Thursday, July 7

The Zaragoza city council gives in to the blackmail of Vox and will change the name to the Che Guevara Park

The deputy mayor of Zaragoza Sara Fernández (Citizens) assured on June 25 that she will fulfill her commitment to Vox and will withdraw the name of Che Guevara from the Actur park and its adjoining street. This happens shortly after the municipal group of Vox threatened the City Council – made up of PP and Cs with the approval of Vox – with withdrawing its support during the next term if the name of the guerrilla did not disappear from the map of the city.

“We come across disgusting characters who have a street in Zaragoza,” declared Julio Calvo, Vox spokesman in the city, referring not only to the park and the street in question but also to the writer and politician Margarita Nelken. The demand is wielded by Vox as the spearhead of the breach of the agreements reached between the party and the Zaragoza government.

The motion was approved in 2019 with the votes in favor of the PP, Cs and Vox, despite the rejection of the PSOE, Zaragoza en Común (ZeC) and Podemos, just one month after the start of the mandate of Jorge Azcón (PP). At that time, Vox asked to start the procedures directly, but had to settle for the popular proposal to create a technical commission to study the case. A commission that was neither created two years ago nor will be created this time, as denied by the deputy mayor, who has also not confirmed an exact date for the change.

This lack of study differs from that carried out to remove the names of Francoist characters from the Zaragoza street map. Procedures promoted by ZeC during his mandate in March 2019, the Foundation April 14 and the General Council of Aragon (DGA), and which have been evaluated by the Zaragoza Historical Memory Working Group created in 2020.

This working group, chaired by Deputy Mayor Sara Fernández, is made up of representatives of all municipal groups, personnel from the Geographic Information, Municipal Archive and Culture services, and three external advisers. It is an entity promoted by the current government team and of a merely consultative nature, since the decision to carry out or not to change the name of a street depends solely on the Zaragoza town hall, as has been seen in the case of the Actur park.

Out of the 14 files studied, the streets Agustina Simón –nurse of the Requested Carlist– and Pedro Lázaro –soldier of the national side – will be redefined, which will consist of the placement of posters that contextualize their life. On the other hand, Sara Fernández has requested more data than what has already been provided on the procedures of the streets Gonzalo Calamita – rector of the University of Zaragoza during the uprising that would promote the standards of primary education during the Franco regime – and Miguel Allué Salvador –falangist president of the Provincial Council for 7 months and president of the Saragossa Magisterium Purification Commission.

Specifically, these four proposals come from the DGA, which in 2018 approved the Democratic Memory Law. Other initiatives such as the one to change the name of Arzobispo Domenech street – Francoist archbishop distinguished with the Imperial Order of the Yoke and the Arrows, who described the uprising as a “saving crusade” – were discarded, since they did not come from the DGA from the team Government of the City Council cling to a legal vacuum and consider that keeping their name on the street of the city does not go against this law. Both Izquierda Unida and the Fundación 14 de abril have criticized the inaction of the DGA and the need for it to mediate in these matters, as it seems that their files are the only ones to be taken into account by the government coalition, even if the result is to put explanatory posters.

Other names that will not be changed are that of Juan José Rivas Bosch –first Francoist mayor of the city–, Mariano Horno –the last Francoist mayor– and Antonio de Gregorio Rocasolano –athematician in Chemistry and first president of the Commission for the Purification of University Personnel– .

From Vox they are shown against these files. Julio Calvo crosses out the Historical Memory Law as “sectarian” and states that more important issues for the city than the renaming of these streets are being set aside. However, they have not hesitated to use the name of the Che Guevara park as a bargaining chip. He also recalled the 2019 motion in which it was proposed that the nomenclature of the streets in cases of historical figures should be reserved for “those who have contributed with their example and dedication to the spread of knowledge, the advancement of Humanity and the defense from the human rights”. Argument that apply to self-interest.