Sunday, April 2

Galician political prisoners of the Franco regime denounce the Defense before the Prosecutor’s Office for maintaining symbols of the dictatorship

Names of streets within the Military Arsenal of Ferrol, plaques in memory of “the fallen” in the war of 1936 or the exhibition project of the Historical Military Museum of A Coruña are some of the 23 Francoist symbols maintained by the Ministry of Defense in Galicia. The complaint filed with the Prosecutor’s Office by 15 Galician political prisoners of the dictatorship indicates this. According to the lawsuit against Defense, the central government fails to comply with the Historical Memory Law and allows the department of Margarita Robles to “promote the apology or praise” of the Franco regime.

The 25-page document is the latest step taken by a group of former prisoners that includes left-wing nationalists such as former BNG deputy in Congress Francisco Rodríguez, historical communists such as Rafael Pillado or Sari Alabau, the activist for the democratic memory and former member of the Revolutionary Organization of Workers (ORT) Manuel Monge or trade unionists such as the former secretary general of the Workers’ Commissions Ignacio Fernández Toxo. The first was in December 2020, when they sent a letter to Minister Robles to remind her that the reform of the Penal Code “would classify as a crime the apology or exaltation of Francoism” and statements of charges of the Socialist Party in that regard. They were already talking about the 23 cases, 13 of them in Ferrol.

In February 2021, Defense responded to the letter: “There is no evidence that there are pending actions in this regard.” Only a month later, the former political prisoners wrote to the ministry again: “If Defense continues to deny the evidence and stating that ‘there are no pending actions’, we will bring these facts to the attention of the Prosecutor’s Office in case repeated compliance with the law could be criminal in nature. They did so this Thursday, by registering the complaint at the Palacio de Xustiza in A Coruña.

The complainants also stop at what they call defense inconsistency. They give the example of the name change of the Salvador Moreno school in Pontevedra, today Juan Sebastián Elcano after a complaint by the CIG trade union center for breach of the Historical Memory Law. “The ministry acts with total inconsistency. He refuses to remove, among others, Salvador Moreno Fernández street, from the Military Arsenal of Ferrol, but changes the name of the school”, they argue. Salvador Moreno Fernández was a military coup leader and later Franco’s Minister of the Navy.

Salvador Moreno is not the only street in Arsenal de Ferrol that pays homage to the dictatorship. Admiral Fernández Martín, Admiral Vierna, González Llanos, Marqués de Alborán, Soldier Lois, Cruiser Baleares, Cándido Pérez and Admiral Honorio Cornejo also do it. The complaint profusely argues his links with the dictatorship. Symbology does not only appear on the street map. In the Military Church of San Francisco in Ferrol there is a Cross of the Fallen, a plaque to the Fallen of the Balearic cruise and another in reference to the baptism of the “Generalissimo”. And in the Sánchez Aguilera barracks in the same city, a Francoist shield.

Already in Santiago de Compostela, the student residence of the Ministry of Defense is called Lieutenant General Barroso -military rebel and head of Franco’s headquarters during the Civil War. In A Coruña, the Captaincy General building maintains a “Lieutenant General Yagüe honor room” and a historical list of Spanish flags that “avoids reference to the dictatorship after the Second Republic.” Finally, the content of the Historical Military Museum of A Coruña “could perfectly correspond to any year of the dictatorship, it is a museum exalting Francoism”.

The 15 political prisoners of the dictatorship who support the complaint, made public at a press conference this Friday at the Ateneo Ferrolán, are Rafael Pillado Lista, Francisco Rodríguez Sánchez, Sari Alabau Albors, Vicente Couce Ferreira, Raúl Pillado Lista, Alfonso Tellado Sande, Antón Martínez Aneiros, Xosé Piñeiro Arnoso, Anxo Ferreiro Currás, Ignacio Fernández Toxo, Fina Varela Fontán, José María Freire Piñeiro, José Loureiro Fernández, Manuel Monge González and Ricardo Aneiros Sixto.