Spanish civil war exiles who fled to Mexico have been marking the 70th anniversary of their arrival in the central American country.Around 100 now elderly refugees from the conflict were given diplomas in the city of Veracruz. It was in recognition of their contribution to Mexican society over the years. Many chose to stay and make their lives in Mexico. One woman at the ceremony said: “It’s very emotional and I didn’t expect that. The government of Mexico, and the authorities here in Veracruz, they didn’t tell us, so it’s been a big surprise and we thank them.” Some said they felt great allegiance to Mexico, despite being born in Spain. “My roots are Spanish but my deepest roots are Mexican. I don’t think I will ever be able to explain it, but I don’t want to to take anything away from my Mexican roots, with my Spanish half, and that is why I have not gone to back to Spain.” Some 3,000 children from Republican areas of Spain were sent to the former Soviet Union during Spain’s civil war between 1936 and 1939. Hundreds more went to Latin America. Hundreds of thousands died in the conflict between leftist Republicans and the Nationalist forces of General Francisco Franco. About 270 who fled to Mexico and other Latin countries remain there today.