Monday, August 15

The grave of a coup leader

There is in the basilica of La Macarena in Seville a tomb that houses the remains of the general who during the Civil War led the systematic hunt for the enemy in Andalusia that ended with 14,000 murdered.

Some of his relatives say that the dead must be left in the peace of their graves. And yes, he is right, the dead must be left in the peace of their graves. But other relatives, specifically those of the 14,000 murdered when Queipo directed the operations with an iron fist, ask themselves a question: What is his grave doing in a place like the Basilica of La Macarena? And, what is more striking, what does he do there from 1951 to the present day?

When one visits that famous headquarters of the Brotherhood of La Macarena, one sees the old wall of Seville next to it and remembers that, precisely there, many “reds” from Seville were shot by the coup leaders who rebelled against the Second Republic, those who considered themselves the forces of the new order themselves.

The leader of those forces of the new order in Seville and Andalusia was General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano, who had an infallible system: “You will know my system: for every one of order that falls, I will kill at least ten extremists, and the leaders who flee, do not think that they will get away with it: I will take them out from under the ground if necessary, and if they are dead I will kill them again. ”

“And if they are dead, I will kill them again”, a curious sense of duty of those who had weapons ceded by the State to defend the population.

The debate on the elimination of the tomb of this general in the basilica, returns intermittently. Nobody has been able to remove it, not the PP in power today in the Junta de Andalucía, with Juan Manuel Moreno Bonilla at the helm, nor the PSOE with Susana Díaz. These days the waters of the Guadalquivir are agitated regarding the debate on the Law of Historical Memory in the Courts, and the Minister of Culture and Historical Heritage of the Junta de Andalucía, Patricia Del Pozo, explains that “we are very calm because this government complies laws”.

Del Pozo said this past Thursday that the remains of the Francoist military officer Queipo de Llano remain in the basilica because a report from the legal cabinet of the Ministry of the Presidency of the previous government of the Junta, which was from the PSOE, considered “questionable” that the withdrawal of the remains could fit with the Democratic Memory Law.

The fact is that Queipo’s remains are still there, as a permanent insult to the victims and their families. Wars serve to show the worst or the best face of the human being, to show heroism or cowardice, magnanimity or meanness. General Queipo de Llano personally directed the repression in Andalusia with terrible cases such as the “Desbandá”.

The “Desbandá” took place in February 1937 on the road between Malaga and Almería, when thousands of civilians, the elderly, women, and children among them, helpless and unarmed, fled the Malaga capital when Franco’s troops entered there. They tried to reach Almería on foot, still under Republican control. From the air and from the sea, without mercy, they were cannonaded and machine-gunned by an army that tried to implant Christian values ​​in Spanish society.

A British newspaper, The Manchester Guardian, published this disturbing description: “The road is filled with screams and cries. Among the lost there are many small children. The Canadian doctor Norman Bethune, who advances with his ambulance picking up refugees, reaches more than five thousand minor children The boys wore only their pants and the girls their wide dress. Boys with their arms and legs entangled in bloody rags. Boys without shoes, with swollen feet, children who cried desperately from pain, from hunger, from fatigue. “.

Impassive the gesture, the rebels of the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands and Almirante Cervera, bombed and machine-gunned civilians following the orders of Queipo de Llano. From the ground, Franco’s troops and their allies finished the task. Malaga had previously fallen in a sigh because its defenders were militiamen without military training and in front they had experienced soldiers. On the way to escape from Malaga to Seville, they encountered about 20,000 trained and equipped soldiers, about 10,000 members of the Moroccan Tercio de Regulares and 10,000 members of the Corpo Truppe Volontaire of the Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini. Result, between 3,000 and 5,000 innocents murdered.

Previously, Queipo de Llano, who used the radio for propagandist purposes, had already heated the situation with slogans like this: “Our brave legionaries and regulars have taught the cowards of the Reds what it means to be a man. And, incidentally, also to women. After all, these communists and anarchists deserve it, haven’t they been playing free love? Now at least they’ll know what real men are and not queer militiamen. They won’t get away no matter how hard they struggle and kick. ”

This character, difficult to defend, is that of the tomb of La Macarena. He was in-law of the president of the Republic Niceto Alcalá Zamora, and was head of the Military Quarter of the republican president. On the occasion of the military coup that gave rise to the Civil War, he was one of the first to rise up against the Second Spanish Republic.

The current Elder Brother of the Macarena brotherhood has already announced that “he will comply at all times what the law indicates”, there was more to do. This institution has more than 14,000 brothers and, among them, there will also be those who feel fear and trembling when passing by the tomb of Queipo, and who greet him militarily.

Those of the Macarena, how could it be less, are touched by the grace of God. Years ago, one of those brothers, the former president of the Generalitat of Valencia, Francisco Camps, visited his brotherhood together with the president of CAM, the Caja de Ahorros del Mediterráneo. It coincided that the Aznar government had granted this brotherhood a grant of more than one million euros for restoration works, which was later revoked by the Zapatero government. The older brother told Camps, and he turned to the president of the CAM and said: “La Macarena needs our help.” “If our president asks me, it is done,” was the response of the head of CAM. The million was put by CAM. To make matters worse, years later the Contentious-Administrative Chamber of the Supreme Court sentenced the State to pay 1,118,600 euros to the Macarena of Seville. Thus, the Macarenos got a double prize.

By the way, a few years later the CAM was sold for one euro to Banco Sabadell.