Monday, August 8

Seville pays tribute to the victims of Francoism in front of the Macarena: “It is not democratic that there are thousands of people in ditches and graves”

With misty eyes, Carlota hums the anthem of the partisan resistance while holding in her hands the photo of her grandfather Rafael Luna. She has taken it with her to the act of homage to the victims of Francoism, organized in La Macarena by Seville for the Republic and supported by other memorial associations in the Andalusian capital and Malaga, 86 years after the Francoist military coup against the legitimate government of the Popular Front. A day in which Rafael, a retired military man and father of nine children, “showed up at the barracks to lend a hand” in a generous gesture that sentenced his death and the “ruin” of his family.

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A month later, the rebels “shot him at the cemetery wall” and believe that his body lies in the Pico Reja grave. “They left my grandmother without pay and with nine children,” laments Carlota. “My father was studying and had to volunteer with the same ones who had killed his,” she continues in an effort to contain the knot that emerges when remembering the suffering of her family. “He completely sunk them”, she condemned them to live in “fear for life” and to be slaves of silence, she says, her voice cracking with emotion.

Carlota’s story is that of so many victims of Franco’s repression who are still fighting in search of their murdered and still missing family members. Like her, hundreds of people have attended the meeting held “to demand once again that the process of truth, justice and reparation be definitively opened”, as announced by Juan Manuel García, from Seville for the Republic, before proceeding to read of the manifest. “It is not democratic, it is not fair and, above all, it is not worthy that there are thousands of people lying in ditches and mass graves”, continues this activist for democratic rights before concluding: “that is why we have come here to shout one more year that fascism will not pass”.

“Outside Queipo de la Macarena”

Next to the monolith erected at the foot of the walls “before which hundreds of men and women were murdered by the fascist barbarism organized by General Queipo de Llano”, José Luis C. Márquez is also there. He has come accompanied by his daughter to bring a bouquet of bougainvillea carnations. His family did not suffer the repression-“they were not from the left, they were not of anything”-but he assures that his generation, that of the 50s, did suffer fear and torture. Even so, he explains that he has attended “out of solidarity” and because his friend and fellow union activist Miguel Guerrero has asked him to do so, since he could not go and wanted to pay tribute in some way to his grandfather, one of the miners from Huelva. betrayed in 1936.

At the end of the reading of the manifesto, in which the convening entity has made it clear that “the fight for democracy” continues in order to “end fascist impunity”, a floral offering has been made at the monolith, next to the bouquet of José Luis. At the end of the act of homage to the people shot and reprisals by the Franco regime, the attendees have moved to the doors of the basilica of the Macarena to demand, one more year, that the remains of Franco’s general Gonzalo Queipo de Llano and his war auditor Francisco Bohórquez, leave the Macarena temple.

In this regard, sources from the Brotherhood of the Macarena indicate to Andalucía that “the family” of Gonzalo Queipo de Llano “continues without any movement” regarding the transfer of his remains to the columbarium, which was blessed in November 2020 and has already it is possible to use it. However, the new Democratic Memory Law it is outlined in the eyes of the memorialist movement as a new “tool” to achieve this end.

A law of lights and shadows

For Paqui Maqueda, president of the association our memory of Seville and relative of several victims, it is “one of the greatest fascist symbols” that remain in Andalusia today and that “does not comply with the Andalusian Historical Memory Law.” In statements to this newspaper, he hopes that this will be the last year that they gather in front of the Macarena to claim this claim. The recent approval in Congress of the new state Democratic Memory law has a lot to do with these hopes. Because in its article 37, the legislative text establishes that in the “procedure for the elimination of elements contrary to democratic memory”, “the competent administration” may undertake the withdrawal “subsidiarily”.

Based on the foregoing, Paqui acknowledges that he has been moved to read “a law full of successes” that returns “to civil society and the memorial movement many of the demands” that they have historically requested. “But it also has its shadows,” he points out, focusing on the fact that “it does not repeal the Amnesty Law” and that “it has to be sufficiently financially endowed and regulated” so that it can advance effectively on the path of justice. democratic. Something that José Luis also celebrates. “Anything that tries to correct, dignify these people a little” is welcome, since “the injustice has already been committed”, he defends.

Celebrating with “pride”

This opens up “a very hopeful horizon”, reinforced by the latest statements by the Mayor of Seville. Asked about this issue during a press call, Antonio Muñoz has endorsed the words of the elder brother of the Macarena to guarantee that the City Council “will comply with the dictates of the legislative text”, which could still undergo some modifications after passing through the Senate. Likewise, the mayor of the Seville city has expressed his conviction that “sooner or later” the remains of the genocide will leave the Macarena temple. “And I hope it will be as soon as possible,” he remarked.

For all these reasons, Paqui commemorates July 18 with pride. “It is a day of sadness, of missing them, but also of pride because it was our relatives who, with the few resources they had, faced the monster of fascism in the streets,” she recalls with emotion. And although she assures that she will continue to cry for her relatives, she feels that as time goes by, she is more and more optimistic and sees “the end” of her struggle “closer.”

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