Spanish professor shaken by Madrid terrorist attacks

Helena Rodriguez

Diana Cordova has a black bow pinned to a flag of Spain inside of her office in Multicultural Affairs, located in the basement of the Campus Union Building at Eastern New Mexico University.
For Cordova, the black bow is a constant reminder to the deadly act of terrorism committed against her native country on March 11, when terrorists bombed four inter-city trains in Madrid, killing at least 200.
Cordova was at her home in Clovis, running on a treadmill at 5 a.m. the morning of March 11, when she saw the headlines flashing across the TV screen. “I was completely shocked, once I came to my senses,” said Cordova. “The first thing I did was call my family in Madrid. I was able to get through right away. The explosion was not near my family, but the scary thing for me at first is when I heard on the news that it was close to train stations. I didn’t know which train station and they have them all over town.”
Cordova was born, raised and educated in Spain. She came to the United States with her husband in 1994 and maintains dual citizenship in both the U.S. and Spain.
Although she was shaken by the terrorist attack, she said that it will not keep her from returning to her motherland to visit in July. During her previous visits to Spain, Cordova said security was pretty tight in the airports but not the train stations. She is sure she will see much tighter security there now, as well as in other places.
Like many news stories have speculated, Cordova also feels the attack was due to Spain’s support of the U.S. war in Iraq and feels it is unfortunate that the attack appears to have influenced the recent election in Spain. “Now the socialists are in power. The Popular Party had done a marvelous job for eight years lifting Spain up,” she said sadly. Cordova also feels that a lot of people who would normally not have voted during an election were inspired to vote after the March 11 attack, resulting in a higher turnout than ever.
When news of the attacks in Spain got out, Cordova said she received many telephone calls from concerned people who know she is from Spain. “I feel like I am at home when I am away from home. The people here have become like my family,” she said.
Cordova has a strong message for the people who carried out this terrible act in Spain. “I hope this hideous and traumatic attack will draw Western nations closer together and that they reorganize themselves to go after all the terrorist organizations. I believe terror groups are a threat to ALL civilized nations.”
Cordova hopes to retire someday in Spain. Her parents are retired and spend part of their time in Madrid and part of their time in the Canary Islands.
Cordova has worked at Eastern for four-and-a-half-years, and the last two-and-a-half as the director of Multicultural Affairs. She plans to complete a master’s degree in education by next May and then hopes to get a Ph.D. and eventually teach modern languages.