Is Tenerife still pro-Franco?

As I was making my second ascent of El Teide, from the north of the island, I passed through extensive woodland called Esperanza Forest. I had heard rumour that, hidden in the forest in a remote spot, there was still a monument (an obelisk, in fact) commemorating the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Not only was it a memorial of that tragic war, but it also honoured the role played by Francisco Franco as the leader of the rebel forces. I simply could not believe that 36 years after the death of Franco, such monuments were still allowed to stand.

I sought assistance from several locals to find the spot, none of them ecstatic about answering my questions, and this is what I found (see photos). In an age when dictators around the world are tumbling like ninepins, I gazed upon this cruelly majestic memorial that marked the spot where the rebels had held the fateful meeting that sparked the movement of troops from north Africa into Spain, unleashing a three-year bloodbath that claimed over 1 million lives. As I drew closer, I saw that it was not wreaths, bouquets and candles that honoured the space around the obelisk, but broadly-painted graffiti and slogans that shouted to the world “Death to Fascism”, “Canary Islands Free & Independent”,”Out with Spaniards” “They will not pass” (a Republican slogan during the war). And I noted around the base of the monument that visitors had relieved themselves copiously as a mark of ‘respect’………………

A local website tells me that the Canarian government had made a unanimous decision to erase this monument from the face of the earth…………….. but that was nearly 4 years ago :0(

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on December 30, 2011, in Cycling Tenerife and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Frank, you keep educating me and I am grateful for the knowledge. I wish you could e-mail me this so I can show my dept. chair Juan Redondo from Spain. I know he would really appreciate this. Help!

  2. Absolutely fascinating – as ever – particularly as I am deep into the biography of Gerald Brenan which you lent me.
    Judith

  3. Amazing that this is still there – thank you!

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