In Cuatro Caminos, at the end of the Alameda de Oviedo, there is a monolith that, facing the road, commemorates the conquest of Seville and includes a ‘victor’, a symbol that was used throughout the Franco dictatorship as a representation of military victory of the dictator in 1939. Since the symbol is not easily accessible, it has gone unnoticed, but in Santander there are still numerous references in the street gazetteer to military figures from the uprising and other reminders of the Franco regime scattered around buildings, squares and streets.
Santander will take a decade to eradicate Francoism from the street at the current rate
Almost 15 years after the equestrian statue of Francisco Franco was removed from the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, and the process of eliminating the pre-democratic symbology began, the task is still pending and there is no sign of getting out of the stalemate in that finds 15 streets that have yet to change their name.
A few days ago, the general director of Culture of Santander, Eva Fernández, linked to the municipal management orbit of Ciudadanos, held an interview with the mayor of the city, Gema Igual (PP), to unblock the matter and finish the process, Given that there are two new laws of Historical Memory approved or in the making, one regional and the other state, it is still being processed in the Cortes.
After three years of legislature, the PP partner in the Santander City Council wants to get out of the paralysis and definitively close this chapter, but on the other side there is a party that is the one that has to undertake the changes through the Mayor’s Office , who must take the initiative, but does not take it. A spokesman for the orange formation assures in this regard that “Citizens are interested in complying with the law and we are not going to be an obstacle for changes to be made.”
However, there are still 15 streets in the Cantabrian capital named after figures or relevant events of the Franco regime, such as the Paseo del General Dávila. They are practically half of those that existed when in 2008 the symbolic act of removal of the equestrian statue of Franco from the Plaza de Ayuntamiento was undertaken. Two years ago PSOE and United for Santander (UxS) registered the extraordinary and urgent call of the Commission for Cultural Action and Educational Promotion of the Plenary of the City Council, something that has not occurred.
Not only have the names of the Franco regime not been withdrawn, but the incorporation of traditional and women’s names remains frozen, since there was a unanimous agreement in 2017 for the street map to gradually tend towards parity, since most of the Current references to women are to saints or virgins.
The last movements produced in Santander date back to November 2015. That year, the Corporation’s plenary session unanimously agreed to adopt the appropriate measures to determine the mentions, names or symbols that should be withdrawn or changed. He entrusted the task to the Municipal Culture Council and more specifically to its History and Heritage Commission. This proposed to eliminate the name of 18 streets and in another seven cases to keep it, but with minor changes.
Two years later, in 2017, and after establishing objective criteria when operating with the new denominations, the city’s Regulations for Titles, Honors and Official Distinctions were reformed, which is where the criteria are waiting for someone apply them.
Specifically, article 24 of the Official Titles, Honors and Distinctions regulation indicates that the old or original denominations must be preserved or recovered; establish female names as priorities, with the aim of tending to a balance in terms of the presence of men and women in the gazetteer. “Names that contravene current legislation or natural persons who have not died will not be granted and, in the case of personal names, they must correspond to relevant figures, and the Culture Commission may request reports that guarantee their excellence,” the text reflects.