The Canarian Government accelerates the removal of the monument to Franco and Santa Cruz de Tenerife ignites the controversy

The monument to Franco in Santa Cruz de Tenerife is closer to being removed, although not without controversy. Neither the lawsuit filed by lawyer Eduardo Ranz five years ago for failing to comply with the Historical Memory Law approved in 2007, nor a forceful study by the University of La Laguna (ULL) or the petitions from historical memory associations have been enough for the these years the sculpture, inaugurated in 1966 in honor of the caudillo, is withdrawn or resignified.

A PP councilor believes that the monument to Franco in Tenerife can become "a tourist attraction"

A PP councilor believes that the monument to Franco in Tenerife can become “a tourist attraction”

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This Tuesday, the General Directorate of Heritage of the Government of the Canary Islands has confirmed the completion of the catalog of vestiges of the city, which includes this monument along with some 80 representations or exaltations of the Franco regime that still survive in its streets in breach of the Law and that they should be withdrawn “immediately”. Mayor José Manuel Bermúdez (Canarian Coalition) has quickly reacted by announcing that will resort to this catalog of vestiges because it “only” points to this city and not to others in the Archipelago. “It is not acceptable that only Santa Cruz de Tenerife appears in that catalogue, is it that there are no Francoist vestiges in the rest of the municipalities of the Canary Islands?”, he questions in a statement where he points out that it is a “stigmatization”.

The Government of the Canary Islands, after the approval of the regional law of historical memory in 2019 (at the end of the mandate of the Canary Coalition), had the obligation to prepare a regional catalog of vestiges so that the removal of certain elements in which they could doubts exist. The Deputy Minister of Justice of the Government of the Canary Islands, Carla Vallejo, had explained to this newspaper that many municipalities already had their catalog made and had cleaned up the traces of Francoism. However, one of the most controversial cases has been precisely the monument to Franco in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which had two favorable reports from the Academy of Fine Arts and the International Center for the Conservation of Heritage that claimed its heritage value without paying attention. to which it extols the figure of a dictator.

It was never declared an Asset of Cultural Interest

Another report from the ULL did conclude the illegality of the statue, which was never declared an Asset of Cultural Interest. For this reason, the Heritage Vice-Ministry requested all the documentation from the Town Hall in order to expedite its removal. The idea, as Vallejo pointed out at the time, was to be able to approve the catalog in phases, so that it was not necessary to have the document completely prepared with the 88 municipalities of the Canary Islands in order to remove that monument.

Santa Cruz de Tenerife now announces that it will appeal the catalog released this Tuesday and does so after its government partner, Councilor Guillermo Díaz (PP), has assured that he intends to restore said statue, in which, in his opinion, does not appreciate “political sense” and that he considers “a tourist attraction”. Some statements that have caused criticism from other political forces such as United We Can. “The PP councilor came to say that, if people have forgotten about Franco, then it is as if the monument were not Franco’s. In reality, such a cynical argument had never been used to defend the permanence of a monument to the dictator,” said councilor Ramón Trujillo.

The position of the City Council this afternoon also collides with that of the mayor this morning. Before making it known that the General Directorate of Heritage had already finalized the catalog of vestiges, Bermúdez stated in the Being Chain that when this list is published, the Executive will proceed to remove the monument. In addition, he announced that his idea is to replace it with a monument to the Canary Islands. Hours later, the Vice-Ministry of Heritage was forceful in stating that among the vestiges that must be definitively removed from public space is the Monument to the Fallen (1947), the Monument to the Caudillo (1966), sculptures such as the bust of Joaquín Friend of Lara (1986) or objects such as the propeller of the Cruise Canary Islandsinscriptions such as the plates of the National Housing Institute (1957) or the tombstone of the Fallen of Igueste de San Andrés (1975).

The Francoist traces of the city

On the other hand, the study mentions roads such as the General Serrador bridge (1943), Calvo Sotelo street (1936) or the Francisco Aguilar y Paz promenade (1994) in addition to the neighborhood and the Plaza de la Victoria or educational centers such as the CEIP Fray Albino (1944), among others. Likewise, the honors and distinctions include more than 130 people. The Island Council recently ruled on this last issue. In a plenary session last November, Tenerife withdrew the honors and distinctions that the dictator received on the island on August 20, 1936, including that of adopted son of the city.

“100,000 people from all over the Canary Island gather in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in front of the monument that commemorates the departure of Generalissimo Franco when, Captain General of the Canary Islands, he left here to lead the national movement. This original work by Ábalos was financed by the people of Tenerife by popular subscription. In the speeches of the provincial authorities and the Minister of Commerce, the episodes of that day were glossed. The event culminated with a plural offering”. So enter the Node 1966 the inauguration of the monument to The victory or the so-called monument to Franco that is located on Avenida de Anaga at its intersection with La Rambla in the capital of Tenerife. A test that evidences the reason for this statue.

The Vice-Ministry of Culture and Heritage insists that the objective is the “immediate removal” of these vestiges and stresses that this document of more than 3,000 pages will now be transferred to the Technical Commission of Historical Memory for approval. The investigation, which will be resorted to by the Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council, has been led by the Professor of History, Maisa Navarro, together with the expert doctors Ricardo A. Guerra Palmero and Yolanda Peralta Sierra and for its preparation has had the commissioned investigations themselves previously by the City Council after the demand of the specialized lawyer Eduardo Ranz, commissions with which managed to evade responsibilities in court, that he understood that there had been no immobility on the part of the consistory.

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