Albares orders the removal of all Francoist vestiges in embassies and consulates

The traces of Francoism have their days numbered in the Spanish diplomatic legations. This was announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Jose Manuel Albareswho has given “mandatory” instructions to all Spanish embassies and consulates to proceed to withdraw any vestige of a Francoist character that it still persists in these dependencies, in accordance with the provisions of the new Law of Democratic Memory.

In a telegram to all the Spanish diplomatic legations, to which Europa Press has had access, Albares warns that in accordance with the new regulation, “property and elements of any nature that contain symbols contrary to democratic memory“. This includes “elements of bedding, official glassware, crockery, cutlery and tableware intended for official residences that are furnished under the budgets” of Foreign Affairs.

On the other hand, all those embassies, permanent representations and consulates in which there are “elements consisting of portraits, shields, insignia, plaques and other objects“that according to the law can be considered as Francoists must notify the General Directorate of the Foreign Service before February 1, 2023, offering a “physical description of the same, with photographs and an indication of the exact location.”

Next, the General Directorate of the Foreign Service will send “specific instructions” legations where these assets exist, “once their destination has been decided by the competent body” given that, according to the minister, “they could constitute secondary sources of interest for the Documentary Center of Historical Memory or other archives and museums”.

Albares recalls in his telegram that the new law considers “elements contrary to democratic memory the buildings, constructions, shields, insignia, plaques and any other elements or objects attached to public buildings or located on public roads in which commemorative mentions are made in exaltation (…) of the military uprising and the dictatorship” and of those who directed and participated “in the repressive system”.

The minister also clarifies that its removal, which must be borne by the Foreign Office as it is the institution that owns or owns these properties, will not be mandatory only in the case of “elements with singular artistic value that are part of an integral asset of Spanish Historical Heritage” or for architectural reasons “when the element is fundamental to the structure of the property”.

There were already previous instructions

A priori, a good part of the elements contrary to the Democratic Memory Law that were in embassies and consulates around the world should already have been withdrawn before this regulation came into force on October 21, according to what it indicates Albares in his telegram.

The head of Foreign Affairs stresses that as a result of the 2007 Historical Memory Law –now repealed by the new one–, the Ministry had been making it clear through circular orders and service instructions that the “old models of certain objects ” with this symbology they had to be replaced, “referring to the Central Services of the Ministry the pieces of the old model”.

In addition, it refers to two telegrams sent on December 18, 2018 and November 25, 2020 by their predecessors in which “a series of instructions were issued on the sets or pieces of historic tableware and glassware, commemorative tombstones, shields of façade and similar elements”.

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