End of an Era?

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MADRID, SPAIN: Thursday's indictment of former Spanish interior minister Jose Barrionuevo on charges that he ordered the killing and kidnapping of Basque separatists could signal the end of Socialist Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez's 14-year reign. "This announcement is a slap in the face to Gonzalez and his party," reports TIME's Jane Walker from Madrid. "People have a hard time believing that Gonzalez did not know about the death squads. But the Prime Minister has given no indication that he will take Barrionuevo's name off a candidate list for the March 3 national elections. Gonzalez is on the wrong side of public sentiment on the issue of the separtists now. In the 1980s, people were applauding the war, but that has changed and he could suffer because of his support of Barrionuevo." Barrionuevo, who served as interior minister from 1982 to 1998, is accused along with 13 others of funding and directing more than two dozen murders during the 1980s. Now free on $125,000 bond, he faces 35 years in prison if convicted.