News from Spain: Town Honors Volunteers
We are thrilled to bring you the good news that the town hall in Vicálvaro (southern Madrid) last November approved the dedication of a square to the International Brigades. This is something that the Socialist party had been campaigning for since 2008, and we were happy to witness the historic moment when the proposal was passed and approved. Much to the chagrin of the PP and Ciudadanos counsellors, Ahora Madrid and the Socialist Party PSOE remembered the fight for freedom that the International Brigades stood for and voted in favor. The whole room applauded when the proposal was approved (this was a plenary session of the Town Hall which was open to the public).
This is excellent news for the memory of the volunteers, and Vicálvaro can now be proud to be leading the way among Madrid’s city districts to recognize and honor the role and the spirit of the International Brigades. As you can read on our website, there are already streets and squares named after the volunteers in other municipalities of Madrid such as Mostoles and Getafe, and in other towns all over Spain. It was ironic that the same party that agreed to grant Spanish citizenship to the surviving Brigaders in 1996 has turned around to claim that the volunteers were not defending democracy or freedom. PP counsellors perhaps need to do some reading, including the royal decree of January 19, 1996 which reads: “It is a matter of justice to recognize the work in defense of freedom and democracy done by the volunteers in the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War from 1936 to 1939. The surviving veterans from the war deserve to see in a tangible way the gratitude of our Nation.” Also interesting is the fact that these PP counsellors seem to ignore the fact that among the 11 cities and towns in Spain where the International Brigades have been honored with a street or square, some of them were ruled by PP when the decision was approved to name those places after the volunteers.
In any case, we celebrate the great news that Vicálvaro, whose recent history is intrinsically linked to that of the International Brigades in 1936 and 1937, because it was here that the XI and the XII brigades (including the Garibaldi, Dombrowsky and Andre Marty battalions) were quartered, will finally have a public space honoring the memory of the Brigaders. For more information:
Almudena Cros is President of the Asociación de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales (AABI).