Geoff Pingree

Geoff Pingree report from Spain for The Christian Science Monitor.

Recent Articles

One Step Forward …

Over several days this fall, an estimated 1,500 sub-Saharan Africans tried to enter Europe by scaling the wire fences that separate the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla from the rest of Morocco. In the midst of this attempt, on September 29, Morocco's prime minister, Driss Jettou, signaled in talks with Spain's president, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, Morocco's apparent commitment to diplomatic means to stem the northward tide of illegal immigration. But Morocco's actions spoke louder than Jettou's words: Government forces killed 14 of the would-be immigrants and wounded dozens more. And when the desperate young men who had walked to Europe's border from Congo, Mali, and Senegal remained in makeshift camps nearby, awaiting another chance to breach the fences, Moroccan security forces packed them on to buses and dumped them in the desert. The dissonance between Jettou's publicized meeting and his police's tactics epitomizes Morocco's recent attempts to become a more open society...

Zapatero Steps Up

“Aim well, miliciano , for you defend the Republic.” On a barren hill in Asturias, Spain, near the border with León, José Fernández, a Loyalist soldier, etched this phrase into wet cement in September 1936, adding, “The Trench of Captain Lozano.” Written to commemorate a friend who'd been shot weeks before by Nationalist troops for refusing to desert the army of Spain's democratically elected government, Fernández's words remain visible in the rough stone 70 years later. They are a potent tribute to Lozano, a soldier who gave his life for the republic's ideals. But in today's Spain, there is a memorial even more powerful: the man named José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who, in addition to being prime minister, is Lozano's grandson. Zapatero's heritage is not insignificant. The man whom some Americans consider this generation's Neville Chamberlain is, for the people who elected him, more activist than appeaser. In his first year in office, Zapatero has pulled Spain's troops out of Iraq,...