FRANCO LIVES ON
Four important moments in the recent history of the Terres de l’Ebre explain the background leading to Tortosa’s present shame.
In 1936 Franco and his band of fascist troops and mercenaries attempted to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Spain. This coup d’état led to over two years of Civil War, including the Battle of the Ebro, where thousands upon thousands of young innocent lives were lost in a blood-thirsty four-month period. Franco, with the political and material support of Hitler and Mussolini, went on to win the war, while European democracies like England looked away. The result: 40 years of dictatorship, misery, repression and fear in the heart of Europe.
In 1966 Franco had a huge monument built in the middle of the river Ebro dedicated to his glory and that of the fascist soldiers who died in the battle.
Franco died in 1975 but his legacy continued to throw a dark shadow over the Ebro and its people.
Thirty-five years after his death, in 2010, the Mayor and council members of Tortosa voted in favour of maintaining this monstrosity in its original place. A heartless decision, both for those of us who believe in democratic values and, as such, do not understand how Franco’s illegal, illegitimate tyranny can still be on show in public, and to the victims and people who suffered under his dictatorship. A petition for the monument’s removal was signed by a thousand local citizens, with the backing of historians, sociologists, writers, artists, philosophers, and other public figures from Catalonia. It was ignored by Tortosa’s council, and so Franco’s legacy lives on in the 21st century.