Spain and they wanted that for Spain. AVL: Do you remember any conflicts between the Catholic Church here and the Latin community? AR: Not directly; only what I heard. The Loyalists, because the Catholic Church favored the [Francisco] Franco regime. I don't think there is any question about tha t. And here in Tampa a lot of people quit going to church because of t he conflict. And some people who were sending their children to Catholic school, pulled them out of that Catholic school. Because they felt that the Catholic Church had no business in trying to get invo lved in the affairs of the govern ment. So there were s ome bad feelings about that. But then, again, in time, that was all forgotten. Or most of it was forgotten; some of them never went back to the c hurch. AVL : What can you tell me about the last months of the war? I mean when Franco was obviously winning t here were all these demonstrations, asking the United States government to lift the embargo. Do you remember how the Latin community ? AR: I don't, yes, I don't recall that too much. Or at all, really. For me, once the war was over it was over, you know. You had to go on. AVL: Do you remember people, or within your family, discussing the role taken by the United States govern ment, the neutrality? And the role AR: Well they felt y es, they felt that the United States should have been more supportive of t he Loyalists. I'm sure the other side felt the other way. But, being that it was a legally instituted

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8 government, that the United States should have been more supportive and helpful. In many ways; they, financially, and see for many years after the Civil W ar was over Spain had nothing. And they felt that they should have helped out. And they didn't help the other side either, for that matter. They always took a neutral position and it was only after, I guess World War II that this country had, wanted bases in Europe and, of course Spain was kind of a crossroads for Europe in that respect. And that's when they established, with the consent of the Spanish govern ment, established air bases and naval bases and so forth, and I think that helped, eventually helped Spain quite a bit, because it brought in a lot of dollars. And they paid the govern ment for the use of this space and they created jobs because they built the air bases and that was all American money. And I think that's probably about the time that the recovery of the Spanish economy started. And it continues to this day, you know. And then, you know, the Franco govern ment had a lot of help from the German and Italian g overnments during the war. They gave him all kinds of war material, including a irplanes and what have you, to f ight. And some people feel that that was the beginning of World War II. That the axis, meaning Germany and Italy, tried out their war machi ne in Spain during the Spanish Civil War providing war material and personnel and advisors, and all of that. So. AVL: What did the community do when Franco finally won the war? Do you remember what happened then ? AR: No, there was nothing more they could do, except help the families that were left in Spain. AVL: How did they do that ? AR: By sending whatever material, you know, monetary help they could; and I remember that my family would send clothing and some, perhaps some medicines. So, that's how they because, it was very difficult food stuff, which they you know, I know that some families went hungry because of they were just fortunately in the part of Spain where I came from, being an agrarian economy, at least they had enough to eat, because they gre w their own foodstuff. My, one of my uncles and this went back back to my grandfather who had a mill where they ground grain into flour, and both wheat and corn, and oats and that continued, and I know my uncle took over the o peration of those mills that ground the wheat from the farms and, he always, and they, nobody paid him anything, monetarily. Nobody paid him anything for doing the work, but they compensated him by giving him a certain amount of the grain that he ground into flour. They gave him some of the flour and he in turn helped to feed the community, and keep them, and give the flour so they could bake the bread and feed the livestock and so forth. And they grew the family grew wheat and they grew corn and they grew potatoes and they grew turni ps, and a lot of the things that they were used to. And of course from, with that they grew animals and they had cows and they milked cows and they made cheese and, you know just all the things that they needed to subsist. AVL: Were people trying to bring part of their families to Tampa? Do you remember families trying to get their relatives out of Spain?

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9 AR: No, no. The immigration into the United States from Spain was, almost came to a stop. The only ones that I remember coming here were, came in illega lly; they, some of them were sailors that were o n these ships that came to pick up materials and some of them jumped ship, and stayed here and eventually became part of the community. And there were very few. Very few. AVL: So once Franco won the war, would you say that the war disappeared from Ybor City in that sense? AR: In that sense, yes, yes. AVL: There were no more speakers coming, or ? AR: No, no no. AVL: fundraising events, or ? AR: No, that was the end o f it. And, speaking of fundraising, they, you know, they held what we called picnics, where they cooked yellow rice and chicken and went to some park and, they had dances and sold tickets and bought the food and all the net proceeds went to to help out. AVL: Was the organization of the Centro Popular, the Comit ÂŽ Popular, pretty much similar to the ones of the clubs, I mean were the sa m e people kind of volunteering ? AR; Yes, pretty much, except that in the clubs, some of th e officials of the cl ubs were owners, or very high employees of the cigar factories, they were the presidents and, you know. And of course the cigar makers went along with them because of that's where they made their livelihood and, but most of the cigar manufacturers were favored the Franco regime. Yeah. AVL: Why do you think that was? AR: I don't know; economics, I guess. They felt that that was the best way for Spain to come out of their depression, and so forth. AVL: Were there conflicts in that sense, that people would fear to b e fired because of their support ? AR: Well, not too much, no. No. They, I suppose that they were some, but I don't think it was widespread. Yeah. And it's not to say that all the owners and so forth were supportive of the Franco regime because they were not. They also favored the Loyalists. AVL: You mentioned before that you remembered a lot of th e work done by women. Would you think that women did most of the work in this kind overall events, or, did they ? AR: Fundraising?

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10 AVL: Yes How would you characterize how the Comit ÂŽ was organized, in terms of who did what? AR: I think that, perhaps in the actual putting together these packages and bundles of medicine and clothing and tobacco and so forth, probably the women were more involved in doing that type of work. And the men usually were the ones that collected the stuff and, yeah. So I don't think it was overwhelmingly women. I think it was pretty much AVL: Let me ask you abo ut the effect that the war had o n you and the community. Wh at would you say was the effect? AR: The effect? AVL : The Spanish Civil War o n yourself AR: After the war, or prior to the war? AVL: on your family. Yes, the whole I mean, if you hadn't experienced i t you think your life would have been any differe nt, or yourself, as a person, or your family ? AR: I don't think so. We were just coming out of a recession ourselves and, I don't think it affected it in any way. Yes. I think, we came out of the recession and, I think we would have come out of the reces sion regardless, bec ause of our leadership and the p resident of the United States and the steps that he took to bring it back, and I think it would have happened anyway. So I don't think it And from that sense I don't think it affected us in any way. AVL: How about your own experience in terms of this thing happening. Did you consider yourself like an American at that point, or ? AR: Oh yes, sure sure. AVL: were you still pretty much linked to Spain? AR: Yes, no I was I'd always been, since I starte d school I always considered myself as an American. And, you know, people have asked me where my allegiance is and my allegiance is to this country you know, and first my country is the United States. And of course I've always having been born in Spain I' ll always have a soft spot in my heart for it, and I've gone back to Spain many times to see my family and the country. As much as I've been able to do. So. No, and my father was very staunch American. He felt the s ame way and says, "This is my country. And if there was ever a war between America and Spain, I would be an American." So. That's how strongly he felt about it. And, likewise, that's the way I felt. AVL: Did he become a citizen? AR: Oh yes. Yes, long long ago.

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11 AVL: Your mother, too? AR: Yes, my mother, yes. You know, I meant to bring you a book, a loose leaf book that I have of my father's and my mother's and mine, certificates of citizenship. Plus other documents that AVL: When did they b ecome citizens, already in the 3 0 s? AR: In th e '40s. And that's when I became a citizen. Matter of fact I, you know, I'd registered for the draf t here during World War II. And when I went to register for the draft, the l ady that filled out the necessary papers told me, says, because at that time I was not an American citizen. I was still a Spanish citizen. And she told me well, she says "Y ou know you don't, being a Spanish citizen, you don't have to register for s er vice." And I told her, I said "W ell, that doesn't make any difference. I want to s till register and become part of the draft." I never did serve. Because of physical conditions; I was rejected for service. But I would have gone just like everybody else did. AVL: Was there a lot of support within the Latin community when World War II st arted? AR: Oh yes. Oh sure. AVL: Why would you think that somebody, like yourself, who had grown up in another country, why do you think people became so loyal to the United States? AR: Well by that time the AVL: I mean to the point of offering AR: Most of the young people the overwhelming majority of the young people were born in this country, so it's AVL: But how about the immigrants? Because, a lot of Spaniards immigrated to other countries, you know AR: Yes, sure, sure. AR: to Latin America, and they always considered themselves Spaniards AR: Spaniard. AVL: I mean they went there, they made their money, and then, you know, they thanked the country in that sense more economical, but AR: Yes. Well a lot of them came to Cuba and Argentina, and they came with the idea that they were going to make their fortune and go back. Many of them did. But many of them never left.

PAGE 13

12 AVL: When your father came to Tampa, did he ever think, well I'm just gonna make some money and go back? AR: No, no no. AVL: He decided to settle here? AR: No, this was his country. Now that doesn't mean that he didn't have a desire to go back. And he did, as soon as he could, financially and of course there was, this was after W orld War II, actually. But I don't remember the year that he went back, but it was in the, probably in the late '40s. When he went back for the first time. AVL: But he returned, then? AR: Oh yes, he just went AVL: Went to visit AR: he just went t o visit the family. No, he never entertained any idea of staying in Spain. He liked being there, and he liked to see his family and my mother's family an d the sam e thing happened to me, you know. I didn't go back to Spain until 1970. It had been almost 40 years, since I had left. And I'd still like to go back. AVL: Looking back, when [Francisco] Franco was in power, almost 40 years, would you say that the people here in Tampa came to grips with that? In terms of saying, well maybe it was for the better, or ? AR: Yes, many sure. AVL: How, how were the feelings changing through the years? AR: I'm sure that they felt that it was something they had to live with, and there was no way to overturn the govern ment because he was very well entrenched and, the military was all behind him and, so they went back anyway. Matter of fact, when I went back in 1970, he was still alive, and still in power. So, we just accepted it. AVL: Do you remember when he died, what the reaction of the people here was? AR: I'm sur e there were no long faces. I think everybody was glad he was gone. And, you know, it wasn't long after he was gone that the country returned to a democratic form of government. Although the King's still King, but he's a very democratic King and we have the courts I mean as we call it over there, the Congress and everything is done in, pretty much the way it's done here. AVL: Okay, before concluding this interview, I would like to ask you if there is any thing else you would like to inc lude in the interview that I forgot to mention, or some topic that you would

PAGE 14

13 like to ? AR: Well, I don't know; let me look at the list there. Oh I got one here. Maybe it will refresh my mind a little bit. AVL: something that you think we should have discus sed, or some aspect that you wan t to make sure is included here? AR: You know it's a shame that you never got to I don't think you did, anyway know Victoriano Manteiga. AVL: No. AR: Because he was AVL: Tell me about him. AR: Boy, he was a Loyalist from, very very AVL: What do you remember of him? He was the editor of La Gaceta. AR: Well he was making speeches and writing in the paper, and everything he wrote was pro Republic, and very, very vocal about AVL: What newspapers did you use to read. What newspaper? AR: Newspaper? AVL: Yes. AR: Who, me? AVL: Yes. AR: Well, primarily the two papers that we had here. One of which still exists, the Tampa Tribune. And the Tampa Daily Times. Yeah, those, I read those very regularly. I still read the Tribune every day. Matter of fact, I worked as a newspaper carrier for both of them. I started with the Tampa Daily Times and then worked for them for about a year and then I moved over to the Tribune because it was a bigger paper and, we just made a little more money working with the Tribune So. I d elivered the Tribune all the wa y through high school. I guess I worked for the Tribune for about five or six years. AVL: Apart from Victoriano Manteiga, was there any other person that, you know, you remember like a major force in bringing the people toge ther in support of the Republic? AR: I'm sure there were others, but I really don't, the social clubs, I think were kind of the

PAGE 15

14 nucleus of the whole thing. And of course, Victoriano Manteiga had the paper then in which he could express his views, and al so write about the economy and everything that was happening in Spain. AVL: So what do you remember of him? AR: Of him? AVL: Yes. AR: Oh I have very good recollections of him. He and my father. Side A ends; side B begins AVL: Yes, you were talking a bout Manteiga AR: Well he was a very strong force in the Latin community, Spanish community in particular, because everybody read La Gaceta you know, and his editorials and the news that he received from overseas and it was a very well read paper. He was a very liberal minded person not only in respect to the Spanish but in our own country, he was for Franklin D. Roosevelt and all he stood fo r, and very liberal thinker. I understand, and I never knew him then, but I understand he was a reader at the factories. And of course everything he read, I'm sure it was written by some of the liberal writers of the time. And before the time, yo u know. Some well most of the c igar makers, although they probably didn't read a whole lot themselves, but they were exposed to some of the finest works of the time, and before then that were read to them at the cigar factories. And some of the man ufacturers were n't too keen o n that type of reading, you know they didn't quite fit with their thinking. So I think eventually they got rid of most of them. Eventually they stopped reading to the and of course that also was part of the evolution of the radio, and, I re member going through the cigar factories in the by that time most of them were women, I think that they had their radio and their earphones and they were listening to the radio instead of, so. AVL: Instead of the readers. AR: So. No, I think that was jus t an evolution of the radio, and communications in general. But, Victoriano I think, deserves a place in the hearts of the Latin community in Tampa. AVL: Was he present at all at these events? AR: Yes, mostly yes. He's the one that when the, say the Amb assador would come to speak, he was the one that introduced him to the people, and you know. Very very intelligent man. Well read, and, very lucid when he spoke, and, I have a lot of respect. And fortunately his son, Rolando, has kept up the paper, and a nd I think it's, Rolando his son, is also a very liberal thinker. So. I don't know what, anything I can add.

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15 AVL: Yes, maybe there is some aspect that I have forgotten to mention, or that is fresh in your memory that we haven't discussed. I just wanted to make sure that you had the opportunity to add anything. AR: Okay. If anything else comes to mind, I'll certainly let you know. AVL: Okay. AR: You can add it to what I've already said. AVL: Okay. This concludes our interview. Thank you very much for participating in this project and allowing me to interview you. AR: You're certainly welcome I'm sure I've repeated a lot of things that you've already recorded, but AVL: No, not really. Everybody AR : everybody has a different AVL: Yes, a different story to tell. End of interview


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