Judge upholds Carmena approach to Franco-era past

Madrid Mayor Manuela Carmena (L) with Historic Memory Commission's Paca Saquillo. Photo: Sergio Barrenechea / El País
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• Judge says Carmena gov’t can’t be accused of ‘inactivity’ on Historic Memory
• Formation of commission, deliberative approach conforms to law, says judge

A judge in Madrid has dismissed a legal challenge to the administration of Madrid Mayor Manuel Carmena from an attorney demanding immediate changes to street names and removal of plaques and monuments glorifying the 35-year dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco and the triumph of anti-Republican forces in the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War.

On Monday, a judge in Madrid’s 16th district for Administrative-Contentious cases ruled that Carmena’s painstaking, deliberative approach to the process is in keeping with the spirit of Spain’s 1987 Law of Historic Memory. The legal challenge, which the court had agreed to hear last December, was filed by attorney Eduardo Ranz Alonso, who has filed dozens of similar legal challenges against towns and cities across Spain that have forced changes to names and removal of symbols glorifying the Franco era.

In Monday’s ruling, however, the judge found that the Carmena administration’s approach — which has included formation of a broad-based Historic Memory Commission led by former Socialist party Senator Francisca ‘Paca’ Saquillo, is in keeping with the norms established by the 1987 law, designed in part to rid Spain of the still-widespread glorification of the Franco era in public places. “The agreements adopted by the full body of the Madrid City Council on 22 December 2015 and 27 April 2016 make it obvious that one cannot say there has been no action taken” on the Historic Memory front, the judge ruled.

Under Saquillo’s direction, Madrid’s Historic Memory Commission is still in the process of gathering input and consensus toward the ultimate name changes and removal of monuments, having so far submitted proposals for 27 street name changes to the city government for consideration.

► Read More in Spanish at El País …

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