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Spanish Attack

December 15, 1991

I think you would be of service to your readers if you would give them a stern warning about travel to Spain.

I returned from a 17-day trip and after taking all precautions, I was assaulted at 3 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon while walking in the Plaza del Sol in Madrid. There were hundreds of people in the plaza at the time, with several dozen within 20 feet of me.

I was knocked to the ground by two large men and the strap of a bag I was carrying around my neck was cut. It was all over in about five to 10 seconds and no one came to my aid. One young woman did try to help me find a policeman, but after 15 minutes of looking all over the plaza, including the three subway entrances, we could not find any.

The tour I was a member of had 32 people, of whom three were robbed.

I was the only one who lost a passport, and the visit to the American Embassy the next day was no piece of cake, even though I had a photocopy of my passport. They charge you $42 for a new passport and will not take a credit card or check. If you do not have $42 cash to spare, they will issue you a "letter of transport," and will bill you at home for $80. I do not consider this type of treatment a real service to a taxpayer who has a problem in a foreign country. At the very least, the embassy should accept a credit card.

STEPHEN CAMPBELL

Los Angeles

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