Friday, July 24, 2009

How Spain Lost Its Share Of The Moon

With all the commemoration of the anniversary of the moon landing, questions have started to be asked in Spain about the location of the samples of moon rock presented to the country. It seems that Henry Kissinger wandered the globe in the early 70's with a bag of moon rocks to hand out like candy to all of the Nixon administration's favourite dictatorships. Spain got two rocks, or perhaps they should be called pebbles. One of these was presented to Franco's prime minister Carrero Blanco and his family understood this to be a gift to the country rather than the individual. For that reason it is now displayed in the Naval Museum together with what is always far too politely described as a "pre-constitutional" Spanish flag.

The whereabout of the other rock/stone/pebble that was presented to Franco himself is something of a mystery. The dictator's grandson claims that it has been lost by his mother because they have so many properties and possessions it's impossible to keep track of them. Although he admits that enquiries were made concerning the value of the lunar souvenir with auction houses, he denies that the Franco family sold it off. With that confusion between individual and state that is so common with dictators the Franco family is adamant that the gift belongs to them and not the country.

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