Historical Memory law puts focus on ‘Butcher of Sevilla’

Gen. Quiepo de Llano buried alongside his wife in the Macarena Basilica in Sevilla. Photo: Público
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• Quiepo de Llano’s tomb in Sevilla’s Macarena basilica in violation of new law
• Civil War general promoted extrajudicial killings, wholesale rape, rights abuses

The legal standing of the tomb of Franquista Civil War Gen. Gonzalo Queipo de Llano, whose wholesale slaughter of up to 14,000 civilians following the taking of Sevilla from Republican forces earned him the epithet ‘Butcher of Sevilla’, is coming under scrutiny in the wake of last week’s passage of a new ‘Historical Memory’ law in Andalucia that makes it illegal to glorify the heroes of the Franco-era with place names or monuments of a public character, whether or not they exist on public or private property.

Quiepo de Llano gave a series of radio addresses in 1936 as his troops swept through southern Spain at the outbreak of the military rebellion that eventually toppled the Republican government, urging soldiers under his command and Falangists paramilitary forces to employ a scorched-earth policy, summarily executing every “Red” they came across and raping, killing and humiliating the women of Republican families. On his death in 1951, he was buried with ceremony accorded a military hero in the Macarena basilica in Sevilla, where his remains still lie today alongside those of his wife, who died 16 years later.

Andalucia’s new Historical Memory law, passed last week without any opposition, has immediately placed the focus on what to do about Quiepo de Llano’s tomb in the basilica, which is clearly in violation of the spirit of the law. Debate on how to resolve the situation is now focused on whether or not the regional government should fine the church, push to have Quiepo de Llano’s remains forcibly removed or seek a negotiated settlement with his family and the Archdiocese of Sevilla to have the general’s remains quietly re-interred in a private cemetery.

► Read More in Spanish at Público, Andalucía Información and El Plural …

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