The application of the different laws regarding historical memory in the Canary Islands has become an almost impossible mission. The most significant element of all, known as the monument to Franco, located in Santa Cruz, has become in recent years the stone with which the different regulations (island, regional and state) stumble.
We knew about the last of these setbacks this Tuesday, when the Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands (TSJC) announced a ruling establishing “precautionary” protection for the sculpture of Juan de Ávalos, at least until it is resolved. the appeal that the San Miguel Arcángel association has filed against the decision of the Cabildo not to protect the sculpture, considering that it does not have cultural values that could be declared as an Asset of Cultural Interest (BIC).
Yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Culture of the Government of the Canary Islands, Juan Márquez, made it clear that, despite this sentence, but also the appeal of the Santa Cruz City Council against the catalog of Francoist vestiges, the Executive will not give up its efforts to enforce the law. “The legal services of the Government are studying all possible ways in this situation to continue with legal compliance with the removal of the vestiges,” he stated in statements to DIARIO DE AVISOS.
Márquez does not deny the complexity of the situation; “For this reason, the steps to be taken are being well studied, since we also have to see how the last law of Democratic Memory intervenes. In any case, we are going to continue exploring the legal and administrative channels within our reach”.
The Deputy Minister of Culture admitted that the assessment made in the TSJC ruling that the monument to Franco lacked Francoist elements is something “very difficult to assimilate.” “The assessment of the room is surprising, that it makes comments of an artistic nature, something that corresponds to the technicians of the Cabildo, who are the ones who have decided that the initiation of the BIC was not appropriate, and it is surprising that it is said that the monument to Franco did not contains Francoist symbology”.
Márquez understands that, although until now the Government of the Canary Islands has not been present in the process initiated by the San Miguel Arcángel association, it is part of it, so it can file some type of legal action against the decision of the TSJC, which, on the other hand, it only admits an appeal. “It must be taken into account that, for the BIC declaration, the only one that can convene the technical presentation is the Heritage Council of the Vice-Ministry of Culture, and the BIC declaration can only be made by the Governing Council, so yes, we are part of the process, and that is why we study the routes available to us”.
A legal service that right now has several open fronts. “We have the recourse of the Santa Cruz City Council to the catalog of vestiges, the application of the Democratic Memory law that can open the possibility for us to act ex officio, and now this last precautionary measure. Right now it is a job that focuses on the legal field in a very important way, with the aim of complying with a legal imperative”.
Historical Memory Law
The vice-councillor admits that the difficulty of applying the historical memory laws in the Canary Islands, rather than surprising him, “displeases” him, to add that “it is the empirical demonstration that the historical memory laws are necessary. This resistance that we are encountering shows that there are still many vestiges to be removed and not all of them are urban, but that we are dragging along a sociological Francoism that influences the quality of democracy”.
“It is hard to imagine – continued Márquez – that we would find a statue of Hitler in the streets of Berlin and that someone would allude to its artistic value so as not to remove it. The question is why it is happening in Spain, and I think it is because we are still dragging a dictatorship of 40 years, which weighs heavily on some sectors of the population. Here we play a lot, it is no longer a question of the left or the right, it is a question of Democrats and of complying with the laws, ”he concludes.
On this same subject, the author of the catalog of Francoist vestiges, María Isabel Navarro, expressed herself yesterday, who did not hesitate to affirm that the judgment of the TSJC “contains arguments contrary to the truth, which are included expressly as if a Contentious Administrative Court was not due to the truth of the arguments”. This is how she expressed it in statements collected by Cadena Ser, pointing out that, in her opinion, the order is “badly written.”
In addition, Navarro recalled that the judge who signed the sentence is the same one who forced the Santa Cruz City Council (also as a result of a lawsuit from the same association) to repeat the file for which the honors granted to the dictator were withdrawn.