In a statement sent to the media, the mayor of the municipality of Villadangos del Páramo (León) wants to settle the controversy generated after the denial last Friday by 22 residents of the permits to exhume the remains of reprisals of the Franco regime from the cemetery requested by the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH).
22 residents of a town in León stop the historical memory
Alejandro Barrera assures that what happened in the council “has become an unjustified media riot, which has aroused hatred and viscera”, with reflection “among the residents of Villadangos, from whom I ask for calm and good neighborliness.” That is why he points out that “I have always trusted that an understanding would be reached between all parties, and fortunately this has been the case”, after the visit this Monday of the vice president of the Junta de Castilla y León, Francisco Igea, who announced that it will be activated the exhumation of victims, making the neighborhood vote invalid.
Barrera rejects the criticism received by the decision of the council lamenting that “Through social networks authentic atrocities have been spilled on Villadangos and its neighbors, something reprehensible and incoherent, which this town or its inhabitants do not deserve.” The councilor believes that “the information has been manipulated and distorted to such an extent that it was difficult to see what was true and what was not true this last weekend in August.”
According to the mayor, in the face of the facts, concepts have been mixed “intentionally or not” such as the Neighborhood Council itself, a minor local entity that carries the communal assets of the town such as the cemetery, and the presiding council, which has the capacity to grant licenses. Thus, it has justified that the matter be taken to an open council, where all residents can attend, since “this Neighborhood Board has always resorted to the convocation and voting in Open Council of all those issues that affect their properties, or what it is the same, the heritage of the town of Villadangos “. The Villadangos City Council conditioned the ARMH’s request for excavation to the express permission of the Neighborhood Council for its realization and the obtaining of works and environmental licenses, something that according to its version is conditioned by the authorization of the Junta de Castilla y León , which the ARMH obtained last June.
Regarding the more than 70 reprisals who are buried in mass graves of the cemetery, he assures that “They have always wanted to highlight the courageous work by which the residents of the town did not leave the victims of the repression abandoned, and despite not being neighbors of the locality, they were buried in the neighborhood cemetery and entered in the City Hall’s civil registry book with the maximum possible descriptions “.
In his version, in the tense council last Friday, which the mayor did not attend and yes its number two, which directed the vote to ‘no’, “It was never intended to vote or the right of families to locate their ancestors, or the Historical Memory Law, (…), but that specific action project, and clarify certain issues about possible damage to third parties, which would undoubtedly provoke a real confrontation between those affected and the Association “. But the neighborhood refusal, a condition imposed by the City Council, prevented the search for the reprisals from being carried out.
Barrera regrets that in the council there were “undoubtedly some unfortunate interventions, others that gave rise to a misinterpretation, or even that, as tension rose, inappropriate comments were heard from some neighbors, as is the case today. in social networks, since it is still a forum open to all “.
This Tuesday, after Monday’s meeting with the Junta de Castilla y León, which ensures that local entities have the obligation to collaborate in the exhumations and not to put obstacles in the way, the mayor himself has met with the ARMH and the families of those shot. “I have conveyed my apologies to the relatives for any offensive or hurtful comments that they may have received from a neighbor during the celebration of the council; and I have also emphasized that the bureaucratic procedures that are being carried out should not be seen as obstacles, but as what they are, part of an administrative process that often takes longer than desired, “he settled.
For Barrera “sanity has been returned and the aforementioned understanding has been reached”, ignoring the council vote and pending the approval of the Castilla y León Government to the modifications of the project presented by the ARMH, pending the building license that has also been modified.
The president of the PP of Castilla y León avoids entering the controversy
The president of the PP in Castilla y León and of the Junta, Alfonso Fernández Mañueco, has avoided assessing the responsibilities that the members of the Government team of the Villadangos City Council or the Neighborhood Council, both governed by the PP, may have to allow the vote in the council on the exhumation in the local cemetery.
Textually, the regional president has said “I have nothing to add” to what was stated the day before by Vice President Francisco Igea, who came to the Leonese town to know first-hand the opinion of the members of the neighborhood council and the team of popular government after the controversy. “The misunderstanding has been solved,” said Igea, clarifying that once authorization is obtained, “all local entities are obliged to collaborate.”