22 Sep, 2012 @ 12:30
1 min read

Scottish expat in court for removing Franco plaque from his garden

clifford torrents

A SCOTTISH expat has become embroiled in a legal battle after removing a Franco-era plaque from his garden with a hammer.

Clifford Torrents, 59, removed the 1950s plaque (below) from his house near Lugo, in Galicia, after a ‘verbal agreement’ with a town hall councillor.

The sign reads ‘Inaugurated on 24.05.1953 with Francisco Franco reigning and D. Jose Maria Lopez as mayor’.

But when mayor Jose Manuel Brana found out Torrents had removed the plaque, he filed a denuncia against him.

Torrents, whose father was a Republican soldier, said he would not have bought his house in 2009 if he had noticed the plaque, which sat next to a fountain in its garden.

Clifford insisted that before the last town hall election, Brana visited each house in the area asking the residents if they wanted the plaque removed – which most did.

So while the mayor was on holiday, he asked a town councillor if he could take matters into his own hands.

He said the councillor had agreed for him to remove it given that the town hall did not have the money to do the job themselves.

“We shook hands and drank a toast to it,” he insisted. “In my country, that is the same as confirming a contract.

Now the mayor is demanding the plaque be reinstated through the courts.

“I had told him we were looking into the matter,” he said. “It was not for this Englishman to remove it without permission.”

“It is ridiculous,” said Clifford. “But considering what happened to Garzon, and Francisco Camps, and what happened and with Ecce Homo, nothing in this country surprises me.

“I wasn’t expecting the mayor to thank me for removing the plaque,” he added, “but I wasn’t expecting this either.”

Eloise Horsfield

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  1. If it was on his property I would say he had every right to remove it, however it may have been more prudent to just remove it rather than destroy it given the number of Franco sympathisers still alive. When you live in somebody else’s country it’s not exactly wise to interfere with their customs and history. Just because we have allowed that to happen in the UK doesn’t mean we can go to other peoples countries and do the same.

  2. Peter, the report says “that he asked permission” from the very country that he has made his life in, its not the UK and he went to the council who made the decision.

  3. ““We shook hands and drank a toast to it,” he insisted. “In my country, that is the same as confirming a contract.”

    Rule #1 of living in a foreign country – just do what the foreigners would have done. If a Spanish person didn’t want it there they would have just broke it down at night without asking anyone. Or sprayed some crude graffiti on it.

    In Spain you can’t expect a drink and a handshake to be a legally binding contract. Even a legally binding contract isn’t a legally binding contract all of the time. I think for something to be valid you are actually required to perform a Voodoo ritual and sign in your own blood (and then have it notarized).

  4. Not very wise!! Don´t forget that Franco was Galician and very much liked in his hometown. Now a foreigner comes along implanting his own rules…I think you will have sell up very soon in the future…

  5. aussie sunshine – “Not very wise!! Don´t forget that Franco was Galician and very much liked in his hometown. Now a foreigner comes along implanting his own rules…I think you will have sell up very soon in the future”

    Good point. Living in Spain if you want to get along with everyone you need to pretend to be on the right with the righties and on the left with the lefties simultaneously. If your address is Franco Street 7 you’d better play nice with your neighbors.

  6. Unbelieveable, especially as the man is Scots it would have been no surprise had he been a Sassanach.

    He’s been living in Galicia for 3 years and he has’nt sussed that in Galicia, Franco is not dead.

    Not only is Franco not dead there but as any open minded Gallego will tell you – Galicia is 30 years behind the rest of Spain and it is still impossible to get any kind of official post if you don’t come from a Fascist family background.

    It was’nt only the atrocious weather that made us leave within 2 years. Most of those that opposed Franco were made to go for a walk in the night from which they never returned – the Costa del Muerte is well named as that is where the bodies of those who were murdered were dumped as fish food and their families were ‘encouraged’ to leave Spain.

    I openly berated the Alcalde in Ortigeuria for being a Fascist pimp. The only reason something similar did’nt happen to me is I have ‘friends’ who are experienced in special ops and the scum knew that.

    The troll has no morals and no balls – well that is no surprise.

  7. LOL Stuart you have friends in special ops..Who do you think the Guardia Civil is a charity organization??!! You would not want to get on the wrong side of this group..believe me.

  8. As an Englishman i am insulted that Jose Manuel Brana even mentioned the English.
    I demand a public apology.
    His ignorance is insulting to all people everywhere. He should not be in public office if his education was only limited to some facist cult propaganda. He really needs to make amends and apologise to the Scotsman, and the English (and slip in a sincere thanks would help).

  9. As a Galician, I find it insulting that people would still think that Franco is any more popular here than elsewhere in Spain simply because it’s Franco’s birth place. Even his home town of Ferrol elected a Galician nationalist as mayor a few years ago. However, it is also insulting that Galicia has the worst breed of PP councillors and mayors in Spain, mainly because it has too many councils and has to scrape which means that any old cronies can get elected with little effort and regardless of political views.

  10. Aussie sunshine,
    as usual your talking rubbish – it’s the Policia National that you still have to be careful of.

    I lived in an apartment block with 3 neighbours – 2 were Guardia and one Policia local – all nice blokes and often had a drink with them – your comments are 30 years out of date.

  11. My family sheltered two young ladies who escaped the mass murders under the Catholic fascist Franco. Under former president Aznar the world was led to believe all statues and plaques devoted to caudillo Franco had been removed from public places and the churches.

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