The Catalog of vestiges of Francoism in the Canary Islandswhich has begun to be elaborated with the remains that the dictatorship left in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, as defended by the Government of the Canary Islands, is headed by what is known as the Monument to Franco, which, according to the aforementioned study, based, in turn, on the one carried out by the capital in 2019, cannot be resignified and must be removed from the public space. A monument that, although it was designed by Juan de Ávalos to be installed in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the truth is that the sculptor had previously created a monument called the Angel of Victory and Peace, very similar to the angel that appears in the sculptural complex located at the confluence of the Rambla and Francisco La Roche avenue.
That other monument was inaugurated in 1964 on the Cerro de las Aguzaderas located north of Valdepeñas, in a location that makes it visible from the A4 national highway due to its height. A sculptural ensemble that was reduced to ruin after suffering an attack.
This is how the professor of History María Isabel Navarro picks it up in the study she carried out for Santa Cruz de Tenerife, in which she points out that the process of promoting sculptures in homage to the figure of General Franco was especially active on the dates close to the commemoration 1964. Navarro says that “the memorial purpose associated with the war was replaced by the personification around the figure of the head of state as the source of all processes and architect of armed peace, a concept through which the idea of war as a necessary evil.
In this practice, “Franco was represented as a heroic soldier in war action, or presenting his triumphs,” the author details. According to Navarro, it was believed that the Monument to Franco in the capital was a hitherto unknown version of this aesthetic path, but the Valdepeñas monument shows that this is not the case.
In addition, the study indicates that Juan de Ávalos, “recognized as a central figure in the production of the regime as a result of the merits contracted through the collection of sculptures of the Valley of the Fallen”, had earned him an “endless series of commissions for portraits of all kinds of characters from the international news”. And it is in this context of the evolution of the monuments to the dictator, Navarro points out, that the Angel of Victory and Peace stands out as a precedent for the Tenerife monument.
As Navarro collects in his research, it is a monumental figure of a 15-meter angel presenting a 10-meter-high sword, which is flanked by two walls arranged diagonally, converging on both sides of the figure, 25 meters, symbolizing the door of peace.
Another similarity is that in this case, as in that of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the civil government is the promoter of the initiative, as the inscription on the base of the monument recalls: “The province of C. Real al Caudillo, como homage of gratitude in memory of its martyrs 1936-1964”. The sculptural piece was made in an iron structure and the outer volume in embossed copper plate.
On the 40th anniversary of the military uprising, on July 18, 1976, the FRAP (Frente Revolucionario Antifascista y Patriota) carried out a bomb attack that caused the ruin of the sculpture of the angel, which was reduced to its interior iron structure.
The Naval Command establishes its security perimeter
The Ministry of Defense has published the order by which the Santa Cruz Naval Command is now considered a military installation, “so it is advisable to preserve it from any work or activity that could affect it, as well as to ensure the effectiveness of the means of that you have, and the appropriate isolation to guarantee your safety.” This means that a 12-meter security perimeter is established around the building, located at the end of the Rambla, in the vicinity of the Monument to Franco, and that any intervention carried out in that perimeter made up of the streets surrounding to the Naval Command must request permission from Defense.