It is almost a kilometer of street and the plates were several dozen, so the gangs of subcontracted municipal workers began the task early, according to the orders of the Government of José Luis Martínez-Almeida, of the PP: one by one, they were removing the plates with the name of the teacher and pedagogue Justa Freire, retaliated by the Franco regime, to return to this street in the Las Águilas neighborhood the name of José Millán-Astray, founder of the Legion, propagandist of the “deserved fascist victory” in the Civil War and one of the most obsessive defenders, in his time, of the value of the testicular size as a mark of courage in men.
The operation responds to a ruling from the Superior Court of Justice of Madrid, which endorsed a previous one from a lower court and annulled the change in the street map promoted by the Government of Manuela Carmena. According to the resolution, it is not “unequivocally” clear that the military participated in the coup of ’36, contrary to what most historians maintain.
The replacement of the plates carried out with agostity –Who knows if it is also treachery– it sparked a small revolution in social networks but it went quite unnoticed in the neighborhood, semi-desert in the middle of the high summer season. The few who this Tuesday at noon challenged the thermometer in the sun or those seated in the shade of the trees on the street benches, were not up for disquisitions on whether, as the illustrious advocated, “fascism, nationalism and Falangism are basically the same thing “or if it is acceptable that the character recovers the recognition of the street. “It doesn’t mean anything,” said José Alberto López, a mechanic by profession who has lived on the street in question for 45 years, while taking time to eat. “It has always been like this and it is better,” he confirmed his argument that when compared to dictators, “others like Pinochet” were more bloodthirsty.
The custom, the confusion with the notarial deeds at the time of the inheritances or with the directions to the taxi drivers were some of the arguments that the veterans Eladia López and Isabel Sanz contributed, chatting while sitting with the shopping bags next to one of the brand new signs. Eladia, more than 40 years in the neighborhood and with crutches to walk, took the opportunity to ask that the name of General Romero Basart also be returned to her street, which today recognizes the scientist Blas Carrera, because it is more familiar to her. The lady acknowledged her ignorance about the role of each other in the contest, as did the gardener Federico Vega, a neighbor who came to help her with the bags and who gave his opinion on the matter: “I don’t belong to anyone, but when Franco was there they didn’t steal from you. ”
In a cafeteria at the beginning of the street were the retirees Ramón and Elena, both happy with the return of the legionnaire. “The legion continues to exist and does good things,” said the woman, who did dominate the subject – she has studies in history – and acknowledged that, if “Fidel Castro were to be named” at a nearby avenue, it would seem very bad to her. Nor was he very satisfied with Salvador Allende having a street in Carabanchel, because then why couldn’t Pinochet also have it, he reasoned. Her husband also applauds the change without elaborating on so many details.
Advancing down the street is the Sourident dental clinic, where the couple who served clients could not identify the character. “It sounds familiar to me, but no,” said one. “We do not get involved in those things,” the other settled. Francisco, having a coffee on a terrace, admitted that he had not heard of the change, despite having the new plate almost in front of him. He chose to look for a third option for the nomenclature, equally installed in the idea that the teacher Freire and the “boyfriend of death” have a similar symbolic weight, depending on the political parties of today.
“He will tell the older ones something, but the younger ones do not care exactly the same,” said Rubén González, born in 1977, a disabled Ferrallista, with a colostomy that was insistently pointed out, but that has not given him the right to pension, which he considered much more newsworthy than what the street is called. For Diego Santamaría, a few meters above picking up the purchase of the car, the important thing is the cost: “The one who makes the plates in the town hall is sure to get paid.” “This has been the partridge dizzy,” he pointed out about the swings of names, although he acknowledged not having “much idea” of historical memory.
The first and only opponent of the new name in this poll without demographic value appeared at the end of the street, near Avenida de la Aviación, a few steps from the parish of Nuestra Señora del Aire. Her name is Andrea Marugán, she is 25 years old: “You cannot put assassins and fascists in the streets. For me, let them change her again,” he claimed.
After two o’clock, one of the crews that had spent the morning unscrewing and screwing plates was resting, sharing chips from a bag. There were four of them, dressed in yellow, only one of them willing to speak, with little desire. “This is just work, we don’t get involved in politics.”