The process of removing the Francoist vestiges in Canarian towns, especially Santa Cruz de Tenerife, has encountered a new obstacle. The High Court of Justice of the Canary Islands has suspended in a precautionary manner the catalog of Francoist vestiges, which develops the laws of Historical Memory of 2007 and Democratic Memory of 2022, because it had not been published in full in an official gazette, something that leaves it without legal effectiveness. The document ―appealed by the Asociación Reivindicativa de la Memoria Histórica Raíces― proposes to the municipalities what elements should be removed from their streets because they pay homage to the dictatorship. The Government of the Canary Islands understands that, although the court has upheld the claim of the collective, very active in the defense of the Francoist vestiges, the order does not question the catalog, nor does it enter into the substance of the law, and that the defect of form appreciated in its resolution "is resolved by publishing in full" the catalog in the official gazette of the autonomous community (BOC), something that, they say, will be done "immediately".
The court ―formed by magistrates Juan Ignacio Moreno-Luque Casariego, Jaime Guilarte Martín-Calero and Evaristo González González― argues that the order of the Ministry of Education of the Government of the Canary Islands published in the Official Canarian Gazette, with which it supposedly came into force, was not accompanied by the full content of the catalog, but referred to the website of the Ministry of Education. "The publication of any administrative decision (...) it must be complete and in the official gazette that corresponds to it, "say the magistrates in their resolution, issued on April 28 and to which EL PAÍS has had access. "There is no reference to a web page of a Ministry whose content, in addition, could be varied by the administrative department that has control of it."
Franco's past lives on in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Only in Santa Cruz de Tenerife at least 79 Francoist vestiges survive – monuments, street names, shields, distinctions ...-, according to this catalog, prepared by the regional executive following the regional regulation approved in 2018. It highlights, above all, the so-called Monument to the dictator Francisco Franco located since 1966 in the heart of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the last of those left in Spain dedicated to the dictator. Those responsible for the City Council (governed by Coalición Canaria or its precursors almost uninterruptedly since 1983) resist demands, pressures from the regional executive (PSOE, Podemos, Nueva Canarias and Agrupación Socialista Gomera), studies or requests from historical memory associations.
The first version of the catalogue includes the monuments of the capital of Tenerife. This aspect constitutes, precisely, the main argument of the mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez (Canarian Coalition), to resist the withdrawal of the vestiges of the dictatorship. "Santa Cruz de Tenerife has been removing symbology of Francoist origin for years," the mayor recently said in writing to this newspaper. "What this capital is demanding is legal certainty to apply the law." "PSOE and Podemos intend to show that it is a catalog of regional scope, but curiously only refers to vestiges of a municipality, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, precisely the only one that did its homework years ago," he added. The Deputy Minister of Culture and Cultural Heritage, Juan Márquez (Podemos), said in November, for his part, that "legal uncertainty is generated by not complying with the law." "The reasonable thing, and this is supported by the reports of the legal services, is that it is completed as the contributions of the other municipalities arrive," he added.
This is the second setback suffered by the Canarian government in the Canary Islands high court this year in its attempt to dismantle the most significant memories of the dictatorship that still remain on the islands. In January, the same Chamber that has suspended the catalog agreed to protect in a precautionary manner the monument of homage to Franco erected in the center of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (a sculpture by Juan de Ávalos) until the appeal filed by an association against the decision of the Cabildo of the island not to declare it of cultural interest is resolved. In this case, the group that achieved the temporary protection of the monument was the Association for the Research and Protection of the Historical Heritage San Miguel Arcángel. On that occasion, the high court considered that the law provides for "the possibility of reinterpretation or significance" of the monument "in the sense that it could have as a Francoist monument," reports Efe.