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(

About Frank Burns

My journeys around the world are less about riding a bicycle, and more about what happens when I get off the bicycle. 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.


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


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