A couple of thoughts about Barcelona

Most of us Cubans have a connection to Spain.  In my case, I am the grandson of a young man who settled in Cuba in the 1920s.  Pedro married Adelina, and my mother came along.  He and his brothers came to the island from Asturias (to the north) and became successful entrepreneurs.  They came with empty pockets, built businesses, and had it all stolen by the communists.  On my father's side, the connection goes back to the 19th century, when a young man named Francisco settled in Cuba.

My point is that every terror attack in Spain, from the Madrid trains of 2004 to Barcelona today, hits home in a personal way.  As we Cubans like to say, our grandparents were born there.  (By the way, Fidel and Raúl Castro are also the sons of a Spaniard who settled in Cuba and built a successful coffee business.)

On Saturday, I spoke at length with my friend Javier Hurtado-Mira, a young man from the P.P., or the Partido Popular, the right-center party of Prime Minister Rajoy.

After getting some updates about the dead and so many in hospitals, I asked two basic questions:

First, why are cities allowing people to walk in places like La Rambla without more concern for this kind of attack?  Didn't someone think a van or a truck would attempt to kill people walking down an open area?

His answer was interesting, and the anger is brewing into a full-scale scandal.  More and more, people are hearing reports that the local authorities were warned about such an attack.  Seriously, did they need a warning from the CIA or anyone about this?

Let's not politicize things when there are people literally fighting for their lives in hospitals.  At the same time, someone messed up in the provincial government and exposed these people to such an incident.

Second, how much longer are Spanish, or, for that matter, Europeans, going to live in a place where only the terrorists carry weapons?

His answer is that people are talking about it.  There are more and more people in Barcelona and elsewhere who are beginning to understand that you can't protect yourself when the bad guys are the only ones with guns.

Our prayers for everyone and their families.

P.S. You can listen to my chat with Javier here or on Twitter.