Six Face Prison for beginning rural life in a sheltered Spanish town

0

Six people are currently facing two years and three months in prison if they don’t pay €110,000 to demolish Fraguas in Guadalajara, a Spanish city they began rebuilding in 2013.

When they arrived in the area in 2013, they found stones from the old houses whose foundations were still in place. In the years that followed, they rebuilt two more houses, planted a vegetable garden, and prepared a workplace to make handcrafted products to support themselves or trade for other products from residents of nearby towns. “We do what the seasons give us: in the summer, when a lot of fruit is grown, we make plum, fig and tomato jam,” says Aracil.

Two young people are standing in the house they have rebuilt in the Spanish village of Fraguas. Six people are currently facing two years and three months in prison if they fail to pay €110,000 to demolish a city they began rebuilding in 2013.
Alvaro Minguito

“We pay or we go to jail,” says Lalo Aracil, one of the convicted youths. Aracil and his colleagues, most of them from Madrid, began building a neo-rural living project in 2013 in Fraguas, a small town in Guadalajara (Castile-La Mancha) that was occupied by the Franco regime in the 1960s after the displacement of its population was destroyed to replant pines. In the 90’s it was used by the Spanish army for military exercises.

Encouraged by the old inhabitants of Fraguas who visited them, they also tried to restore the town’s original cobbled street. “We were able to restore it in some parts of the city, but in most parts of the city the street is still buried underground. It’s a very nice activity, but very difficult, we do it little by little,” says César, another resident of Fraguas.

The reforestation of the area is another project they completed during their stay in Fraguas. “Every year we carry out a reforestation, in particular gall oaks, holm oaks, oaks and junipers,” explains César.

Franco
Six people in Spain face imprisonment. In 2013, Aracil and his colleagues, most of them from Madrid, began building a neo-rural living project in Fraguas, a small town in Guadalajara (Castilla-La Mancha) that was destroyed by the Franco regime in the 1960s.
Alvaro Minguito

In 2014, the Sierra de Guadalajara, where Fraguas is located, suffered a fire that destroyed more than a thousand hectares. “The entire fire area was resinous pine and we are gradually reforesting it with native trees. About a hundred people came together, we spent the whole day reforesting, and then we ate chanterelles with potatoes.”

But his project to restore this city failed. The government of Castile-La Mancha has reported them in court. In June 2018, they were sentenced to one year and nine months in prison for crimes against the territory and usurpation. The verdict also forced them to pay for the demolition of the houses they had rebuilt. The worst news, however, came in July when the court estimated the cost of the demolition at €109,840.87.

There are several experts in academia who have suggested that demolishing Fraguas would be illegal.

“In Fraguas there are a number of houses in the style of black architecture, typical of the area and expressly protected in Castilla-La Mancha’s heritage law,” explains historian Alan Enrique Herchhoren, who works with the Board of Governors of Scientific Investigations (CSIC) in the recovery of architectural elements related to the Civil War. The CSIC is considered to be the most important public research organization in Spain.

Franco
Fraguas, the revitalized Spanish village. There are several experts in academia who have suggested that demolishing Fraguas would be illegal.
Alvaro Minguito

In April 2021, the director of the Institute of Heritage Sciences (Incipit), which is integrated into the CSIC, sent a letter to the Guadalajara court warning that the entire town of Fraguas would likely be protected. However, the court upheld its decision to demolish the city.

“The only thing these guys have done since the administration neglected all their duties is keep it. As bad as the administration likes it, those who cleaned its streets and did the work to acknowledge that this town called Fraguas existed, it was its repopulators,” Herchhoren says Wealth loss of the first order ahead,” he says.

The University of Zaragoza has set up a multidisciplinary group with professionals from archaeology, social sciences and natural sciences to assess the value of the Fraguas heritage. “It is an international archeology group that may be able to stop the demolition,” explains Aracil, who points out that the creation of this group has already been communicated to the Government of Castilla-La Mancha and will be communicated in the next few days to the court.

This will be the last attempt to stop Fraguas’ destruction, and if they succeed, they will also prevent six of its settlers from going to jail.

This story was provided by Newsweek Zenger News.

Share.

Comments are closed.