The Transatlantic Making of Rubén Darío as the Embodiment of Franco’s Hispanidad: Commemorating October 12 in Spain and Nicaragua, 1939–55

Friday, January 5, 2018: 8:50 AM
Virginia Suite B (Marriott Wardman Park)
Susy Sanchez, independent scholar
Embracing “transatlantic fascism” as a framework, this paper examines the commemorations to the “Day of the Hispanic Race” (October 12) performed in both Franco’s Spain and Somocista Nicaragua from 1939 to 1955. This state-sponsored commemoration promoted Francoism’s Hispanidad while leading the political appropriation of the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío. Since 1939, Franco’s regime transformed the “Day of the Hispanic Race” into an event celebrating the “New Fascist Spain.” In Somocista Nicaragua, state-sponsored commemorations to Darío and October 12 engaged Franco’s Hispanidad, portraying the poet as the embodiment of a virile Hispanic race and a symbol of a mestizo nation. In real terms, mestizaje meant hispanization and the blurring of ethnic diversity. At the middle of the twentieth century, during the beginning of the Cold War, Franco used Hispanidad and October 12 to legitimize its international recognition. In Nicaragua, Somocista commemorations institutionalized Darío as the national symbol of a harmonic and homogenous Castilian-speaking nation. Furthermore, the political appropriation of Darío exemplified the transatlantic, political and cultural dimension of Franco’s Hispanidad in making national symbols in Latin America. Breaking down national frameworks, this paper contributes to understand the transatlantic protagonism of Spain in shaping and networking fascism from the Civil War in Spain to Cold War in Latin America.