Row over Civil War parade gesture
11 October 2004, MADRID - Left-wing Spanish politicians have condemned as "fascist" efforts by Spain's socialist Defence Minister, Jose Bono, to load Tuesday's National Day celebrations with symbols of the Civil War.
11 October 2004
MADRID - Left-wing Spanish politicians have condemned as "fascist" efforts by Spain's socialist Defence Minister, Jose Bono, to load Tuesday's National Day celebrations with symbols of the Civil War.
For the first time, the annual military parade will include a veteran of Spain's Republican Army who was among the forces that liberated Paris from the Nazis in 1944, and a veteran from Franco's Blue Division who fought alongside Hitler's troops on the Russian front, Britain's Independent newspaper reported Monday.
Bono intended the gesture to be one of reconciliation.
He said: "The two men, veterans of Spain who fought in opposing camps, will carry a laurel wreath in a symbol of the peace and harmony that Spaniards have the right to claim on our National Day."
The old soldiers will present their wreath to King Juan Carlos to honour all those who died for Spain, the minister said.
But the initiative has reawakened bitter antagonisms still simmering from Franco's dictatorship.
"In a celebration that is already a homage to fascism, the decision shows total disrespect for the victims who gave their lives for democracy by equating those who defended the republic with fascist supporters of a military coup," said Joan Tarda, spokesman for the Catalan separatist Republican Left Party, partner in the region's left-wing ruling coalition.
"True reconciliation would mean breaking the silence of the Franco years, punishing those who violated human rights and compensating the victims," Tarda added.
Josep Maldonado, defence spokesman for the conservative Catalan Convergence and Union party, criticised as "horrendous" Bono's "decision to reopen the conflict of the two Spains".
Gaspar Llamazares, leader of the pro-communist United Left Party condemned the idea of putting side by side "someone who fought for liberty with someone who broke constitutional legality. That's an affront to republicans and democrats."
Pascual Maragall, the socialist president of Catalonia welcomed the participation of a republican veteran of the Leclerc Division that liberated Paris, in which many Spanish republicans served.
But he made a provocative proposal saying: "The republican flag should also be flown, so we can say that the monarchy and the republic have finally shaken hands during the reign of King Juan Carlos."
Subject: Spanish news