Division in Cañaveral over the destruction of the plaque of those “fallen for God and Country”: “The law says what it says”

In April 2018, the Association for the Recovery of the Historical Memory of Extremadura asked the City Council of Cañaveral (Cáceres) to remove a plaque installed on the façade of the town's church, in compliance with the Historical Memory Law. There were already precedents when in 2015 the association managed to have the same claim addressed in Piornal and Navaconcejo, in application of Law 52/2007. Because, he defended, such an inscription “hurts democratic sensitivity” and a public space “it cannot harbor expressions contrary to the values ​​of a democratic society.”

The Cañaveral plaque is another of those that have their origin in a Franco decree: «On the walls of each parish there will be an inscription containing the name of José Antonio and, if applicable, the names of his fallen, already in the present Crusade, already victims of the Marxist revolution. With the arrival of democracy, many were moved to cemeteries. Later, the Historical Memory Law caused the dismantling and even the elimination of the majority.

The one that was in the church of Santa Marina in the municipality of Vía de la Plata was literally erased from the façade on April 9 at the request of the parish priest, Miguel Ángel Morán Manzanoat the request of the PSOE city council appealing to the Democratic Memory Law.

What has especially bothered some neighbors is that the plaque was reduced to rubble. Although the priest assures LA RAZÓN that the parishioner “She has been very understanding”others do not see it that way, and even believe that a letter that he published on the web parish –“After three days, I couldn't do it before, but an explanation had to be given and we are all the community”– is a cause for greater anger.

«They were men of the town who They died in combat to defend the Church, among other things. In response to the protest he has published a statement coward and liar. Because she talks about “retirement,” when they have destroyed her,” they denounce. Thus, sugarcane farmer Julia Flores believes that “there should have been removed otherwise; not by day and hammer blows; It is taken down and placed somewhere else, or covered. The laws are the laws and they must be followed, but they have done it badlyas far as I know”.

Her husband, Ubaldo Hernández, says he has “sentimental involvement”, because he knows relatives and descendants of the protagonists in the commemorative relationship. Demands “honor to the fallen of the national side. He who died in war has no more funeral honor than that; There are those who do not know where they are buried, whether they were burned with gasoline or went to a mass grave. What has been done is disrespectful. It could have been taken down, given to whoever requested it, or covered with cement. so that within 3,000 years another civilization will find it and have a page in history. But It has been decided to destroy it in an unorthodox way. And then the priest wrote that the law is there to be fulfilled. “I am sure that if the Evangelists had not broken the laws established by Rome, the Catholic Church would not exist today.”

Hernández considers that history has been “mutilated” and witnesses “comments from some and others; Those in favor have complained that they have not had plaques made, but they have had time since democracy was implemented 50 years ago, right?

The plaque, which heads the name of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, followed by a list of twenty othersTHE REASON

Another neighbor who prefers anonymity assures that “I would have liked it to be done differently”. And he does not want to “get into controversy”, although he thinks that “they should have put it somewhere else, even though the person responsible may have done so unintentionally.” “We were used to it,” she adds with resignation, “Now we look and it's not there.”

The parish priest, former rector of the Diocesan Seminary of Coria who has been in Cañaveral for two years, refers to the letter, “where all the reasons are given”but he explains to this newspaper that, within the restoration of “the entire part of the parish affected by the Lisbon earthquake of 1755” he took the opportunity to undertake the pending task, because “the law is the law.”

He claims to have asked the workers to “remove their badges.” whole, but they told me that there was cement mortar behind it, which hardens very much, and it was impossible even in large pieces; Given the municipal requirement, we had to remove it no matter what and we opted for it to be removed. as broken as possible so that no one could take a piecewhich would be worse.

Miguel Ángel Morán assures that “people are very satisfied, they have seen with transparency that we have no choice. It has been very understanding, by an overwhelming majority; then there are the opinions of each one. I have mine too, but I'm not going to say it as a pastor. The law must be followed, and that's it.

The religious defends his behavior. «I don't understand politics, I understand law. I am the priest of all, and I have parishioners of all kinds of ideas. But he especially relies on one argument: «It was the second requirement. They told me that there could be a fine of up to 150,000 euros. As head of the parish I cannot assume that. Rehabilitation of the façade and doors It has cost us 13,000 euros, with a great sacrifice by everyone. Imagine a fine of 15,000, which is the minimum. (In reality, the scale of serious infractions – “non-compliance (…) with the removal of symbols of exaltation of the Franco dictatorship” -, fine goes from 2,001 to 10,000 eurosand if it is stipulated as very serious – in both cases “when it entails discredit, contempt or humiliation of the victims or their families” – ranges between 10,001 and 150,000 eurosaccording to article 63 of the Memory Law).

What no longer has a remedy is the plate. In places like La Roda (Albacete), where it was also removed under legal regulations, the city council will be in charge of restore the piece to place it in the crypt of the same church of El Salvador where he was.

In Cañaveral, where the left and right parties lived in harmony during the Civil War, according to local researcher Jesús Chaves, the memory in stone is already past. His priest has taken into account that “Beyond fines, non-compliance can have a negative impact on the reputation of the Church as an entity that respects the established order.”