Spain: The Man Upstairs

When solicitous old friends asked Manuel Cortés Quero, 63, how he was feeling, he replied: "These shoes are killing me." With good reason. For the past 30 years Cortés has been shoeless, padding around in carpet slippers in an upstairs room of his house in Mijas, above the seaport of Málaga. His self-imposed imprisonment ended last week when Generalissimo Francisco Franco ordered an amnesty for all survivors of the losing Republican side in the Spanish Civil War of three decades ago.

Cortés had not only served on the Republican side but, even worse, had before the war been elected mayor of...

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