Having just returned from a week in Spain I was surprised that even 38 years after the death of the fascist dictator Franco and nearly 70 years after the end of the Spanish Civil War and the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Spain, that reminders of that era still exist and cause division.
We spent three days in the beatiful classical Spanish city of Segovia and a few miles down the road is Valles de los Caidos where Franco utilised thousands of Republican prisoners of war to build him and his fascist mentor Jose Antonio Rivera a massive mausoleum built deep into the rock and above it a massive Christian cross. The mausoleum itself was eerie and depressing with various granite statues reminiscent of statues in the communist USSR...ironic when one considers Franco's hatred of communism. The mausoleum itself is now being marketed as a memorial of all the dead of the Civil War (500,000) and 114,000 missing presumed murdered. This is not the case it is a memorial to a megalomaniac fascist dictator and his falangist supporters, the only connection with the republican dead is that they died building it under conditions of slavery.
We then visited the religious city of Avila closely connected with Santa Teresa (1515-82) one of Spain's patron saint and a pillar of Spanish Catholicism. So what is the connection with Franco...Santa Teresa's mummified hand was kept at Franco's bedside for the 36 years of his regime, it was only reinterred at the cathedral in Avila after his death. I find it hard to understand how a deeply religious man such as Franco can reconcile his abhorrent and cruel regime with a religion which supposedly practises love and tolerance.
Finally, whilst in Salamanca a fine Spanish city with the most beatiful of squares (Plaza Mayor), I happened to read a copy of the Spanish daily El Pais (to check my understanding of Spanish!!), my 'pigeon' Spanish was enough for me to understand that a Spanish Judge had odered and enquiry to 'murders' that were committed during the Franco regime (114,000) and they are currently opening mass graves in various localities in Spain. This enquiry has resulted in ongoing opposition from the 'Conservatives' in Spain.
This just goes to show the dangers arising from fascism and those that advocate hate are still present and I would ask readers to support Wrecsam Council's Allsorts campaign to combat race hate. For more information go to