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<bleeding_heart>

Spain compensates 'war children'

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The Spanish government is to compensate citizens who were forced to flee abroad as children during the 1930s civil war.

The cabinet said it will pay the survivors 6,090 euros (£4,200) - the equivalent of a pension.

Campaigners say there are about 540 so-called "war children" alive, most in eastern Europe and Latin America.

Correspondents say it is the latest initiative in a new drive by the Spanish government to compensate the victims of the former dictatorship.

Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said the move was a way to "recognise Spain's historic debt to these compatriots".

The new pension has been welcomed by the civil war refugees.

"We've always asked for this. With this benefit we can live better and also we can visit Spain," said Francisco Mansilla, president of Moscow's Spanish Centre.

In exile

During the 1936-39 civil war, fought between Francisco Franco's Nationalists and the Republican government, about 3,000 children from government-held areas were sent to the former Soviet Union.

Manuel Arce, 75, President of the Nostalgia Foundation, which represents the former "war children", said most thought they would return home quickly.

"The parents were in the Republican army and they thought it wouldn't be for long. But it went on for longer... some people have been [in the former Soviet Union] 60 odd years."

Many former "war children" were put off returning home during Franco's 40 year dictatorship, and about 2,000 came back after Franco died in 1975.

Only about 60 are alive in Spain today.

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Odd, no mention of the Anarchist communities franco destroyed. Gotta love the mainstream media, doesnt even report history

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