Title: Echos of the French week in Alicante : Day inaugural
Duration: 9 min., 13 seg.
Sound collection: Radio Paris. Ramírez/del Campo
Summaries: Jornada inaugural de la "Semana francesa" en Alicante. Discurso de inauguración
The “French Week in Alicante” it took place in this city from the 20th to 26th October 1970. It was organized by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Madrid, and sponsored by the embassy of the Hexagon itself. The opening ceremony took place on October 20th, in an act chaired by the French ambassador in Madrid, Robert Gillet, and by the undersecretary of the Development Plan, José María Ordeix Gesti, on behalf of the Spanish government, together with a large delegation of local Alicantine authorities. A brigade of honour also took part in the presentation of the French destroyer “Le Prestois”, which was anchored in the port of the city. The contest had real importance at the time, as Alicante's was the only French Week held in Spain during that year. The aim was to reinforce the economic, technical, commercial and cultural bonds, as well as to tighten the friendship between the East region of Spain and France. In general terms, there was a series of work sessions which began through a colloquium on the Franco-Spanish commercial exchanges. Among other issues, they dealt with agriculture and horticulture, sportive ports and packaging. At the same time, it took place an Exhibit of French products, machinery and techniques made in Spain, in whose pavilion were up to 54 stands of French companies. Likewise, there were showings of different technical and cultural short films, shot in both countries.
However, this was not an isolated fact. At the beginning of the 70s, in the technocrat Opus Dei era, Alicante had an ephemeral but important prominence as the core of a series of important meetings on the Spanish relations with other countries, aimed at studying other alternatives that guaranteeed the foundations of a later development. For instance, the French Week was preceded by the 23rd Congress of the International Trade Council (the third one of this nature held in Spain), in which representatives of more than 40 countries took part . But this was, unfortunately, not always the case.
The city of Alicante had enjoyed a large republican and liberal tradition along its history. During the Civil War, it was the rearguard of the Republic and it lacked military importance. However, the execution in Alicante of the Falangist leader José Antonio Primo de Rivera, turned the municipality into the target of numerous barrages of reprisals, being the more cruel of them the perpetrated on May 25th, 1938. On that day, the fascist Italian air forces bombarded without prior warning the Central Market, causing more than 300 dead and thousands of casualties (the exact death toll is unknown), especially women and children. At the end of the War, the port of Alicante was the place from where the last republican refugees departed. The repression and the punishment that suffered the city were tremendous during the worst years of national-catholicism, on a political, social and economic level, at least until the end of the decade of the fifties. Situation changed along the sixties, with the peak of the tourism, the property speculation and the economic liberalisation, until the time of the recording.
Regarding the recordings themselves, a total of two strips on the event are kept, with Julián Antonio Ramírez himself as the correspondent sent by “Radio París”.
University of Alicante. University library. Fonoteca