Daughter of the Spanish exile, Sonia Largo Valcarce was born and studied in Mexico City, but a graduate scholarship took her to the United States where she still lives, at age 68. From Houston he has seen how the Madrid City Council has knocked down the plaque with the bust of his grandfather, Francisco Largo Caballero, the historic socialist who presided over the Council of Ministers in the midst of the war against the Spanish Republic. The demands of the extreme right of Vox in the capital are thus satisfied. “My soul has gone to the ground, how outrageous.” “The fascists are very aggressive and emboldened, it is scary to see that in Spain, as in many parts of the world, these neo-Nazis come out everywhere like mushrooms,” he laments by phone.
Sonia Largo is the only one of the family that maintains the political flame of the Republic beyond the Spanish borders and her relationship with the Foundation that bears the name of her grandfather in Madrid lives on. This year he was going to travel to Spain, but the covid-19 has prevented it. When she answers the call from this newspaper, a nonagenarian maternal aunt who lives with her in the United States has the television on because the Kings are awarding the Princess of Asturias Awards. “That does not interest me, I am on other things.”
It hurts her that the world has become “a boiling pot, full of economic, political and social problems. “The world is unfair, yes, but we cannot go back to the past, which is what the fascists of Vox want, to return to Francoism, that long night.” He has no different words for the PP or for Ciudadanos, although this formation He picked up the hook at the last moment of the initiative. The plaque that marked the place where Largo Caballero was born in Madrid fell with hammer blows, and exactly on the day that was 151 years old. “They do it to hurt, to put a dagger in the heart of all those who defend and want democracy. It is coldly calculated, “he says.
In his family, first exiled in France and then in Mexico, they always talked about politics. And from Spain. “My father did not even become a Mexican national, the idea of returning was always present, and he did, after Franco died, of course.” And she traveled to Spain often years ago, from Norway, where she lived for a time. “I am struck by the fact that there are so many Spaniards who still do not know the truth of what happened in the Civil War or the dictatorship and that they go around giving opinions based on falsehoods. People are very misinformed and believe the atrocities they say to those little guys. I thought that Spain was a more modern and European country ”.
Sonia Largo has been hurt by the “little forcefulness” used by the central government, “socialist in quotes”, to condemn the withdrawal of the plaque. “My grandfather was an honest worker, trade unionist and politician leader, he presided over the PSOE, he was not just anyone like me, it doesn’t matter if the world even knows that I exist … But he was a pioneer of those who tried to make a better Spain and I am saddened by the lack of loyalty that the Government shows to him, ”he added to the phone. “If these aberrations are not squashed from the beginning, they take a lot of strength. Historical memory must be explained well to the people, informing them of the truth, because if they don’t end up twisting it, as they have done now. How difficult it is to govern Spain ”.
The far right now threatens to also tear down the statue of Largo Caballero, “more trade unionist than politician, who made mistakes, yes, but his life was an example of honesty.” To the extreme right that constantly brandishes the name of Spain, perhaps these words of Sonia Largo will serve as an example: “My blood is Spanish, I am not Mexican, nor Norwegian nor American, I must have been born in Madrid, I am very Madrilenian, even in Mexico I went to Madrid school. Inside, from the heart, I will always be from Madrid ”. Of the harshness of exile and uprooting, these vagrant origins still speak, seeking, a century and a half later, the origin in blood. And they still wonder. “Where have they taken the plaque with the bust of my grandfather, who has it? I keep the hope that it will return to its place again, because that is how the people of Madrid wanted it when they installed it ”.