The question remains: why did the Spanish government allow representatives from one of the world’s most horrifying dictatorships to sniff about in Barcelona, Benidorm and Orpesa?
Now that the Catalan (and Valencian) beach season is once again rolling into oblivion many people seem to have forgotten (if they ever knew) that back in the busy days of late June, a delegation of North Korean officials visited Barcelona, Benidorm, and the nearby vacation complex of Marina d’Or (located in Orpesa in Valencia, and owned by a Barcelonan). Before we go on, it should perhaps not be overlooked that the North Korean regime - in place since 1953 - is not a nice one. In his memoir ’This is Paradise!’, refugee Hyok Kang recalls the 1990s under Kim Jong-Il, when millions died of famine (including most of Kang’s schoolmates and teachers) while the Dear Leader himself was gorging himself on imported delicacies and swig after swig of pricey booze. (70% of the population are still suffering from chronic malnutrition). In Kang’s small town alone, six to seven executions a year were carried out, for ’crimes’ such as stealing copper wire; the victims were put on display in a special padded suit which turns red when the bullets hit them but prevents the blood from splashing the spectators. Army official Kim Yong, on the other hand, has written about being sent to Labour Camp 14 with his mother, because it had been discovered that his father, a street food vendor living near the demarcation line, had once sold his fare to American soldiers. Yong found himself working in mine shafts nearly a full kilometre below ground, subsisting on grains of boiled wheat and corn kernels. He watched as his mother was shot for trying to eat some grass. (When the North Koreans recently repatriated American Otto Warmbier with his brains smashed to a pulp, it was almost certainly to avoid his providing eye-witness testimony of camps like this). Indeed, according to the UN, HRW and AI, North Korea is one of the worst countries for human rights abuses on the planet. The North Korean officials on the Valencian coast were looking for inspiration for a projected holiday complex in Wonsan, a city on the country’s east coast. It is no surprise, perhaps, that they fell in love with Marina d’Or, a stunningly dull leisure resort with buildings that look like miniature versions of Pyongyang’s - only less interesting - and whose dwellers can either choose between being at their wit’s end for something to do, or getting so pissed that they end up laughing hollowly on the edge of swimming pools or slouching morosely on café terraces. The question remains: why did the Spanish government allow representatives from one of the world’s most horrifying dictatorships to sniff about in Barcelona, Benidorm and Orpesa? And, more to the point, why were there no popular protests against their visit? After all - and I’m aware that this is a bit obvious - if they’d come from, say, Israel ...
- Catalonia Today 03-09-2017 Pàgina 5