Queipo de Llano becomes strong in La Macarena

The endorsement of the Supreme Court of Franco's exhumation has reopened the controversy over the grave of General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano in the basilica of the Macarena of Seville. Both are buried in a place of worship, but a hypothetical transfer of the remains of the so-called "viceroy of Andalusia" raises serious legal questions and, for the moment, the Board does not have among its priorities to promote any movement, despite the political storm generated. "There is no reason to exhume my grandfather," Gonzalo García Queipo de Llano, grandson of the military, emphatically assures LA RAZÓN. Gonzalo is cautious in his assessments. He speaks slowly, thinking a lot about what to say, knowing that his grandfather's name keeps raising blisters for the thousands of executions he authorized. "The story is there, it makes no sense to change it now," he argues, in addition to remembering that the general lies in the basilica because "he was an honorary elder brother" of the brotherhood. "He helped raise the new temple," he adds. Precisely, the church was built in the place occupied by a well-known anarchist tavern, Casa Cornelio, symbol of the "Red Seville". This same week, the Andalusian Minister of Culture, Patricia del Pozo –department on which the competences of Historical Memory depend–, assured that a possible exhumation of Queipo is a topic “on which we have to talk a lot” and recalled that the previous Government Autonomous Socialist handled "documents that did not recommend" the transfer of the remains. Similarly, Del Pozo pointed to the poor development of the Andalusian Law of Historical and Democratic Memory during the socialist stage, so his department works on the draft of an order to eliminate symbols and acts contrary to historical memory. The next step would be to appoint a commission of experts that would point out possible breaches of the rule, with the burial of Queipo being especially sensitive. The general rests with his wife Genoveva in a side chapel of the basilica, where thousands of people pass daily to pray before Esperanza Macarena. Since 2009, in compliance with the State Historical Memory Law, his tombstone has been modified twice to erase Franco's symbols. Among others, there was the Great Laureate Cross of San Fernando, a title granted by Franco. Now he wears the shield of the brotherhood of Macarena and a single title of "honorary elder brother."

legal doubts

A possible exhumation, as requested by the memorial associations and the parliamentary group of Adelante Andalucía, raises numerous legal questions, so the case of Franco is not comparable with that of Queipo. Roberto Galán, Professor of Administrative Law at the University of Seville, recalls that the State Historical Memory Act of 2007 does not establish any type of procedure related to the Valley of the Fallen. The matter of Franco's tomb in the temple "was left parked" given the controversy generated by the norm. However, the Government of Pedro Sánchez approved in 2018 a decree law that introduced several nuances. One of them is that in the Valley of the Fallen "only the mortal remains of people killed as a result of the Spanish Civil War may lie", making the site "a place of commemoration, remembrance and homage to the victims of the contest" . There was a paradox, since the remains of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, killed during the first months of the Civil War, could remain in the building, but Franco's could not. Along with this, the decree establishes a specific administrative procedure to order the transfer of the dictator's remains. Galán assures, in this sense, that the Supreme Court "has not ordered anything." "What he has done is to dismiss the appeal of the family members against the resolution of the Council of Ministers that agreed to move Franco's remains from the Valley of the Fallen to the Pardo cemetery." Now, for the family, there is an appeal for amparo to the Constitutional Court and, subsequently, to the European Court of Human Rights. The Andalusian law, passed in 2017, is not as generic as the state law. In fact, article 32 speaks of the withdrawal of "elements contrary to historical memory," that is, plaques, badges or street names. Can the transfer of mortal remains of a person be included in this area? In the opinion of Galán, "it is very debatable from the legal point of view", since "it is not the same to change the name of a street, that this can be done by a town hall and has powers for it, than to move some mortal remains, an operation that has to do with Civil Law and aspects related to health, and this is the responsibility of the State ».

starting gun

The Board has shown its willingness to complete the law, but Galán recalls that "if the law does not allow it, the decree cannot do so." That is, a decree could not authorize exhumation, but the law itself, and for that purpose its modification would be necessary. And it goes further, because if the norm is changed, it is "debatable" that such powers were of the Autonomous Community. Ultimately, Galán believes that the central government, "instead of having made an 'ad hoc' rule for a given assumption, as is the case of Franco, should have carried out a reform of the Historical Memory Law coordinated with all Spain, since the Civil War affected the entire country ». The Queipo de Llano family, if the exhumation were raised, could defend themselves and allege in each legal establishment. In the case of Franco's relatives "they have been able to go to court," Galán recalls. However, the transfer of the dictator's remains "is a political decision adopted by the Government, which has been validated by Congress." Despite the controversy unleashed in Andalusia, the Board has no intention of promoting exhumation. The parties that make up the coalition of Government, PP and Citizens, have already assured that the matter is not a priority and even Vox, which supported the investiture of Juanma Moreno, has indicated that it will not allocate «neither time nor energy» to this topic. The delegate of the Government in Andalusia, Lucrecio Fernández, in a very metaphorical way, has come to say that with the transfer of the remains of Franco "he gives the gun for Queipo to leave the Macarena". The position of the brotherhood is to abide by any legal pronouncement that occurs on the burial, although it considers an option that in its day will raise the family. He is projecting a columbarium where the ashes of the brothers will rest. There the remains of the general and his wife could be located, thus silencing future controversies.

Thousands of shot

The mark of General Gonzalo Queipo de Llano (in the image with Franco) is still present in Seville. Known were his harangues on the radio and the thousands of executions he ordered on the wall of La Macarena. He exercised a strong power in Andalusia during the hard years of the dictatorship. Deeply Catholic, he had no qualms about linking his beliefs with his political ideology. The city dedicated a parish to him with his name, in Triana, and another with that of his wife, in the neighborhood of Tiro de Línea.

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