Saturday, September 25

Castilla y León once again authorizes the search for 71 victims of Franco’s repression in Villadangos

The Technical Council for Historical Memory has re-authorized this Tuesday, September 7, the exhumation project in the cemetery of Villadangos del Páramo (León) to locate the remains of 71 shot in the civil war who were buried in mass graves of the cemetery of the town. It is the second authorization, after a previous one in July, with slight modifications to the initial document after the controversy generated by the neighborhood vote that denied permission for the excavation and the intervention of the Junta de Castilla y León to enforce the law.

Villadangos, the industrial and agricultural hub of León that confronts neighborhood democracy against memory

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José Miguel García, secretary general of the Ministry of Transparency in the hands of Francisco Igea (Citizens), has announced the authorization in accordance with the decree of Castilla y León that regulates the exhumation process. In addition, the Junta de Castilla y León has recalled that “the authorizations do not exempt from the need to obtain previously those that are coming in accordance with the sectorial regulations regulating the different aspects that affect the action of prospecting, identification or transfer of the remains human rights or the need to obtain the necessary permits and licenses to occupy the land. ”

The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) had already requested the Villadangos del Páramo City Council for the mandatory authorizations, linking its obtaining to the permission of the Town’s Neighborhood Board, which submitted it to a controversial council where 22 residents denied the permission illegally. The consistory governed with an absolute majority by the PP, with Alejandro Barrera as mayor, also requested a building license and an environmental license, something unprecedented in the 20 years that the memory entity has carried out exhumations throughout Spain. The council’s licenses are still pending resolution after the modifications of the project presented to adjust the excavation as much as possible to where there may be remains of those shot.

With the reauthorization of the Junta de Castilla y León, the authorization returns to the Villadangos del Páramo City Council, which must now complete the licenses and permits. Although the initial plan of the ARMH was to begin the excavations this September, the delays caused by the authorizations and the irregular voting in the council will cause the dates for the exhumations to be relocated.

In 1936, on the outskirts of Villadangos del Páramo, more than 70 people from the San Marcos concentration camp and towns throughout the province of León were shot. As they were being executed, the bodies were thrown there but it is known that the parish priest Manuel García Arias, with the complicity of some neighbors, was warned to pick them up and they all took care of transporting them in a car and burying them in the cemetery. Families have spent years trying to excavate mass graves to find their relatives, now running a project with the ARMH to find their ancestors and give them a dignified burial.

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