The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has started the procedures to remove two Francoist shields from the façade of its headquarters, 14 years after the Law 52/2007 on Historical Memory was approved. This has been confirmed by diplomatic sources to this newspaper, while they have recalled that in order to proceed with the “withdrawal of the shields or insignia, a work license” from the City Council is needed, and that they are preparing that request.
At the moment, Foreign Affairs is “preparing the technical project for the Madrid City Council to approve” and has covered both shields with white canvas, a decision that the same sources attribute to the fact that the new Foreign Minister, José Manuel Albares, “He asked a few days after taking office for the immediate withdrawal of shields and other symbols related to the Franco regime.” The coats of arms in question are found on the façade of the Palacio de Santa Cruz, in Madrid’s Plaza de la Provincia, very close to the Plaza Mayor.
The Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH), which called for the removal of the emblems in November, does not understand why instead of removing the shields once and for all they have simply been hidden. “This is a breach of the law that borders on prevarication, a lack of respect for the thousands of victims of the dictatorship,” the organization denounced this Monday. “These shields represent all the violence that today remains in the common graves of the disappeared during the Franco regime, they stage a lack of true political will to carry out democratic hygiene and to forcefully reject from the institutions nowadays any exaltation of a dictatorship, in this case of the one that caused so much damage to our society, “continued the same letter sent to the media.
“If you remove a shield, you remove it. Why cover it up? Put a later date and say I will remove it in November. Maybe now they remove it, but you do not cover a shield,” protested Emilio Silva, president of the ARMH. “In addition, removing the shield has no secret,” he says. “Nor is it large enough to be monumental, it is a fairly simple shield,” he pointed out. “We have requested it by registration on November 20 and the answer has been to cover it. This was ten months ago.”
Silva argues that “the procedure cannot be the excuse” and that this “should not be a matter of procedure.” “But come on, there is also a procedure to put a tarp on it because I don’t think that a building janitor who has hung over the wall to hit that on top, surely it has been done by an external company, then there has already been a procedure. The procedure is an excuse, “he argues.
The ARMH also recalls that the Ministry now headed by José Manuel Albares is obliged to withdraw said shields according to Law 52/2007 on Historical Memory, which in its article 15 indicates that “public administrations, in the exercise of their powers, will take the appropriate measures for the withdrawal of shields, insignia, plaques and other objects or commemorative mentions of exaltation, personal or collective, of the military uprising, the Civil War and the repression of the dictatorship “.
This is not the first time that the association has tried to have these two shields removed. He has already tried with the Government of Rajoy, according to Silva, but that did not bear fruit either. “We already made a first request to the Government of Mariano Rajoy, when we found out. These things are usually when they write to the association and suddenly someone looks up and sees something that they do not know,” says Silva.
In the same way, they found last Friday that the Ministry had put the white canvases. “On November 20 we registered a petition, with the change from minister to minister, he announced that he was going to intervene in that. This Friday a member of the association who was passing by sent us these photos. What they have done is to put it a canvas, which shows the relief of the shield and the eagle’s beak, “he laments. “This should not be denounced by anyone. This should be the State itself that knows the buildings it has and is the one that should do so ex officio,” concludes the president of the ARMH.
Franco’s tableware from the embassy in Paris
The ARMH, in the same statement, indicated that it had also not received a response about the use of Franco’s tableware used in the Spanish embassy in Paris. “The request was accompanied by a complaint about the use of Francoist tableware at events and receptions at the Spanish embassy in Paris, the requirement for an inventory of Francoist objects that remain in Spanish diplomatic representations,” they recalled in the statement.
The same diplomatic sources mentioned above have assured that “among the first decisions that José Manuel Albares took, after being appointed ambassador of Spain in France [su cargo anterior], was the removal of the dishes and other objects with commemorative or exalting mentions of the dictatorship. “And they add:” That material, as well as other items that also contained this symbolism, were sent to the Historical Archive of Salamanca. Likewise, a complete inventory of both furniture, tableware and other belongings is being carried out to be sent to this Archive or wherever this organization considers. ”