The image of Esmeralda Pastor posing smiling in front of a Francoist flag took less than two days to explode in the face of the brand new Government of Aragon. The Executive of Jorge Azcón (PP), who was invested with the votes of Vox and the Aragonese Party (PAR), named 26 senior officials last Thursday. Among them, the new Director General of Justice, who appeared on her Facebook profile with the pre-constitutional insignia, later conveniently cropped so that only part of it could be seen.
This Saturday, both Podemos and the Socialist Party had asked the Aragonese president to dismiss it “in a sudden manner”, when the messages of another of the senior regional officials, Jorge María Valero, general director of Hunting and Fishing of the Ministry of Agriculture, came out. , had posted on that same social network in which he remembered the birth of José Millán Astray, the founder of the Legion and a relevant figure in the coup d’état and the Francisco Franco regime. Now the Secretary of State for Democratic Memory goes a step further and begins the procedures to open a disciplinary file for violating the Democratic Memory Law.
Based on article 62.1 of the Memory Law approved in October 2022, this sanction can lead, for a very serious offense such as this, a fine of between 10,001 and 150,000 euros. Sources from the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory claim to be “very vigilant” and assure that they will act against any act of exaltation of Francoism, or against any conduct contrary to the law: “We are not going to pass even one”.
Due to the controversy, Esmeralda Pastor has deleted or made her publications private, although several parties have rescued examples of the type of content she used to share. For example, a Facebook post titled “¡Viva Franco y Arriba España!” in which she praises the figure of the dictator. Something similar happens with Valero, who in her publications vindicates the figure of Millán Astray and spreads calls for demonstrations in favor of preserving the name of his street, a change that is also required by the Law of Memory.
Specifically, article 62 refers to the “failure to adopt the necessary measures to prevent or put an end to the realization, in spaces open to the public […] of acts of personal or collective exaltation, of military uprising, of War or Dictatorship, of its leaders, participants in the repressive system or of the organizations that supported the dictatorial regime, when they entail discredit, contempt or humiliation of the victims or their relatives”. And it also mentions “acts, outreach or advertising campaigns” in “any means of public communication” that pursue the same purposes.