26 10 2009

Gaspar Fraga GonzálezOctober 17th 2009 saw the end of one of the most significant contributions to the antiprohibitionist fronts in Spain and Europe of the past decade. Gaspar Fraga González, founder and director of Cañamo magazine, shed his mortal coil and peacefully departed on his final trip, surrounded by his loved ones, at the age of 65. His long battle with cancer had broken his body, but not his will. As the Commander of the Cañamo vessel, he stood at the helm until the very end, inspiring those around him with his strength and determination in the face of adversity. His remains were put to rest in his beloved city of Barcelona to the music of his also beloved Frank Zappa and the adulations of the many present. He is survived by his two wifes, Sara and Mari Carmen, his daughter Lidia, two grandchildren, and many loving friends.

The passing of Gaspar Fraga marks the end of an era that began in 1997 when the first issue of Cañamo hit the stands and became an immediate hit. Over the course of 142 issues and 12 years, Gaspar became the face of pro-cannabis antiprohibitionism in Spain and abroad, and worked actively in promoting the magazine’s stated goal of normalization by means of information, producing a huge body of written work between articles, research and his contributions to the Cannabis Cafe online community. He also contributed actively with European drug law reform group ENCOD and was often called upon to appear on TV to counter the anti-drug spokespeople, which he did with such demolishing efficiency that they often ended up agreeing with him.

Gaspar Fraga was a scholar of great eruditeness trapped in the body of a charming and boyish rebel to the bone. For many years, he was a rebel without a cause, banned from his native city of Madrid by the Franco regime for being a young long hair with a bad attitude. He went to Paris and studied philosophy at the Sorbonne, worked as a, paparazzi, model, current and fashion photographer and journalist and tossed pavement in May of 68. In 1970 he moved to Barcelona, to the neighborhood of Gràcia, where he became actively involved in the city’s flourishing counterculture as the editor of the underground Rock Comix, and in the 80s he made a decisive contribution to recovering the traditional festivities of Gràcia, which today congregate over a million people over the course of nine days every August.

But it was Cañamo that truly gave cause to his rebellion. Under his guidance, the impact of the magazine has gone further and longer than anyone could have expected. As Commander of Cañamo, Gaspar brought us to the very moment of truth, but for reasons known only to the higher powers, has left us to take this historic step without him. His legacy is now ours to uphold, and he was confident we can. Rest in peace, dear friend, we will not let you down.



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