New Controversy in Spain Around a Street Dedicated to ‘Che’ Guevara

Che Guevara Park, in the city of Zaragoza. (Google Maps)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 27 March 2021 — Spain’s Popular Party (PP, currently in opposition) in the municipality of Fuenlabrada, located in the Community of Madrid, will present a motion in April to ask the city government to change the name of the street dedicated to Ernesto Che Guevara. The PP proposes to replace it with the name of “healthcare professionals who have faced the pandemic.”

“Fuenlabrada cannot allow itself to be called a friendly city with LGTBI people or a city opposed to violence while we maintain a street with the name of a homophobic murderer on our street,” said the PP’s municipal spokesperson, Noelia Núñez.

With about 200,000 inhabitants, this municipality is part of the so-called “red belt” and, since the return of democracy in the late 1970s, it has only had mayors from the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).

In the 2019 municipal elections the PSOE won 55.54% of the votes, with 16 councilors, Ciudadanos (center) 13.30%, the PP (center right) 10.91%, Vox (right) 7.20% and Unidos Podemos-Izquierda Unida-Ganar Fuenlabrada (communist) 6.54%.

For the PP, which already made a similar request in 2019, it is “an insult to citizens” that the local government “has maintained the name of said street in such a sectarian manner.” On that occasion, the proposal was to change the name of the street to that of José Pedro Perez-Llorca, one of the “fathers” of the Spanish Constitution who had died that year.

On several occasions the proposal was also put forward it in the plenary sessions of the District Board, but the request was not considered by the PSOE.

It is not the first time that the name of Che Guevara has sparked controversy in Spain, where several municipalities have dedicated streets, parks and even a statue like the one in the Galician city the one in the Galician city of Oleiros that, in 2015, was painted in the colors of the Spanish flag and the word “murderer.” It was the 4th time the monument had been vandalized since its inauguration in 2008.

Also in 2019, the Zaragoza city council was studying changing the name of a park and a street in that city after PP and Ciudadanos municipal groups supported a Vox motion on this issue. That same year, the mayor of Leganés, Santiago Llorente, responded to a request from Vox to remove a statue of Che Guevara, which he had no intention of doing and said: “It is not necessary to create controversy where there is none” because “beyond specific acts of Che, this monument represents a movement that developed in many towns and that was identified with the need for freedom.”


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