Foreign Affairs removes greater than a thousand Francoist symbols from diplomatic legations | Spain | EUROtoday

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The equestrian sculpture of the dictator Francisco Franco, first director of the General Military Academy (AGM) of Zaragoza, was faraway from the primary patio of the middle the place Army and Civil Guard officers are educated in August 2006, greater than a yr earlier than the primary Historical Memory Law was permitted. The portrait of General Francisco Gómez-Jordana y Sousa, promoter of the Diplomatic School, was faraway from the hallway of the Aula Magna of the middle the place Spanish diplomats are educated in December 2022, two months after the entry into drive of the Memory Law Democratic, successor to the earlier one.

The withdrawal is just not, nevertheless, definitive. The Superior Court of Justice of Madrid has simply annulled it, ruling in favor of a lawyer and grandson of the Count of Jordana who filed a contentious-administrative attraction. “There has been a lack of defense by not having initiated a minimum procedure for verifying data, nor having given the interested party any opportunity to present evidence,” states the ruling, superior by The confidential. “It is not a mere formal defect, but a substantial defect that violates the basic regulations of the administrative procedure,” he provides.

Portrait of former minister Juan Beigbeder Atienza (between August 9, 1939 and October 16, 1940).
Portrait of former minister Juan Beigbeder Atienza (between August 9, 1939 and October 16, 1940).

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has already introduced that it’ll attraction the sentence, denies that General Jordana's grandson is an get together in a matter of common and never explicit curiosity. Gómez-Jordana was a member of the army directorate of the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera, excessive commissioner of Spain in Morocco, president of the court docket that attempted the troopers loyal to the Republic after the rebellion of July 18, president of the Technical Board that directed the insurgent aspect in the beginning of the Civil War, vice chairman of the coup plotters' authorities all through the conflict; and Minister of Foreign Affairs in two durations (1938-1939 and 1942-1944), till his dying as a result of pure causes in the midst of the Second World War.

For Foreign Affairs, his two portraits hanging till lately in official places of work – one within the Diplomatic School and the opposite within the Santa Cruz Palace, the historic headquarters of the ministry -, in each instances with a common's uniform, violate article 35.4 of the regulation of Democratic Memory, which categorically orders: “The portraits will lack visibility […] of soldiers and ministers associated with the military uprising or the repressive system of the dictatorship”, so “they cannot be shown in representative places and, in particular, offices or other rooms of senior officials, common spaces of use, or access areas to the public”. The person responsible for ensuring that this law is complied with in his department is Minister José Manuel Albares himself, head of Foreign Affairs, who in March of last year delivered the portrait to the Ministry of Culture, for its transfer to the Documentary Center of Historical Memory of Salamanca. .

It was not the only painting delivered by Albares to the Ministry of Culture. To the two portraits of the Count of Jordana were added those of three other Foreign Ministers during the Civil War and the Second World War: Juan Beigbeder Atienza (1939-1940); Ramón Serrano Suñer, brother-in-law of Francisco Franco (1940-1942) and José Félix de Lequerica (1944-1945). All of them were hanging in the gallery on the third floor of the Palacio de Santa Cruz.

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The cleaning of Francoist vestiges has not been limited to these portraits. On December 9, 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent a telegram to all Spanish representations abroad instructing them to ensure that they comply with the provisions of the new Democratic Memory law. It was about avoiding cumbersome situations, such as the one experienced by then-president Zapatero when he was received in 2006 in Senegal with a pre-constitutional Spanish flag.

Portrait of former Foreign Minister Ramón Serrano Suñer (from October 16, 1940 to September 3, 1942).
Portrait of former Foreign Minister Ramón Serrano Suñer (from October 16, 1940 to September 3, 1942).

After reviewing attics and wardrobes, diplomatic representations abroad identified 113 elements with Francoist symbols. Before this telegram, 994 pieces of crockery and cutlery had been sent to the ministry's headquarters, bringing the total number of items removed to 1,107.

All of them appear in a registry in which there is everything from an oil portrait of Franco (in the Spanish Embassy in Stockholm), to a bust of José Antonio Primo de Rivera (in Rome), decorations of the Imperial Order of the Yugo and the Arrows—symbols of the Falange—or a confectioner with pre-constitutional symbols (in the Spanish legation before the Vatican).

Until recently, Francoist symbols could be seen in the ministry's own headquarters: from the towers of the Santa Cruz Palace, in the historic center of the capital, four shields of Spain with the Francoist shield with the eagle of Spain were removed in September 2022. San Juan that are already stored in the custody of the Ministry of Culture. And in the building in the Plaza del Marqués de Salamanca, where Foreign Affairs has concentrated most of its offices after a rehabilitation of the old headquarters of the INI (National Institute of Industry) that lasted for years, some frescoes have had to be covered with a motto of exaltation of the dictatorship through a system with ventilation spaces that guarantees its correct conservation.

“It is not just about complying with the law, which is mandatory in any case. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also the main person responsible for projecting the image of Spain abroad and that image of an innovative, pro-European and democratic country cannot be tarnished by symbols of a past that has fortunately been overcome long ago,” diplomatic sources allege.

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