Here lies Lorca?

LAST UPDATED: 20 Oct, 2008 @ 10:47
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Federico Garcia LorcaFarmer claims mass grave skeletons were dug up and thrown away in the 1950s

DOUBTS have been cast on the whereabouts of the remains of murdered poet Federico Garcia Lorca.

In an interview with newspaper El Pais, a retired agricultural labourer said that a colleague found and disposed of human remains while working in Granada in the 1950s.

Pensioner Francisco Vilchez, 81, claims that his work mate dug up the human remains metres from an olive tree in the Garcia Lorca memorial park in Alfacar – the site where the poet and three others are believed to have been shot and dumped in a communal grave in the first days of civil war in 1936.

The co-worker, who was known by the nickname El Chato Bigotes, is then thought to have thrown the bones away, Vilchez claimed.

“I do not know what he did with the bones. I imagine he got rid of them,” he said.

Vilchez added that the now-deceased El Chato Biogtes (the Stubby Moustache) told him he was working the land close to the Torices hill – now the site of park – when he came across the mass grave in 1955.

“El Chato Bigotes told me he was ploughing with two mules when he uncovered the human remains. He told me how the blades hit something hard and his animals became spooked. When he investigated, he found lots of bones,” he said.

“I do not know if they belonged to Lorca. The bones were yellow and old, he told me. They could easily have been the remains of some other poor soul. There are hundreds buried there in Alfacar.

“The mass graves must be shallow as while we were working around there, we would come across human bones sticking out of the soil. Mostly it was the feet, sometimes wearing sandals or shoes,” he said.

There has been speculation as to the exact whereabouts of Federico Garcia Lorca, who was murdered by fascists for his left-wing views and homosexuality on August 19, 1936.

Following an interview with the man who dug the mass grave, Ian Gibon – the biographer of the poet – located his resting place under an olive tree in what is today the Parque Garcia Lorca.

Vilchez, however, claims that the location where El Chato Bigotes unearthed the bones is less than 10 metres from that tree.

“It was near some a row of pine trees, very close to where they say Garcia Lorca is. I know exactly this spot because I planted those pines,” he said.

This is not the first time rumours have surfaced over the true location of the murdered poet. One, which has been dismissed by Gibson, is that Garcia Lorca was shot and buried elsewhere.

More speculation is that the poet’s family paid for a private exhumation 20 years ago.

The family of Dioscoro Galindo, a liberal schoolteacher who was executed and buried with Lorca, has been fighting to have the site exhumed for more than a decade.

Meeting with opposition from the Lorca family, they have recently appealed to judges at the Supreme Court in Madrid, who are expected to make a decision on any uncovering shortly.

The Lorcas have said they will respect the legal ruling.

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