Franco, “erased” from the General Military Academy of Zaragoza

The lady cadet Leonor de Borbón Ortiz, Princess of Asturias, paraded last Tuesday at the General Military Academy (AGM) of Zaragoza, where she is undergoing her first year of military training. But, unlike the day he was sworn in, on October 7, there was a significant change in the same scenario: there was no longer a trace of Francisco Franco's name in one of the tapestries that adorned the parade, in front of the monolith at which who gave their lives for Spain.

This February 20th was the anniversary of the founding of the military institution, which dates back to 1882, and has trained more than 29,000 officers of the Army, Civil Guard and Common Corps of the Armed Forces in its three periods of activity. Each of these periods was in charge of three people in charge: José Galbis in 1882, Franco himself between 1928 and 1931, and Francisco Hidalgo de Cisneros, who took on the task from 1940. But a “damnatio memoriae” carried out against Franco has cost all three of them at the same time the erasure of history at the Academy. The reason is a double indication, after a complaint from the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory (ARMH) and a parliamentary question about the pastry banner that was seen the day the cadet lady Leonor honored the national flag. Something that, on the other hand, was customary in the military complex, considering it as part of the institution and, therefore, used as such until now, Francisco Franco having been director of the second stage of its opening. They considered it “inevitable” to show it when alluding to a period before the Civil War and the subsequent dictatorship, stages specifically marked by the Democratic Memory Law.

The pastry banners, the day of the swearing-in of the Bourbon cadet ladyGROUND ARMYL.R.

Until just a few days ago, the tapestries could read: «1st Era. February 20, 1882. General Galbis», «2nd Era. February 20, 1927. General Franco”, and “3rd Era. September 20, 1940. General Hidalgo de Cisneros»references now reduced to periods and dates and in which the names of the soldiers have disappeared.

This outcome has its origin in the aforementioned complaint by the ARMH, which registered a petition with the General Administration of the State in which it requested the Secretariat of State for Democratic Memory to sanction «to those responsible for the Military Academy of Zaragoza and the head of protocol of the Royal House for having proposed or consented to the exhibition of a tapestry that recognizes the coup leader and dictator Francisco Franco. But, in addition, two deputies from Izquierda Unida integrated into the Plurinational Sumar Group asked the Ministry of Defense about the matter, deploring that “some are determined to perpetuate the memory of this genocide”. They wanted to know if any information file had been opened to clarify the responsibility of the director of the academy or the head of protocol of the King's House, for allowing the “violation” of current regulations. Margarita Robles' portfolio offered a brief response in which it assured that “it develops the necessary actions to effectively comply with the current legality regarding democratic memory, within the scope of its own powers,” without directly alluding to the object of controversy, although the practical effects are visible.

In November 2022, Defense created a Monitoring Committee for the “study, coordination and planning of the actions arising” from the application of the Memory Law. He has removed symbols and modified names of garrisons and units. And he began “ex officio” the withdrawal to the “Caudillo” of the Laureate Cross of San Fernandoin addition to changing the name of the Commander Franco Flag of the Legion.

A “surreal and ridiculous” decision

For the executive president of the Franco Foundation, Juan Chicharro, “this is an unprecedented and inexplicable measure,” because he considers that “the animosity against the person who was director of the AGM, and who therefore forms an unavoidable part of his history, now spills over to other directors who were also directors. «Solomonic decision? Not at all, he says, surreal and ridiculous. History, sooner or later, will put those who have chosen this procedure in their place. And, of course, they will not come out well, that's for sure.