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Daily news from the Canaries and the islands
   Daily news from the Canaries and the islands' biggest English language newspaper on-line

Controversy continues
Not so monumental Franco
The anniversary of the death of Spanish dictator General Franco has, as usual, sparked fresh calls for all traces of his regime to be removed from towns and cities in Tenerife.


Demolition of the monument is part of a movement for declassification of all things Franco
Demolition of the monument is part of a movement for declassification of all things Franco

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12.12.2015 - The campaign has gathered even more force than usual given that this year marked the 40th anniversary of that day (November 20, 1975) that heralded a new dawn for the country after four decades under his iron rule.

Tenerife’s two main cities, Santa Cruz and La Laguna, have made a significant effort in recent years to change names of streets and schools that recall the period but the one part of the island most associated with Franco still retained its landmark, which many deemed offensive.  As every Spanish schoolchild knows, the army general met secretly with senior officers at a spot in La Esperanza, north Tenerife, in June 1936 to begin planning the military coup to oust the Republican government - the takeover that set in motion the Civil War that devastated Spain for three years before Franco’s nationalist forces emerged victorious, forcing many to flee the country in fear of their lives.

Investigations into mass executions and searches for the graves of the many who disappeared under the regime are still ongoing in Spain. 

An obelisk, erected in 1958, at the Las Raíces picnic site to commemorate the spot in La Esperanza where the momentous occasion took place, has been the source of the endless bitter controversy, especially given the time it has taken to have it demolished after the official decision for its removal was made.  As a listed building it had to be declassified before the bulldozers were called in but the following formalities have seemed to go on forever.   The Tenerife Council passed a motion ordering the demolition of the monument in November 2008 and many fail to understand how it has taken a full seven years to remove what is considered a highly unpleasant landmark.  However, others say that the site should not have been eliminated as, irrespective of the negative consequences it had for Spain, it remains a key part of the country’s history.

Nevertheless, Tenerife's current Minister for the Environment, José Antonio Valbuena, assured visitors that the rubble from the demolition will be used to reinforce water runoff ditches, and called it a “mood of present life” that a memorial stone from the time of Franco ends in that way.



Gallery: Not so monumental Franco
Demolition of the monument is part of a movement for declassification of all things Franco 
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