Monday 26 June 2023


"Espanya es construeix des de la injustícia, el seu sosteniment i suposada unitat és només una fal·làcia convenient per la qual han pagat un preu horrible els territoris que per la seva existència sostinguda ha hagut d'assimilar-se forçosament. La seva Bandera mostra la sang i el patiment que la seva història estrenya. Espanya com a concepte falla i s'estavella contra una realitat que crida justícia. El seu fracàs encara no s'ha explicat, però a la vista està, en el que es pretén ocultar i denegar. Aquest lloc i zona virtual, està dedicat per contenir i compilar material que pugui servir-li a estudiosos i Detectius Salvatges varis." 

"España se construye desde la injusticia, su mantenimiento y supuesta unidad es solo una falacia conveniente por la que han pagado un precio horrible los territorios que su existencia ha asimilado forzosamente. Su Bandera muestra la sangre y el sufrimiento que su historia contiene. España como concepto falla y se estrella contra una realidad que clama justicia. Su fracaso aún no se ha explicado, pero está a la vista en lo que se pretende ocultar y denegar. Este lugar virtual, está dedicado para contener material que pueda servirle a estudiosos y Detectives Salvages varios."


Esther Planas Balduz Bennici Barcelona Sept 2010

No España de siempre.....

 Lo mejor que pudo hacer Portugal fue liberarse del yugo de España en 1640. Y todavía están alertas por si les invaden de nuevo. (anónimo)

«Castilla hizo a España y la deshizo» (Ortega y Gasset)

«Castilla hizo a España y España deshizo a Castilla» (Sánchez Albornoz)

«Castilla se hizo España» (Julián Marías)

«España uninación, es Castilla ampliada» (José Antonio Ardanza)

«¿Con qué derecho se nos obliga a aprender la lengua de Castilla y no se obliga a los castellanos a aprender la nuestra?“ (Alfonso Daniel Rodríguez Castelao)

Hopeless Times 1936/2019 the ever pervading fascist Spain

Men in my generation have Spain in our hearts. It was there that they learned that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, that there are times when courage is not rewarded. Albert Camus 

Nada ha cambiado: Apariencias y realidades se funden en el auge o mejor dicho la re-emergencia del Fascismo en S-pain

 Henry Moore, Spanish Prisoner 1939. Lithograph, It was Moore’s first lithograph, and was created to raise money for Spanish refugees held in camps in France.

Monday 15 May 2023

Speaking Truth About Power: Documentary, Censorship, and Rocío (Fernando Ruiz Vergara, 1980)

This is the last of the older pieces that I’m intending to reprint on this new(er) blog, but it differs from the others: this wasn’t originally published on the old blog but at Mediático, an academic media and film studies blog focused on Iberian and Latin American media cultures. At the time, I described the film as a rabbit hole that I fell down – I haven’t experienced many instances (before or since) where a film gets so completely stuck in my head, or where my deconstruction of a film (working out how it works) feels genuinely exciting. In the post I wrote on the old blog by way of introduction to the subject (linking to the article), I said:

I’m someone who thinks through writing (anyone who has spoken to me immediately after a film viewing will know that I’m rarely coherent in my thoughts at that stage), but it’s not often that I write due to a sense of compulsion – Rocío is, however, one of those instances. I wrote because the film was stuck in my head, because I couldn’t find anything written about it in English (beyond a New York Times story about the trial), because in the emphasis placed on the censorship of the film people seem to have avoided writing about it as a film (which is a shame because it is an incredibly rich, and visually distinctive, piece of filmmaking), and because it tapped into the sheer enjoyment I get from properly delving into an unfamiliar film and working out how it ‘functions’. I decided to focus on the two aspects that pulled me down the rabbit hole – the story of the injustice suffered by Fernando Ruiz Vergara and Rocío, and the visual components of the film itself.

Of all the writing I’ve done since finishing my PhD and stepping out of academia, this is the piece that I am happiest with  – my thanks to Catherine Grant at Mediático for saying that I was free to republish it on my own site.


I’m currently researching contemporary Spanish documentary as part of my interest in ‘el otro cine español’, but I’ve become sidetracked by a documentary from a completely different era. My interest started with a book review of El caso Rocío: La historia de una película secuestrada por la transición [The Rocío Case: The story of a film hijacked by the Transition] in Caimán Cuadernos de Cine (May 2014): intrigued by the title and the fact that the book came with two DVDs (one the uncensored version of Rocío (Fernando Ruiz Vergara, 1980), the other a documentary (El caso Rocío (José Luis Tirado, 2013)) about the making of the film and the legal repercussions), I ordered it. Then I watched Rocío, and promptly fell down a rabbit hole.

The most straightforward way to approach the matter is probably to start from the outside and work my way in – to outline the cause of Rocío‘s notoriety before discussing the film itself. Rocío is about the annual pilgrimage to the Virgin of Rocío in the region of Huelva (Andalusia) but, in focussing on the history of the specific locale of Almonte (a hive of activity in relation to the pilgrimage), Fernando Ruiz Vergara also uncovered and recorded oral testimony of repressions suffered in the aftermath of the military coup in 1936. It was this latter aspect – specifically the naming of names, as the facts (ninety-nine men and one woman were killed in Almonte in the months following the coup) were not disputed – that was the cause of the film’s hijacking by the Spanish judiciary. The descendants of the man ‘named’ (in an act of self-censorship the filmmakers had actually cut the sound at the moment his name was said and presented an image of him that was partially obscured) as the ringleader of the repressions (José María Reales Carrasco, former mayor of Almonte) presented a criminal complaint to the courts in Seville in 1981. They accused director Fernando Ruiz Vergara, screenwriter Ana Vila, and the onscreen witness Pedro Clavijo of injuring the reputation of their father (who was deceased), deriding the Catholic religion, and publicly insulting the ceremonies held in honour of the Virgin of Rocío. The judge ordered the removal of all copies of the film from the public domain at the time of the complaint, and by the time the case reached the court the following year the complainants were seeking prison sentences for all three defendants on the charge of slander, in addition to a fine for the ‘injuries’.[1]

The slander charge would be dropped. In the documentary El caso Rocío, Francisco Baena Bocanegra (the lawyer who represented Ruiz Vergara and Vila) says that if the slander charge had stayed then the defendants would have won because they could meet the requirements of proof, and this was precisely why that charge was dropped but the more difficult to defend ‘injury’ stayed (take a moment to think about the Kafkaesque nature of that set of circumstances). By this stage the frightened 73-year old Clavijo denied making his onscreen statements (a clearly desperate measure, since it obviously was him onscreen) – in response, and of their own volition, seventeen of the older residents of Almonte travelled to Seville to back up their neighbour’s statements for the court but the judge did not allow their evidence to be admitted. After this development Fernando Ruiz Vergara insisted on taking full responsibility for film, which meant that the charges against Vila and Clavijo were dropped: the director was sentenced to two months and a day and ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 pesetas (today, 300€ plus inflation) and compensation of 10,000,000 pesetas (today, 60,000€ plus inflation), ‘in civic responsibility’, for the injury done to José María Reales Carrasco. As part of the sentence the film was also prohibited from being distributed or shown within Spain unless the two sections that referred to Reales Carrasco were removed. Ruiz Vergara refused to let the distributor cut the film, but in 1984 when the sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Tribunal, the cuts were made – the director fought to have intertitle cards inserted to indicate when a sequence had been censored. The film was shown in Spain in that form after 1984 (José Luis Tirado has uploaded that version to Youtube with English subtitles – UPDATE Aug 2017: it has been taken down), but the version that appeared on Spanish television in the 1990s lacked the intertitle cards or any acknowledgement of the censorship. Meanwhile Fernando Ruiz Vergara moved to Portugal in self-exile and would not direct another film (Tirado interviewed him shortly before his death in 2011).

What makes the case even more jaw-dropping is that it took place post-Franco, after 1977 and the end of official censorship, and towards the end of Spain’s transition to democracy: the decisions by the court span both the Transition and democracy. The judge, Luis Vivas Marzal, would later say in relation to Rocío that:

‘es indispensable inhumar y olvidar si se quiere que los sobrevivientes y las generaciones posteriores a la contienda, convivan pacífica, armónica y conciliadamente, no siendo atinado avivar los rescoldos de esa lucha para despertar rencores, odios y resentimientos adormecidos por el paso del tiempo’ [it is essential to bury and forget if one wants survivors and subsequent generations to the dispute, to coexist peacefully, harmoniously and conciliatorily, it not being wise to stoke the embers of that struggle to revive resentment, hatred and resentment numbed by the passage of time (my translation)] (Espinosa Maestre 2013: 38).

This was the prevailing attitude, commonly referred to as ‘the pact of silence’, of the Spanish Establishment during the Transition – let sleeping dogs lie. The problem is that is while the victors of the Civil War had almost forty years in which to commemorate their dead, the losers were condemned to silence during the dictatorship, unable to publicly mourn their dead and indeed often not knowing exactly where their dead were buried – they were now being told to move on and not reopen old wounds. As historian Pura Sánchez says in Tirado’s film, what the Rocío case highlights is that while the pact of silence is presented as a consensus, it was actually an imposed consensus because the sides involved were not equal.

There is one notorious instance of a drama (representing historical events) falling foul of censorship during the Transition: Pilar Miró, despite being a civilian, was hauled before a military tribunal because of what her film El crimen de Cuenca (1981) depicted of the Civil Guard. But documentary films, specifically those that addressed things the Establishment wanted off limits (which is why the slander charge was dropped in the Rocío case – because the evidence presented by the defence would have very publicly opened a can of worms), bore the brunt of ‘unofficial’ censorship or officious obstructiveness (which could take the form of withholding or blocking funding, or threatened legal sanctions): the more famous examples are El proceso de Burgos (Imanol Uribe, 1979) and Después de… (Cecilia Bartolomé and Juan José Bartolomé, 1981). Alejandro Alvarado argues that the obstacles placed in front of such films – whether during production, distribution, or exhibition – further marginalised the documentary in Spain and was partly responsible for the near disappearance of the form for more than two decades after the early 1980s (2013: 67). But even within this context, Rocío seems to be a case apart because of how long the censorship has endured. In 2005 an attempt was made to screen the original version of the film as part of a conference on ‘historical memory’, but the Reales family resurfaced and amazingly (given the momentum behind the historical memory ‘movement’ since the millennium) managed to stop the screening (the intertitled version was shown instead). In 2014, it was still illegal to exhibit Rocío uncut in Spain. The uncut DVD that comes with the book has a label stating ‘edición limitada como documento para El caso Rocío‘ [limited edition as a document for The Rocío Case]: the classification of the documentary as a document rather than a film would appear to be how they have got around the legal issue in this instance.

El caso Rocío (subtitled trailer) questions whether Fernando Ruiz Vergara was truly aware of what he was getting himself into by including the contentious sections. But given that he and Ana Vila were threatened during the filming (and the subsequent self-censorship), he must have known that trouble lay ahead. For his part, he says in Tirado’s film that once he had seen their faces there was no possibility of leaving out that part of the town’s history (he also points to the need that people had to talk about what had happened). While the various historians interviewed by Tirado emphasise Rocío‘s importance as a social document, both as a celebration of Andalusian identity, and as a nascent example of what would become the movement to reclaim historical memory in Spain, two of the other participants – Isidoro Moreno, an anthropologist who was one of the talking heads in Rocío, and Vitor Estevâo, who was DoP and one of the camera operators – argue that Ruiz Vergara could have concentrated solely on the religious pilgrimage and still have made more or less the same film (that is how Moreno phrases it, but Estevâo is almost dismissive, saying that the director could have just made a ‘pretty’ film and saved himself a lot of trouble). Could he have left out the names of those involved in what took place in Almonte in 1936? Possibly, although I think Ruiz Vergara would have seen that as a betrayal of the trust placed in him by Pedro Clavijo, and it would have had a ripple effect through the rest of the film. The emphasis placed on the sequences relating to the incidents in 1936 (and the resulting censorship) in what has been written about Rocío makes it sound as if those elements were almost ‘tacked on’ to a documentary about religious pilgrimage. But they are tightly woven into the fabric of the film because Ruiz Vergara (who was also the editor) traces the history and roots of the religious tradition and how they are interlaced with (and mirror) the social hierarchies of the area – the families wielding economic and political power in the area are also at the centre of the hermandades de la Virgin del Rocío (‘brotherhoods’ – the local bodies who organise certain aspects of the celebrations for their members), and José María Reales Carrasco was one of the founders of the main hermandad in Almonte. The director constructs a mosaic in which all the pieces matter if you want to see the full picture.

The film starts with a potted history of Christianity in Spain, the arrival of the Berbers in 711 AD and resulting Islamisation of parts of the Iberian peninsula, followed by the Church’s eventual triumph and its mission to integrate itself into rural communities. In parallel, the cult of the Virgin began, the relative scarcity of women (who were more susceptible to the diseases of the time) conferring upon them a status that was reflected in the worshipping the Virgin. After this opening ten minutes, Fernando Ruiz Vergara and writer Ana Vila continuously weave back and forth between the region in the then-present (the footage of the romería (pilgrimage) was filmed in 1977 with additional material collected during the editing process the following year), the way in which the tradition had been shaped to suit both the Church and the more powerful local families,[2] and how politics and religion (i.e. the Second Republic as a secular State) connect to the repressions in the area in the aftermath of 1936.

However the next sequence is the first hint of the striking visual composition that will mark the footage of the veneration of the Virgin of Rocío, a.k.a. La Paloma Blanca (the White Dove). It starts with Jose Hernandez Diaz (then-Professor of Art at Seville University) explaining the evolution of the Virgin statues: the original statues were mutilated by the worshippers so as to better dress them in ostentatious finery, and eventually they were mounted onto a frame so as to make them the height of an actual woman. We then watch two nuns divest a Virgin statue of its finery and take it apart so as to reveal the ravaged body underneath.[3] In what is an intensely theatrical presentation, in a darkened room so as to highlight the white and gold of the statue and the white of the nuns’ habits, Ruiz Vergara keeps the camera close, sometimes with extreme close-ups of hands intimately unfastening and removing layers of clothing and appendages (first hands, then arms), but also regularly pulling back to show the statue in various stages of déshabillé and disintegration. The sequence stands as a metaphor for how Rocío functions as a whole: our attention will be drawn to specific elements of this religious tradition and their significance within this geographic area (exploring the social, economic, and political contexts at play), with the filmmaker and his team capturing close detail but also continually pulling back to show how these specifics interconnect and fit into the bigger picture (and in the process arguably revealing a fairly ugly framework in operation beneath the celebratory and often hauntingly-beautiful surface).

Filming in 16mm on a combination of five cameras, Fernando Ruiz Vergara and his team embedded themselves in the pilgrimage of 1977 – living and sleeping alongside the pilgrims – because the director (who was from Seville and had attended previously) knew that if they left for any amount of time, they would miss the emotion of the event and key occurrences. Camera operators could film whatever caught their attention but were also instructed to look out for certain things by Ruiz Vergara (for example, the small children forcibly being made to crowd-surf in order to touch the Virgin). The camera positioning and movement noticeably change as the romería progresses; this relates to who has ‘control’ at a given moment, the filming being more immersive when ‘the crowd’ (as opposed to those higher up the social hierarchy) takes over. During the initial procession, which is conducted on horseback and in horse and carts, the cameras stay further back, at one remove and observing from the outside. The voiceover (at this point, Isidoro Moreno) tells us that this opening stage is a reaffirmation of the pre-industrial values of an agrarian and aristocraticized society: participation in the procession is a demonstration of economic standing via the ownership of horses (but also being able to afford the necessary provisions and transport). When the procession arrive at their destination, the pedestrian crowd become evident, but at this point they are there as an audience to the equestrian class display rather than active participants.

When night falls and the revelry of the broader class base begins, the camera begins to move in closer, occasionally being jostled by the dancers, with the image often coloured by the flares and lights in the crowd. People are aware of being filmed and look openly into the camera – one man spots the camera and puts his arm around the woman next to him, only for her to realise that they are being filmed and shrug his arm off her shoulder, looking askance at him. At the open air Mass the following morning, the camera withdraws to a distance again – surreptitiously capturing people yawning and otherwise looking the worse for wear after their nocturnal activities – but once the more formal ceremony is over the camera again moves amongst the masses, in ever closer proximity. Ruiz Vergara continues to overlay the footage with voiceovers explaining how historical, political, and social contexts have shaped the romería, and it is between the footage of the Mass and the next stage that the censored sections appear. The sequence explains that the hermandades started in the 17th century, but a significant concentration of them were founded after 1931 and the start of the (secular) Second Republic. Ruiz Vergara connects this with the increased ‘promotion’ of the Virgin of Rocío in the period and parallel tensions stemming from the requirement to remove religious symbols from official institutions, in line with a secular State – the killing of the ninety-nine men and one woman (people who supported the Republic) in 1936 is presented (with support from Pedro Clavijo’s testimony) as a settling of scores. After that sombre sequence the film presents some of its most stunning (and stunningly-strange) imagery. During the next part of the romería, the participants (by this point almost exclusively male) are in pursuit of a frenetic state of possession – or a kind of religious fervour – that begins at daybreak with the ‘seizing of the saint’.

With the camera handheld and in a low position, this initially plays out like the start of a riot with men pushing to clamber over barriers and the mass of people breaking out of containment to climb onto (and fall from) platforms within the Church. The cameras are so close to the action that they put us in amongst it and the confusion intensifies – are the men working together or against each other? what are they actually doing? (there is no voiceover during this footage). A series of overhead shots then show the densely-packed (male) bodies swarming around the Virgin, the framework of her pedestal swaying as the crowd staggers forward almost fighting each other to get closer to the statue, screams audible on the soundtrack. The heat is palpable and the sudden cut to outside, the sky finally visible, is like a gulp of fresh air in this heady atmosphere.

Ruiz Vergara then alternates between shots from in amongst the crowd, jostled, and looking up at either the Virgin or people and children riding on the shoulders of others, or a vantage point slightly above the crowd (as if the camera operator were being carried, which Estevâo says often happened because the crowd lifted them up to give the camera a better view) surveying the participants, some of whom appear almost punch drunk, overcome by emotion or the heat – flushed faces with shining eyes stare into the camera. The camera slowly pulls out to a wide shot revealing the size of the gathering, with the Virgin the serene eye of the human storm (we have already seen this shot – it is briefly inserted into the sequence where the nuns undress the statue). As the swirling mass carry her back into the Church, there are close-ups of the faces of those crushed around the bottom of the pedestal and of hands grasping the poles at the four corners, all emphasising the physical experience of participation and generating a sensation of airless claustrophobia in the viewer. An aggressive human chain forms (as much elbowing each other out of the way as joining together) to half pull, half bounce, the statue back into the intended position. The heat, sweat, and dust are tangible in the hazily steamed-up images captured by the cameras, once again immersing the viewer into the crowd’s experience; the camera style and editing of the sequence is shaped by, and aestheticises, the breathless giddiness of the crowd.

Every seven years, a second procession is held in August (the annual event is held in the Spring) in which the Virgin (this time dressed as a shepherdess) is carried from the sanctuary in Almonte to the hills some fifteen kilometres away. Although just as crowded, this is less frenzied; the camerawork is steadier, and takes a more observational position in comparison to the seizing of the saint. The episode takes on characteristics of a semi-mystical event – for example, via the non-diagetic music on the soundtrack (quite distinct from other sequences), and the way the statue is filmed from inside the Church as it exits, causing it to be backlit and momentarily look like a mirage in the shimmering heat – with greater emphasis given to the pagan over the formally-religious. Once night falls and the procession travels through dusty darkness, the cameras move in closer again (and in contrast to the earlier night sequence, seemingly provide the only light source apart from fire) to capture human chains eerily emerging out of the darkness, families walking side-by-side, and a cape-clad (and fully-covered) Virgin looming over the participants once more. In an echo of what happens in the Church when the Virgin returns, the crowd lift and heave her up onto a platform in the darkness (the camera by now again observing from a distance), in preparation for her to be unveiled as the first rays of sun of the new day illuminate her face. As an undulating mass of dust-streaked bodies then commence moving the Virgin for the return journey, I was put in mind of a behind-the-scenes image from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, a sea of arms all reaching up to the female form. The last sequence of the film (accompanied by Salvador Távora singing ‘Herramientas’ [Tools], a paean to labour and labourers) is a montage of mainly previously-unseen footage, emphasising the workers, the land, and community participation in the romería – notably omitting images of priests or formal religious markers – and ends on a freeze frame of a cluster of hands gripping together. These final images (in combination with the shepherdess procession), stress community unity from the perspective of the working classes, and a shared regional identity, but also effectively give the festival back to the people (as opposed to its historical co-opting by the religious authorities).

In El caso Rocío, Salvador Távora suggests that Rocío‘s impact stems not simply from showing the full historical, social, and political context of the event, but that it does so through beauty. It is a shame that so little attention has been paid to the film as a film – I’ve tried to readdress that here – but Fernando Ruiz Vergara constructed such a richly interconnecting text that it is quite difficult to separate the various elements in its composition. The fallout from Rocío finished the director’s career, but he matter-of-factly says in José Luis Tirado’s film: “lo unico que pretendo es contar cosas que no se conocen, que además son importantes en todo caso por la propia historia de cualquier historia […] Y si las cosas que pasaron están aquí – pasaron – ahí está” [All I want is to tell things that aren’t known, and that are important at any rate in the history of any story […] And if the things that happened are here – they happened – well, there it is].[4] I would argue that Rocío‘s importance as a documentary goes beyond its status as a social document of the time (both in terms of what it depicts onscreen and in the subsequent treatment of the film), and a precursor of the historical memory movement, to the actual standard it set in terms of documentary as a cinematic form – it is both visually striking and a brave and incisive examination of power and its abuses in a microcosm for the wider situation in contemporaneous Spain.


Notes –
[1] The factual information regarding the trial is taken from El caso Rocío (book and film) and Alvarado (2010). (Go back)
[2] Both had economic interests in common stemming from land ownership, while the hermandades (usually headed by those same families) are profitable lay organisations with obvious religious connections. Ruiz Vergara researched parish records for the financial information, including details of profits, relating to the romería of 1975. (Go back)
[3] The role of women is very restricted in relation to the romería – the dressing of the Virgin is one of the few roles of importance that they are shown enacting in Rocío. See Sánchez (2013) for further details. (Go back)
[4] It seems unlikely that a film about the subject would be treated the same way today (although, that said, it is still illegal to exhibit the full version of Rocío), but freedom of expression is apparently still vulnerable to curtailment by the powerful in Spain: Banco Santander suppressed Víctor Moreno’s documentary Edificio España (about the renovation of that iconic building, owned by the bank) for fifteen months until the director went to the press and the resulting outcry led to the injunction being lifted in early 2014 (video interview with Moreno). (Go back)


References –
Alvarado, A. (2010) – ‘Maldita Rocío: la película más prohibida, la que algunos quisieran ignorar‘, Blogs&Docs, accessed 19th August 2014.
Alvarado, A. (2013) – ‘Un lobo con piel de cordero: La censura en el cine documental después de Franco’, in del Río Sánchez et al., pp.67-78.
del Río Sánchez, A., F. Espinosa Maestre, and J.L. Tirado (ed.s) (2013) – El caso Rocío: La historia de una película secuestrada por la transición, Seville: Aconcagua Libros. (ISBN: 9788496178847).
Espinosa Maestre, F. (2013) – ‘Algunas claves ocultas de Rocío: Los sucesos del 32 en Almonte y la “cuestión agraria”‘, in del Río Sánchez et al., pp.19-46.
Sánchez, P. (2013) – ‘Así en la tierra como en el cielo: Reflexiones sobre las mujeres en los ritos festivos, a propósito de Rocío‘, in del Río Sánchez et al., pp.89-98.

Sunday 19 March 2023

Tóxicos Ex-Comunistas o agentes dobles? Ramón Tamames

El economista encabezará el próximo martes una moción de censura al presidente del Gobierno, auspiciada por el partido Vox

Ramón Tamames Gómez (Madrid, 1933) encabezará el próximo martes una moción de censura al presidente del Gobierno, auspiciada por el partido Vox. El economista Tamames, antiguo dirigente del Partido Comunista de España, formación que abandonó en 1981, comparece en condición de independiente, después de haber militado en Izquierda Unida y en el CDS de Adolfo Suárez. Durante años, su principal foco de actividad pública estuvo en las tertulias radiofónicas (Antena 3 Radio y cadena Cope). Es autor, entre, otras obras, del libro Estructura económica de España (1960), ensayo de referencia durante décadas, con 26 reediciones. Ramón Tamames recibió el pasado martes a La Vanguardia en su domicilio en Madrid. La entrevista se completó el viernes.
Propuesta de fondo
“Me gustaría un gobierno de unidad nacional, o al menos, un gesto de unidad”

¿Dispuesto para tomar la palabra en el Congreso?

Sí, muy dispuesto.

¿Tiene su discurso completamente preparado?

Sí, y lo repaso cada día. Una exposición de una hora.

Se ha filtrado una versión de su intervención [publicada por el pasado miércoles]. ¿Va a cambiar el texto?

Prefiero no hablar de ese asunto. Cui prodest? Ya le he dicho que reviso mi intervención cada día.

El partido que presenta la moción de censura difunde a diario una visión catastrófica de España. ¿Comparte usted la rotundidad de su diagnóstico?

España es un país muy complejo. ¿Una visión muy negativa de España? Bueno, eso deberán decirlo quienes oigan el discurso. España es un país muy complejo y a la vez extraordinario. Diría que estamos en un momento de transición. ¿Hacia dónde? No se sabe.

¿Se considera usted un nacionalista español?

No, no, no me considero un nacionalista español. Un nacionalista es el que embiste cuando ve un trapo rojo. No creo en el nacionalismo que embiste, pero sí creo que España es un país extraordinario. He leído más historia de España estos últimos años que en toda mi vida.

¿Qué ha leído?

He leído a Elvira Roca Barea, por ejemplo, desmitificando la leyenda negra. [Elvira Roca Barea es autora del libro Imperiofobia y leyenda negra ]. No nos pueden dar lecciones. Inglaterra desindustrializó India en beneficio propio y el admirado Churchill provocó una terrible hambruna en Bengala con tres millones de muertos. Y dijo: “Que les dé comer Gandhi”. España nunca hizo estas cosas.

¿El actual Gobierno de España es ilegítimo?

No. Es un Gobierno que emana de una investidura legítima, con los votos suficientes. El problema del Gobierno es su composición y su programa. Una composición que quitaba el sueño a Pedro Sánchez, según confesión propia en el 2019.

¿Cuál es su opinión de Pedro Sánchez?

Sánchez demostró tener un gran coraje político cuando luchó para recuperar la secretaría general del PSOE. Después ganó una moción de censura. Yo voy a criticar la labor del Gobierno. Creo que el Gobierno no funciona porque es Frankenstein. Es un Gobierno Frankenstein. Eso ya lo vaticinó...

...Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.

Efectivamente. Ese es el problema: la composición del Gobierno.
Mirando atrás
“¿Cómo explicaría mi último paso a los presos del PCE? Están todos muertos”

¿Podemos, culpable?

Han incordiado mucho. Y el problema también son los separatistas.

Usted acaba de reafirmar estos días que España es una nación de naciones, idea que ya defendió durante el momento álgido de la crisis de Catalunya, en el 2017, en una entrevista con La Vanguardia . Nación de naciones era el planteamiento del PCE en 1977.

Yo no iría a la guerra civil por una cuestión semántica. Desde Pi i Margall que se habla de nacionalidades. ¿Cuál es la diferencia entre nacionalidad y nación?

“Dónde hay nacionalidad hay nación”, dijo Manuel Fraga durante el debate constitucional. El concepto nacionalidad figura inscrito en la Constitución.

Nacionalidades y regiones, efectivamente. Eso dice el artículo dos.
El foco de la censura
“El Gobierno es legítimo, el problema está en Podemos y los separatistas”

No se considera un nacionalista español, niega que el Gobierno sea ilegítimo en contra de lo que sostiene Vox, rehusa calificar de catastrófica la situación del país, acepta la nacionalidad catalana, cree que Sánchez es un político valiente y circunscribe el problema de España a Podemos...

El problema, como le he dicho, es Frankenstein. Una cosa es aceptar las nacionalidades y otra aceptar la disgregación de España. Yo voté en contra del derecho de autodeterminación en 1977.

¿Cómo encaja usted con Vox?

Vox ha tenido la valentía de confiar en un independiente y yo se lo agradezco. Mi viejo amigo Fernando Sánchez Dragó puso mi nombre sobre la mesa y han tenido la valentía de romper los cauces habituales.

¿Le ha pedido Vox que hable menos durante estos días previos a la moción de censura?

El encargo
“Mi misión no es blanquear a Vox, pero agradezco a Vox su apertura y valentía”

¿El encargo es dulcificar la imagen de Vox?

Yo no pretendo blanquear a Vox. Es más, esa expresión me parecería del todo inadecuada. Tengo amigos en Vox, e incluso algún familiar.

La misión de la moción de censura, si triunfase, sería convocar elecciones generales para el 28 de mayo. ¿Cuál sería su voto en esas elecciones generales anticipadas?

El voto es secreto.

¿Le gustaría un gobierno de coalición Partido Popular-Vox?

A mí me gustaría un gobierno de coalición de los partidos nacionales que defienden la Constitución y la Monarquía parlamentaria.

¿Un gobierno de unidad nacional?

Me gustaría, al menos, una declaración conjunta para respetar esos puntos cardinales: Constitución y Monarquía. Me gustaría que el Partido Nacionalista Vasco se mantuviese en la vía autonomista. Y me gustaría que Artur Mas, con el que me cartee hace unos años, dijese: “Me equivoqué”.

¿Qué queda del Ramón Tamames del PCE?

Pues queda el sentido crítico, el gusto por el trabajo. Y queda la controversia. Yo siempre he estado en la controversia.

Los presos políticos fueron la gran fuerza moral del PCE en la mesa de la transición. ¿Cómo explicaría a los presos comunistas del penal de Burgos el paso que usted acaba de dar?

Están todos muertos.

Wednesday 11 January 2023

Sorolla, Gutiérrez de la Vega o Brueghel el joven, el botín de Franco que permanece aún escondido en El Prado

La Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica propone al Museo del Prado hacer una exposición con la obra incautada por la dictadura franquista.

"Se podría aprovechar para relatar la gran operación de saqueo que fue el franquismo", destaca a infoLibre el presidente de la ARMH, Emilio Silva

'Cabeza de mujer con mantilla blanca' 

David Gallardo
10 de enero de 2023 22:05h

Joaquín Sorolla, Gutiérrez de la Vega, Brueghel el joven, Federico de Madrazo y Kuntz, Pedro Atanasio Bocanegra. Pintores de diferentes épocas con una conexión inesperada: el Museo del Prado conserva en sus fondos obras de todos ellos (y otros muchos) que fueron incautadas durante la Guerra Civil y el franquismo. De hecho, la pinacoteca investiga actualmente la procedencia original de 62 obras de arte de esos fondos, de las que 25 piezas -23 pinturas, un reloj y un frutero- provenían de la Comisaría General del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional, creada en 1939.

Esta Comisaría General fue heredera del Servicio de Defensa del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional, creado por un decreto firmado por el dictador Francisco Franco, del 22 de abril de 1938, destinado a "reorganizar el servicio de recuperación del Patrimonio artístico nacional y también de las obras de arte de propiedad de particulares sometidas a los azares de la guerra", tal y como puede leerse en el BOE.

Cabeza de mujer con mantilla blanca, de Joaquín Sorolla, es una de esas 25 obras que ya se sabe a ciencia cierta que fueron incautadas durante la Guerra Civil y el franquismo (el resto se sigue investigando). Se trata de un óleo sobre lienzo fechado hacia 1882, con 48 centímetros de alto y 33 de ancho. Adscrita al Museo de Arte Moderno, procedente de la Comisaría General del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional en 1943, actualmente está en depósito en el Museo del Ampurdám de Figueras.

Otro cuadro en esta situación es Paisaje nevado, atribuido a Jan Brueghel, El Joven. Un óleo sobre tabla de 45 por 76 centímetros fechado después de 1625, que representa la vida de una aldea durante un día frío de invierno, y que no se encuentra actualmente expuesto, si bien está adscrito al Museo del Prado, procedente de la Comisaría General del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional en 1941.

José Gutiérrez de la Vega tiene un total de cuatro obras de su autoría que fueron incautadas durante el franquismo. A saber: Alegoría del Antiguo Testamento (óleo sobre lienzo, hacia 1844), El canónigo José Olcina y Macía, caballero de Montesa (óleo sobre lienzo, 1845-1848), Dama con abanico (óleo sobre lienzo, hacia 1845) y Alegoría del Nuevo Testamento (óleo sobre lienzo, también hacia 1844).

Desde la Comisaría General del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional llegaron también hasta el Prado a lo largo de los lustros otras obras de Federico Madrazo y Kuntz (Retrato de caballero, 1855), Eugenio Lucas Velázquez (Encadenada, 1850), Joost de Momper II (Paso de un río, siglos XVI-XVII), Pedro Ruiz González (Cristo en el Pretorio, 1673), Rodrigo de Osona y Francisco de Osona (La natividad, 1490; y Adoración de los Reyes Magos, 1490), François Boucher (Amorcillos jugando con un pichón, siglo XVIII; Amorcillos vendimiando, siglo XVIII), Adriaen Isenbrandt (Cristo varón de dolores, 1525-1550), Pedro Atanasio Bocanegra (La Virgen con santos y ángeles, siglo XVII; La Virgen con santos, siglo XVII), Giuseppe Bonito (Leopoldo de Gregorio, marqués de Esquilache, 1759) y Manuel de Castro (La huida de Egipto, 1697).

También figuran un frutero y un reloj procedentes de la Comisaría General del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional, así como dos óleos anónimos del siglo XVII. En lo referente a las pinturas, 17 fueron entregadas al Museo del Prado por la Comisaría General del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional entre 1940 y 1942; cinco pinturas entregadas al Museo de Arte Moderno, procedentes de la Comisaría General del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional (1942). Además, otra pintura, la mencionada de Sorolla, fue entregada al Museo de Arte Moderno, procedente de la Comisaría General del Patrimonio Artístico Nacional (1943), pero quedó en el Museo de Arte Contemporáneo y pasó al Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, desde donde se adscribió al Museo del Prado en 2016 por reordenación de colecciones.

Junto a estas, el Prado tiene además once pinturas (depositadas entre 1936 y 1939) por la Junta Delegada de Incautación del Tesoro Artístico y otras 26 pinturas, en general muy deterioradas, depositadas en fechas desconocida por esa misma junta. Algunas obras cuentan con algún dato alusivo a la procedencia anterior a su incautación, aunque en la mayoría de los casos se desconoce quién era el propietario individual, bien por falta de información de los propios herederos o por el exilio de las familias, entre otras circunstancias.


Es esto último, precisamente, lo que lleva a la Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica (ARMH) a proponer al Museo una exposición con la obra incautada por la dictadura franquista. "Se podría aprovechar para relatar la gran operación de saqueo que fue el franquismo", destaca a infoLibre el presidente de la ARMH, Emilio Silva, quien apunta que de un tiempo a esta parte se han publicado noticias sobre devoluciones de patrimonio a sus legítimos dueños, por lo que la investigación puesta en marcha por el Prado "posiblemente es la punta de un iceberg donde hay muchísimas más cosas".

"Hacer esta exposición es una gran oportunidad para explicar toda esa operación del franquismo por controlar el patrimonio y lo que pasó o no pasó con él. Nos parece una acción reparadora simbólicamente, y que puede ayudar incluso a que aparezcan sus legítimos dueños. El Prado está investigando 62 obras, pero en la Biblioteca Nacional hay cientos. Hay 25 obras que ya se saben y luego las que se sospechan, porque si te pones a rascar puede aparecer de todo. Aunque tampoco vemos al Gobierno con intención de devolver a sus legítimos propietarios estas obras", explica Silva.

Así las cosas, la ARMH propone a la pinacoteca que mientras se lleva a cabo la investigación sobre patrimonio incautado que forma parte de sus fondos, se organice una exposición que, bajo el título de Incautados, muestre las obras de las que se apropió el franquismo mediante amenazas o violencia y se explique el modus operandi del proceso de represión -patrimonio- que llevaron a cabo las instituciones franquistas, y la historia de los distintos organismos que se encargaron de recuperar "las obras de arte sometidas a los azares de la guerra", como se decía en el BOE antes citado.

Y es que esos azares de la guerra , tal y como indica Silva, "fueron en la mayoría de los casos operaciones de saqueo y botines de guerra obtenidos a punta de pistola". "Muchas familias republicanas tenían bienes patrimoniales importantes ysalieron en muchos casos escopetadas para salvar la vida dejando atrás muchas cosas. Algunas han llegado a estos museos, pero sabemos que otras se han quedado en el patrimonio de la familia del dictador, por ejemplo, que allí donde iba arrasaba con todo el patrimonio. Pero aquí no se ha hecho una gran investigación sobre qué pasaba con ese patrimonio, que es otra cosa que debería hacer el Gobierno", destaca.

El Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao expone desde el mes de septiembre pasado dos cuadros que fueron incautados por el franquismo al empresario vasco Ramón de la Sota y Llano durante la Guerra Civil y que acaba de restituir a sus herederos el Ministerio de Industria, Comercio y Turismo, después de ser localizados en 2018. Las obras son Retrato de joven caballero, de Cornelis van der Voort, y Retrato de María Cristina de Borbón, de Luis de la Cruz y Ríos. Un caso particular que puede animar a otras familias a tratar de localizar obras que perdieron durante el expolio del franquismo, como ha hecho recientemente el historiador Nicolás Sánchez-Albornoz reclamando "dos cuadros colgados en el Parador de Almagro que le habían sido confiscados a su familia", tal y como apunta Silva.

Una vez presentada su propuesta por registro oficial, el Prado tiene por ley treinta días de plazo para responder a la ARMH, que, más allá de este particular, insta al Gobierno a "revisar todos los sitios donde haya patrimonio cultural", no solo museos, sino también ministerios, edificios públicos o, efectivamente, paradores. "Tienen que rascar hasta el final porque, una vez que se pongan, es evidente que ahí va a caer de todo. Se quemó mucha documentación en los setenta, pero ese Patronato creado en 1938 tenía que tener un archivo y un catálogo. El Estado tiene que buscarlo y sacarlo a la luz. Que se haga una exposición que es interesante en sí misma, pero además puede ayudar a que se conozca esa historia y a que sus legítimos dueños aparezcan y recuperen el patrimonio que les robaron a punta de pistola", termina Emilio Silva.

Mientras tanto, el Prado sigue investigando con un equipo de investigación ad hoc con el catedrático y experto en patrimonio y Guerra Civil, Arturo Colorado, para ampliar el estudio de estos casos y analizar otras posibles incautaciones. El objetivo es aclarar cualquier duda que pudiera existir sobre los antecedentes y el contexto previos a que se produjera su entrada en las colecciones del Prado y, "llegado el caso y cumpliendo todos los requisitos legales, proceder a su devolución a sus legítimos dueños". Las conclusiones de este estudio se publicarán en las próximas semanas, según han confirmado a infoLibre desde el Museo.