guerra-freda-radio-liberty-staion

Commitment to preserve Ràdio Liberty

Spanish government, Pals City Council and Generalitat of Catalonia coordinating for heritage

The Climate Action Commission (CAC) of the Parliament of Catalonia urges the Government to create an interpretation center and Cold War Memorial at Ràdio Liberty. The Resolution Proposal, which was presented on 11/16/2022 to the CAC, went ahead with the positive vote of all the parties, except VOX, and aims to recover the historical heritage of the site and Radio Liberty, in a privileged natural environment.


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Aerial view of of Ràdio Liberty today, 2022.

"It is obvious to say that the administrations should have done much more to avoid reaching the state of neglect we find ourselves in today. The past, however, is the past and our goal is that between all the administrations, and with the participation of the entities of the territory, we make a solvent project, advanced in sustainability and that treats the memory of our country as it should" explained Sílvia Paneque, the deputy from Girona proposing the motion.

The Resolution proposal requests that the heritage value of the archaeological site and Ràdio Liberty be preserved from any demolition, and that the administrations as a whole agree in the coming months on an agreed preliminary project for the recovery of the fishing town of Pals and Ràdio Liberty as a Cold War Memorial, well fitted into the natural environment, with the utmost respect for the unique habitats present in this place located within a Natural Park, which are the last witnesses of the Girona coast before it was urbanized. Yesterday's session of the Climate Action Commission was attended by various representatives of local entities that have fought for many years for the preservation of the historical, archaeological and natural values of Ràdio Liberty, Salvem la Platja de Pals and the Cercle Catalan History.

In the words of the president of Salvem la Platja de Pals, Pau Bosch "We celebrate that the Parliament has finally taken this step forward, but we now ask that the Government and the Generalitat allocate a budget for the recovery of the protected habitats and buildings within Ràdio Liberty for the creation of an interpretation center, Memorial de la Guerra Freda, recently declared by the Regional Council as an Asset of Local Cultural Interest (BCIL), together with the Pals City Council and the local entities, and which also has an important archaeological site of the fishing village of Pals, unique throughout Catalonia, which, years ago, was declared a Cultural Property of National Interest (BCIN), remaining largely unexplored and unprotected, we also demand its vigilance, especially during the summer”.

The president of the Cercle Català d’Història, Joaquim Ullan, stands out "the work carried out by the entity with the key find in 2011, when the archaeological site of the fishing town of Pals -adjacent to Torre Mora-, inside Ràdio Liberty, was discovered, which , in addition to the role of the station itself, it has served to make the territory understand the extraordinary environmental, memorial and archaeological value of the area that cannot be lost since it is the memory of the town and its people. We ask that the project also have access to European funds.” In this same sense, Ullan recalls: "We should remember that all the heritage elements are located within the Natural Park of Montgrí, Illes Medes and Baix Ter accredited with the European Charter for Sustainable Tourism (CETS).

In recent years, the fight to save Ràdio Liberty, people, researchers, scientists and organizations have been adding support: el Cercle Català d’Història, Salvem la Platja de Pals, Gent del Ter with a long history and fight also for the preservation of the Loran de l'Estartit Base, the federation SOS Costa Brava, the Commission for Dignity, the Friends of Unesco in Girona, the Radio Liberty Virtual Museum and thePals Council, who have been organizing a multitude of activities and guided routes to disseminate and defend the historical and natural values of this area, often in coordination with different Universities.

The long trajectory for the preservation of Ràdio Liberty is represented especially by the work of the councilwoman Marisol Perea, who leads the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC) in the Pals town hall , and who has always defended the historical and natural values of Pals beach, such as those of Ràdio Liberty against their destruction: "I celebrate that after so many years it has been achieved that the political groups have agreed on a common position in order to carry forward a worthy and representative project of the territory, the region and Catalonia. The historical importance of Ràdio Liberty, even more so at present, is what has motivated, since the announcement of the closure of the station, the project written by Raimón Martinez Fraile (councilor at the Barcelona city council with the mayor Pasqual Maragall and Secretary General of Tourism to the Government of Madrid), and who deposited in my hands... a project which, together with the Torre Mora site and the preservation of the land, has been the connecting node of the project in the its entirety.”

the chronicler Narcís Subirana, who currently leads the party Compromís amb Pals, along with the sadly missing Maria Lluïsa Farràs they have also led the fight for the preservation and dissemination of Radio Liberty for many years. In this way, Narcís Subirana, who has written more than 300 articles on the historical and architectural heritage of Pals, of which more than 120 articles have already been published in different magazines, many dedicated to Ràdio Liberty, declares: "we are happy with the Parliament's decision and we will continue to fight for the Cold War Museum and the preservation of the archaeological remains to be carried out, we also ask for urgent control and surveillance, as well as to repair the fence that protected the buildings, which is the second security fence of only one hectare that is inside the perimeter fence of the site of 33 Ha, and of the archaeological remains should be a whole set, which is currently divided between the Torre Mora on the outside of the fence, and the seafaring village, and protected with a sign to prohibit people from walking over the archaeological site, many walls are made of clay and the walls of the medieval buildings deteriorate every year".

Subirana alerts que "it is necessary to remove the pine trees that grow inside the buildings and once the archaeological expedition has been carried out, an access control should be made to the site and it should be possible to visit it.”

View of one of the satellite dishes currently standing, 2018. © Javier Fraile.

The industrial engineer and vocal of Salvem la Playa de Pals, Lluís Sanz reminds us that "beyond the key role of the broadcaster, already mentioned, it will be a good moment to remember the value of an industrial heritage that placed the antenna field of Radio Liberty as the second largest isostatic structure in the world after the Tower Eiffel and which represented one of the key elements of telecommunications, not only during the cold war, but also in emergency situations such as the first repercussions of the Chernobyl accident, to the affected Ukrainian and Russian people, or to allow monitoring of the failed coup d'état against Gorbachov's perestroika, who claimed to be following the information from radio broadcasts coming from Pals. The ex-rector of the UdG, Joan Batlle, wanted to unite the cold war and telecommunications, asking for the conservation of one of its antennas. This cannot be, but we have the possibility of explaining it through virtual technology that we must not waste.”

Nicolás Albéndiz, responsible for Spanish Radio and Television Historical Museum RTVE in Sant Cugat del Vallés, which since 2016 has collected objects from different collections on the audiovisual history of our country, told us that the museum "it has the original model of Ràdio Liberty that was in the central office building” which he preserves with great dedication.

Toni Bernabé, ex-employee of Radio Liberty with an impressive private collection of items from the station, who has created the magnificent Radio Liberty Virtual Museum, highlights that once the station was closed, no political consensus was ever reached on what the fate of these lands should be until now, because in reality they wanted to be urbanized: "Unfortunately, the council prior to 2003, only wanted the closure of the radio to be able to build“.

In this sense, Bernabé recalls the years after its closure: "while there were rumors about the closure, all the workers were clear that Ràdio Liberty was hated, basically because it was installed during the dictatorship. Some colleagues used to joke that the apartments that would be built here would be called Liberty. We accepted that everything that had a beginning had an end, and that of the station was close.Those who were supposed to rule us had 5 years to decide the future of Ràdio Liberty, and those of us who worked here would have liked it to have been made into a museum of the Cold War and Radio Liberty, as in 2006 99% of the buildings were in great condition. There was place for anything from a museum, to a center for studies of nature, fauna and dunes, passing through a closed area of 33 Ha for making colonies in nature. From the second zero of May 25, 2001, nature made its appearance with vultures flying over the area.”

Before 2003, the urban speculation and political interest in vandalizing the natural, historical and archaeological heritage at Ràdio Liberty was evident, according to Bernabé: "Before June 2001, to the municipal plans "Golf" already appeared on the station's land, and on August 18 of the same year, Convergència i Unió (CiU), which governed the town hall, intended to build 10% of the land, refusing to include them in the protected area of the PEIN de Begur. This is how they allowed it to be vandalized to, I imagine, have the perfect excuse to justify its demolition because of the bad state they themselves have allowed. Fortunately, thanks to the mobilization of many people and entities, it has been possible to avoid the demolition of what remains."

As of May 13, 2010, with the inclusion of Ràdio Liberty's land within the Montgrí, Medas Islands and Baix Ter Natural Park, the intentional abandonment continued, with the aim of demolishing the buildings in order to build the pharaonic project Aqvam project, promoted by the Fundació Privada Mar, which planned to expand the buildings to receive more than 250,000 visitors each year and, finally, when the Parliament decided to discard this project, the abandonment continued due to the lack of political consensus and lack of interest from the administrations.

Therefore, now is a unique opportunity for political consensus and agreement between the three administrations to start the restoration project of the buildings and natural habitats, which are currently in a state of abandonment, and which require urgent action to be able to divulge and protect the historical, archaeological and natural values of Ràdio Liberty: the State, which owns it, through the Ministry for Ecological Transition, the Generalitat, which currently has its management transferred, through the Montgrí, Medas Islands and Baix Ter Natural Park andPals Council.

THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE PROTECTED COASTAL

The federation SOS Costa Brava it has also supported the fight for the preservation of the natural and historical values of Ràdio Liberty. its president, Sergi Nuss, warns that "the Spanish Government should make a complete inventory of all the land and equipment that are now in disuse, especially those located on the coast, within a PEIN or a Natural Park, and prevent them from being privatized", as happened recently with the battery auction of Punta Milà and the Base Loran in Estartit (Torroella de Montgrí), "and that the Generalitat draw up an Urban Master Plan in which the uses are defined and which buildings are of historical and cultural interest to preserve and which must be demolished“.

According to Pau Bosch "only on the Costa Brava we find a multitude of abandoned military equipment owned by the Ministry of Defense that are in danger of being auctioned and privatized, all of them within areas of protected natural interest or Natural Parks, such as Montgrí, the Islands Medes and Baix Ter, Cap de Creus or the Aiguamolls de l'Empordà.”

Among others, from south to north, the coastal battery of S'Estufador de Llevant and the Fortim (Sant Feliu de Guíxols), the battery in Parc del Puig, in Molí del Vent (Palamós), the bateria de costa L-5 de Punta Milà and the LORAN radio navigation base in L'Estartit recently auctioned (Torroella de Montgrí), the bunkers of Sant Martí d'Empúries and the coastal batteries L-6 of la Clota till Cala Montgó partially at auction (L'Escala), the bunkers of Sant Pere Pescador, the Lighthouse of Roses in Puig Rom, the coastal battery L-7 of Sant Antoni and L-8 Punta Falconera (Roses), the L-9 battery of Cap de Bol at the Lighthouse of Punta S'Arenella (Port de la Selva), a part of the Puig del Pení air base (Cadaqués) which is currently partially disused, the battery L-10 of Puig Claper (Colera and Portbou), and further inland, the military fortifications of the linea Gutierrez in Darnius, Pont de Molins, Peralada, Garriguella, or Llançà.

We also find a multitude of abandoned equipment in the rest of the Catalan coast within protected natural areas such as Malgrat de Mar, Montgat, the Bellavista battery in Montjuic (Barcelona), Vilanova i la Geltrú, Calafell, Roda de Barà, Tamarit, Sant Carles de la Ràpita, Monars, Salou, Coll de Balaguer, l'Hospitalet de l'Infant, Ametlla de Mar, l'Ampolla, les Cases d'Alcanar, Ulldecona, Amposta, etc. According to the president of Salvem la Platja de Pals, Pau Bosch,

According to Bosch, "We cannot allow that the Ministry of Defense continue auction and privatizing all these places of historical and natural interest, we are losing our collective memory and a unique opportunity for these places to now be managed by the Coastal Conservatory".

Proposal for a Resolution that was presented on 11/16/2022 to the Climate Action Committee of the Parliament of Catalonia.
Representatives of the parties and organizations after the session.

THE AGREEMENTS ON THE TABLE

The Resolution Proposal presented yesterday to the Climate Action Committee was approved with the following two points of agreement:

To preserve, in collaboration with the Government of Spain, with the City Council of Pals and with the other administrations, the environmental, historical and cultural value of the surroundings of the old facilities of Ràdio Liberty, in Pals , developing a project to create and launch a Cold War memorial, which, without adding new impact factors on the natural values of the environment, is compatible with the preservation of the aforementioned environmental values and with other potential complementary projects related to the nearby archaeological site.

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To preserve, in collaboration with the Government of Spain, the City Council of Pals and the other administrations, the old facilities of Ràdio Liberty, in Pals, from deterioration and demolition, until can carry out the corresponding actions to create a Cold War memorial there, as well as to preserve the environmental value of its natural environment. We call on all the administrations to reach an agreement and draw up, as soon as possible, a preliminary project and a maintenance plan, and that it is done at all times in coordination with the territory and the different administrations.

ENOUGH REASONS FOR A COLD WAR MEMORIAL

At the end of the Second World War, and especially at the end of it, the confrontation between the Soviet bloc and the Western bloc gave rise to a historical period known as the Cold War, of such duration and scope that it still has a clear and notable impact on current geopolitics. Throughout the decades that followed the defeat of Nazi-fascism in Europe, and of Japanese imperialism in the Asian continent and the Pacific, the two great powers clashed indirectly on a multiplicity of terrains: from the arms race to the space race, from the Olympic boycotts to the lifting of the Steel Curtain, obviously going through a long series of military conflicts, many of which in the context of decolonization, in which the Soviet Union and the United States they faced each other through intervening factions.

In 1959, in Pals, the station called Ràdio Liberty was launched, later merged with Radio Free Europe.

The aim of the radio was to reach potential listeners in the countries of the communist bloc, in the context of the constant struggle between the two superpowers. The installations of Pals were, due to their power and modern technology, the ones that made it more difficult for the emissions to be interfered by the authorities of the communist countries, of enormous importance for the objectives of the Western bloc. Ràdio Liberty's broadcasts, from its premises in Pals, extended between 1959 and 2001, ten years after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

View of the two satellite dishes during operation of the station, 1995. Radioliberty.org.

The old facilities of Ràdio Liberty are located within the limits of the Montgrí Natural Park, the Medes Islands and the Baix Ter, very close to the coastline, and are currently part of the State Heritage. An important social debate has arisen around their demolition or preservation, and the possibility of enhancing them through the creation and implementation of a Cold War memorial has also been raised. This is an initiative that the various administrations, including the City Council of Pals, the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Government of Spain, could undertake, working together, to launch a memorial that would be unique in its type in our country, and that could be useful to explain a period of great historical significance.

On the other hand, the surroundings of these old Ràdio Liberty facilities have an important environmental interest. It is one of the last undeveloped stretches of seafront on the Costa Brava, included in the Montgrí Natural Park, the Medes Islands and the Baix Ter. It is part of the Natura 2000 Network, which appears on the list of sites of community importance (LIC) and Zona d'Especial Protección d'Aus (ZEPA), publicly owned, included entirely within the maritime public domain, where 'has preserved the dune system of 1,500 meters of sea front, free of occupation, with a geological, botanical, faunal and environmental importance due to having kept the facilities closed and under constant surveillance for more than 50 years.Stachys Maritima or the Kentish ploverThe space is a unique transitional landscape between the forest environment set by the dunes, further inland, and the mobile dunes near the sea. Here is the most important sample of psammophilous flora (vegetation adapted to live on sandy substrates) in Catalonia. It is essential to preserve the historical, patrimonial, archaeological and natural values with a new Plan for the management of the uses of sustainable space.old fishing village and port of Pals. In fact, the archaeological site known as "Mora Tower" has been declared a Cultural Property of National Interest.

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Download the press release for this article here.


We recommend that you read the following articles on this blog so that you can expand the details and acquire a better perspective of the impact that this station had on a global scale and especially for the population of Pals and the surrounding areas.

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RADIO LIBERTY, AMPLIFYING LIBERTY FROM PALS BEACH

The radio waves that fought the advance of the Soviet Union

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THE DARK SIDE OF RADIO LIBERTY

The influence of the Werewolf in the creation of Stay Behind

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Article creation date: 11/17/2022.

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