28/11/2015 Witness


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Now on BBC News, it's time for Witness.


Hello and welcome the Witness, hear from the British library in London.


We have another five witnesses who have given us an extraordinary


glimpse of history through the eyes of people who were there. This month


we will hear from the owner of one of the first privately run


restaurants in communist Cuba. And a journalist who witnessed a mass


march into the Sahara desert. And we retrace the steps taken by millions


of migrants, seeking the American dream. First, it's 40 years since


the death of general Francisco Franco, the fascist leader of Spain


who ruled the country for decades. Witness had spoken to a journalist.


He was the fewer in Spain. He was a friend of Hitler and Mussolini. In


75 he fell really sick. I remember I went to the hospital. We were asking


how it was going. We thought it was impossible to be free of this guide.


-- guy. I grew up in the civil war. Persecution was a problem. My father


was in the army, so I grew up in an atmosphere of fear, not telling


anyone what we spoke about in our house. It was like living in a jail


for 40 years, my God! He was an extra ordinary man, the last of the


Western European dictators and the only one whose power was


undiminished until the moment he stopped breathing. He had been half


dead for weeks, but nobody dared to move to replace him for fear that he


might recover and exact retribution. Everybody thought that the civil war


ended. April one, 1939. No. The dictator was killing people without


trial and he was torturing, fighting against the other side. There was no


peace agreement, never. Finally, when a got the phone call very early


in the morning, it was dark. He died, they told me, he died! I


couldn't believe my eyes, my ears. I woke up my wife, he died! He died! I


gave it big increase to her and she was so excited, like me, and we


almost cried. So much relief. We finished and we went to the newsroom


and we thought the Prime Minister would say something, some official


communication. He was crying. In the newsroom, we


opened champagne. The beast is dead! I went to the printing press quickly


to fix the front page cover story. We distributed that magazine with


Franco on the cover story, saying he died. Only, he died. Franco has a


lot of support. The Catholic Church was with him for the 40 years. The


army and all of the conservative people. One by one Spaniard filed


past the open Coughlan on a catafalque which was flanked by


members of his guard. -- open coffin. The only sounds were those


who were weeping as they filed past. Half were happy, the other half were


grieving and sad. It was a great moment. The civil war finished when


Franco died, that very day. It was the first day of peace on the 20th


of November. The Spanish journalist.


Now, that same year as Franco lay dying a quarter of a million


Moroccans marched into the Sahara Desert to try to claim the colony


which the Spanish had there. Our next witness went with them.


The king of Morocco has brilliantly exploited this idea of a peaceful


invasion. Both to achieve the bloodless takeover of the Spanish


Sahara and as a sly device to muzzle his own internal political


opposition by obliging them to rally patriotically behind the march.


One of the highlights of his career.


Next, we're off to New York to retrace the journey taken by


millions of migrants. More than 8 million passed through a processing


centre on their way to a new life in America. Our witness was one of


them. My father was a singer. His voice was very beautiful. Very,


very beautiful. My father had a lot of charm. He could charm anybody.


Not only women, who adored him, but men too. I was ten years old, ten,


11. He sang in the Opera in Russian. We lived in one room. It


was difficult. Some Americans visited our town and they heard him


sing and they invited him to come to America, which was also very unusual


for a Jew. Everybody wanted to come to America. A relative was able to


get us on a beautiful boat. That was some journey. It was cold, we had


nothing to wear and everybody was freezing. Finally, we came through.


This is where American sifted its new citizens. Expected, classified


them and if necessary investigated them. Some, this was the end of the


journey. It was interesting, but a little frightening too. Because we


couldn't speak English. The masses who travel are brought to the great


hall on the island and then they wait. Sometimes the long months at a


time, waited to know their fate. They gave us ten minutes every so


often to go outside, and when we went out they countered us and we


came back, we were counted again and when we ate they also counted.


That's the only thing we really brought of so-called value. That's


how we drank our tea. For me, it was very exciting as a


youngster. And, finally, they got us the papers to leave the island. It


was a beautiful sight. Beautiful. That was the greatest day of all our


lives. My father became famous. He sang in all the opera companies. He


sang in English and Hebrew. So many things changed in my life. I had a


very happy life, with my three husbands!


Isabel has since dedicated herself to preserving memory of her father


and his music. Remember, you can watch Witness every month of the BBC


News Channel, or you can catch up on over 1000 radio programmes in our


online archive. Just go to the BBC website.


In the 1970s, Jim Jones, the leader of the Christian cult called peoples


Temple instructed his followers to kill themselves. In all, 918 people


died. Laura Johnston call was one of the few survivors. I want to warn


you, some viewers might find parts of this film upsetting. I think that


Jim Jones figured out what he needed to do to manipulate it one of us


into a position of being a believer. And I was a sell out. I


bought it. -- zealot. I joined in 1970 after I had been pursuing


social justice and making the world better. It just felt like home. It


was all ages and all races and all of the people we just kind, kind


people. -- were just. When I first met Jim, he was so casual. There was


no presumption of I am so important you will be happy to meet me. He was


very intuitive. If you were sitting with a group of people, somehow he


would figure out what it was that you needed to hear. By 1975, we were


looking for a refuge, a place where people could have a good life, so we


started making a big investment in Jonestown. We were going to be a


role model of a community that actually had total integration and


good healthcare, all the things that we wanted. It did look like paradise


to me. The thing that I realised on reflection was that Jim was


corrupted by power and when he was in Guyana, he was in absolute


control. There was no radio, no BBC, no anyway to bring in any kind of


information, and if so he used our love of Jonestown as a way to make


us paranoid ourselves about what was going on outside. At the end of


October, Jim asked me if I would move back into the capital to start


buying supplies. He got contacted by Congressmen Leo Ryan who said he


wanted to come and visit. We have had some complaints and I want to


verify what is going on. And so what Jim would do to tighten the screws


is indoctrinate us to think that we have all of these things going and


now people are threatening to take it all away. He started talking in


this fatalistic way, saying that we wanted our way or nothing. What I


found out is that as Jim was calling everybody into the pavilion on the


afternoon of the 18th at the same time he was having a truck full of


armed guards gave to the airstrip to kill congressmen Ryan. It is too


late. The congressmen is dead. And then he said I will be taking care


of you by having you die. And has he is talking to them, the


secretary said nurses moved over to the children. He took over and said,


OK, you came here for your children. They are already dead. Is not like


you can leave and you will ever be the same. And they passed up the


poison to everyone and people drank it. -- passed out. It was not a mass


suicide that people said, OK, let us do it. It was mass murder. He


completely demolished people 's will to live by telling lies. I'm perfect


proof. If I had been in Jonestown, there is no question about it. I


would have had that poison. But I have survived. And our final Witness


this month is Juan Carlos Montez. When the Soviet Union fell, Cuba


fell into a deep economic crisis. Many decided to make them and we.


Juan Carlos Montez decided to open Djourou's first private restaurant.


-- Cuba's first private restaurant. The Cuban restaurant owner Juan


Carlos Montez with some rather tasty looking food surrounding him. And


that is all from this edition of Witness. We will be back at the


British library next month with another round-up of history. Thank


you for watching and goodbye from me and the rest of the team.


Hello, welcome to the weekend but what a wild and windy start.


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