Latin American exiles in Spanish citizenship queues

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on December 27, 2011

Queues could be seen outside Spanish consulates across Latin America today on the last day for descendants of Spanish exiles being able to apply for citizenship.

From 2008, over 200,000 people with parents or grandparents that fled Spain sometime during the civil war from 1936 to 39 civil war or the
Franco dictatorship4 were recognised as Spanish. The majority of the applicants hailed from Latin American countries such as Cuba and
Argentina.

Applications came under a law that addresses the legacy of one of Europe’s most infamous conflicts – the Historic Memory Law that was
passed by Spain’s then-ruling socialist government in 2007. Known as the Law of Grandchildren, the law offering anyone with parents or
grandparents born in Spain that left the country on the grounds of their political beliefs between 1936 and 1955 was brought in at the
start of 2008.

The three-year period over which applications were able to be made expired today, which is why large queues could be seen outside Spanish consulates such as the one in Havana, the capital of Cuba, where people rushed while attempting to beat the deadline.
Spanish embassy officials insist that anything up to 180,000 Cubans might be eligible to gain Spanish citizenship – which is more than one
per cent of Cuba’s entire population. Similarly, in Argentina, 300,000 people are thought to be eligible for Spanish citizenship.

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