Jorge Mesa

Jorge Mesa

Communist Poet, Longest-Serving Prisoner of Franco, Dies at 96

Marcos Ana, a lifelong Communist and anti-fascist, and the longest serving prisoner of the Franco regime died on Thursday in Madrid at age 96.

Marcos Ana, born Fernando Macarro Castillo, was a celebrated poet, lifelong Communist, and perhaps best known as the man who spent the most time imprisoned by the fascist regime of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco regime. Jailed by Franco at the age of 19, he was released 23 years later, in 1961, thanks to an international solidarity campaign led by the likes of Pablo Neruda.

"I am a child of solidarity. It’s not just a beautiful word; it’s an attitude towards injustice, which is still necessary. I owe it my liberty and my life," said Ana.

ANALYSIS: Second Spanish Republic Holds Valuable Lessons

Born to a humble family in Salamanca, Spain in 1920, he left school at 13 to work to support his family and soon joined the young Socialists of Spain rising to become a regional secretary just before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. During the war, he joined the Communist Party of Spain and played a key role in the opposition to Franco.

Captured by Franco's forces in 1939, he would spend the next 23 years in jail, surviving two death sentences, torture, and multiple beatings. While in prison, Ana continued his political work. Along with fellow Communists, anarchists and artists he created a clandestine newspaper and offered tutorials to fellow inmates.

It was in prison that he also began writing poems under the pseudonym Marcos Ana, named after his father who was killed by Franco's forces in 1937 as well as his mother who died while he was in prison. The poems, smuggled out by prison guards and comrades who had memorized the lines before being released, were eventually compiled and sent to a printer in Brazil. The publication in Brazil of his first volume of poetry, "Poems From Prison," brought him to the attention of Pablo Neruda, who would go on to spearhead the international campaign for Ana´s release, along with the newly-formed Amnesty International.

RELATED: 40 Years After Franco, People Demand Truth and Justice in Spain

After his release in 1961, Ana continued his activism in exile in France as head of the Center for Information and Solidarity with Spain which included Pablo Picasso as an honorary president. From France as a member of the central committee of Spain's Communist Party, Ana toured the world organizing aid and solidarity campaigns for fellow exiles and opponents of Franco.

In a speech in London in 1962, Ana said, "The only revenge to which I aspire is to see the triumph of the noble ideals of freedom and social justice, for which we have fought and for which thousands of Spanish democrats lost their freedom or their lives."

He returned to Spain in 1976 after the death of Franco and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate for the Community Party in the 1977 elections.

During his birthdays, he would subtract the 23 years he spent in jail from his age and often remarked that he felt he had been born twice, first on the day of his birth and later when he was finally released from prison on Nov. 17, 1961. In 2007 he published his memoirs "Tell Me What a Tree Looks Like: Memories of Prison and Life," with a foreword by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, and to which Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar acquired the film rights in 2008.

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Robert De Niro says he can't punch Donald trump since he's US President now

Hollywood actor Robert De Niro, who had said that he wanted to punch President-elect Donald Trump in the face, has now said that he can't do so since Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States.

"I can't do that now he's president. And I have to respect that position. I just have to see what he's going to do and how he's going to follow through on certain things. And as we even see now in a lot of cities, there's a lot of people getting very upset and protesting," De Niro said on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live! show when the host asked if the actor would still punch Trump in the face.

"Are you still going to punch Donald Trump in the face because you could now get arrested for that, I think?" Kimmel had asked the actor.

De Niro, who appeared on the show on Wednesday night to talk about Trump's surprise victory, had earlier released a video in which he called the new president-elect "an idiot, a national disaster, an embarrassment to this country ... this fool, this bozo."

The video, released in October, also led to an argument with Republican supporter Jon Voight who was called "delusional" by De Niro for supporting Trump.

Kimmel asked De Niro whether the effect of the protests was opposite of what was expected or desired: "I'm sure President Obama is speaking from his own personal experience when he didn't get a lot of support and he's saying, 'Hey, we have to ... you know, we're all on the same team.' But occasionally teammates do punch each other in the face."

De Niro replied saying: "Maybe he [Obama] will when he sees him."

The actor also joked that he might have to use his Italian citizenship: "I'll probably have to move there."

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Brad Pitt: FBI considers investigation over plane claim

The FBI says it is gathering information about an alleged incident involving Brad Pitt and his children aboard a private flight last week.

It said it was evaluating whether to launch an investigation.

Pitt's wife Angelina Jolie filed for divorce on Monday citing irreconcilable differences.

Jolie has asked for physical custody of the couple's six children, asking the judge to give Pitt visitation rights.

The FBI told the BBC: "In response to your inquiry regarding allegations within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States; specifically, an aircraft carrying Mr Brad Pitt and his children, the FBI is continuing to gather facts and will evaluate whether an investigation at the federal level will be pursued."

Pitt released a statement to People magazine after Jolie filed for divorce, saying he was "saddened", and adding: "What matters most now is the well-being of our kids. I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time."

  http://ichef-1.bbci.co.uk/news/624/cpsprodpb/15433/production/_91319078_nov15ap.jpg   Jolie had filed for the dissolution of their marriage / AP 

Jolie's lawyer, Robert Offer, said the decision to divorce had been made "for the health of the family".

Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services said it could not confirm or deny whether it was investigating Pitt because of confidentiality laws.

Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has said it is not investigating actor Brad Pitt in connection with reports of allegations regarding his children, following claims they were looking into the matter.

They told the BBC: "The LAPD is not handling any report or allegations into child abuse for Mr Brad Pitt."

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Brazil TV star Domingos Montagner drowns on set of soap opera

One of Brazil's best-loved television actors, Domingos Montagner, has drowned in a river where the crew had been recording scenes for the country's most popular soap opera.

Montagner played the leading role in Velho Chico, a soap opera named after the Sao Francisco river where he died.

The 54-year-old had gone for a swim with an actress after a day of shooting in the north-eastern state of Sergipe.

She said he was dragged away by the river's strong currents.

The actress, Camila Pitanga, cried for help but local people failed to act initially as they believed the drowning was a scene in the soap opera.

Authorities said there was little that anyone could have done.

In the soap opera, Montagner played a farmer who often fought off local gunmen. In one of those clashes, he was shot multiple times and appeared to drown in the same Sao Francisco river, but reappeared weeks later.

'Dangerous area'

"They thought they had chosen a safe spot to swim, but that is one of the most dangerous areas in the town of Caninde and usually avoided by locals," police chief Antonio Francisco Filho told O Globo.

One person, on average, has drowned every year in the town since 2005, reports said.

TV presenter Angelica Huck wrote on Instagram: "I can't believe it - an incredible actor and human being. May God give light and peace to his family"

Four hours after the incident, rescue teams found Montagner's body underwater, some 300 metres (984ft) from where he drowned.

'Life imitates art'

Montagner was born in Sao Paulo and had a career in the circus before becoming a television actor, in 2008.

This was his 12th role on TV. His first significant soap opera role was in 2011, and he had his film debut in 2012.


A soap opera affair

  • Soap operas, or novelas, are traditionally some of the most-watched TV programmes in Brazil, and are broadcast in dozens of other countries
  • The main time slot, at 2100 on Globo TV, is watched, on average, by 50% of the viewing public
  • In key moments that number can reach up to 80%
  • In 2012 Globo said one of its most successful soap operas was watched by 38m people daily
  • But viewership has declined in recent years mainly because of paid TV channels and new viewing habits
  • Each episode reportedly costs up to 800,000 reais ($242,000; £183,000) to make
  • And a 30-second commercial break at a final episode can cost 500,000 reais ($151,000; £114,000)

Brazil's love for soap operas


Montagner had been married for 14 years to actress Luciana Lima, with whom he had three children.

The news of his death has caused commotion in Brazil, where fellow actors and social media users have paid tributes to the actor.

@ligiafreitass said on Twitter: "I can't get the death of Domingos Montagner out of my head. An entire soap opera dedicated to a river that, in the end, takes (the life of) its main character".

Also on Twitter, @GenteFizTwiter wrote: "Good people die early. It has always been like this"

For its part, @uolbieber said: "Paul Walker and Domingos Montagner are the definition of the sentence: life imitates art"

The football team he supported, Corinthians, praised him also for his success as a handball player for the club's affiliate in the 1980s.

His latest film, Um Namorado Para Minha Mulher (A Boyfriend For My Wife), was released two weeks ago.

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