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Ascensión Mendieta

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Ascensión Mendieta
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BornAscensión Mendieta Ibarra
(1924-11-29) 29 November 1924 (age 95)
Sacedón, Spain
Spouse(s)Francisco Vargas
RelativesPaz Mendieta, Chon Vargas Mendieta, Francisco Vargas Mendieta, Pilar Vargas Mendieta, Aitana Vargas.[1]

Ascensión Mendieta (29 November 1924, Castilla La-Mancha) is a Spanish human rights activist and the daughter of Timoteo Mendieta Alcalá, former President of local trade union UGT in the village of Sacedón, Spain.

Timoteo Mendieta was executed at point-blank range against a wall at the Guadalajara cemetery by General Francisco Franco’s forces on 16 November 1939, on the months after the end of the Spanish Civil War. [2] He was buried in a mass grave in the Guadalajara cemetery along with some other 20 victims of Franco’s repression and was passed by his wife, María Ibarra, and his seven daughters and sons.[3]

It is estimated that over 800 people were executed by Franco’s forces in the Spanish city of Guadalajara and buried in the Guadalajara cemetery alone. Over 100,000 Spaniards are estimated to be buried in unmarked tombs and alongside roads throughout Spain from the Spanish Civil War and Franco's dictatorship.[4]

The Spanish authorities have denied exhumation petitions on the grounds that the Spanish 1977 Amnesty Law guaranteed impunity for those who participated in crimes [5] under the Civil War and Francoist Spain.[6] The law is still in force, and has been used as a reason for not investigating and prosecuting Francoist human rights violations.[7]

Timoteo Mendieta’s body was exhumed from the Guadalajara cemetery by a team of archeologists and volunteers of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory [8] without any financial support from the Spanish government following a judicial order from Argentine judge María Serving de Cubría.[9]

Timoteo Mendieta was buried in a non-religious ceremony on 20 July 2017 in the Madrid Civil Cemetery in the presence of hundreds of mourners.[10]

Ascensión has received several awards for her human rights plight, which include the "Izquierda Unida Rivas Vaciamadrid Human Rights Award" [11], El Intermedio's "Por Toda una Vida" Award [12], and the "El Club de las 25" Award [13].

Ascensión's plight was also chronicled by her granddaughter and journalist, Aitana Vargas, who was awarded the Ana María Agüero Melnyczuk Journalism Award in 2014 [14]


  1. https://www.lasexta.com/programas/el-intermedio/gonzo/nieta-ascension-cuenta-lucha-abuela-tal-vez-luto-sea-esos-que-conviven-confines-eternidad_20151126572b55a76584a8e744e3d25d.html. Lasexta.com
  2. https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2016/02/26/466008901/finding-a-long-lost-father-as-spain-exhumes-decades-old-mass-graves.
  3. https://www.lasexta.com/programas/el-intermedio/gonzo/ascension-mendieta-sobre-los-restos-de-su-padre-pensamos-llevarle-a-un-cementerio-civil-hacerle-una-fosa-y-si-llego-a-tiempo-meterme-con-el_20170629595566000cf26ceeda3d92d4.html.LaSexta.com
  4. [1].
  5. Miriam M. Basilio, Visual Propaganda, Exhibitions, and the Spanish Civil War (Ashgate, 2013), p. 220.
  6. Ackar, Kadribasic (2010) Transitional Justice in Democratization Processes: The Case of Spain from an International Point of View, International Journal of Rule of Law, Transitional Justice and Human Rights, pp. 132-33.
  7. Paloma Aguilar, "The Timing and the Scope of Reparation, Truth and Justice Measures: A Comparison of the Spanish, Argentinian and Chilean Cases" in Building a Future on Peace and Justice: Studies on Transitional Justice (eds. Kai Ambos, Judith Large, and Marieke Wierda: Springer, 2009), pp. 505, 521-2.
  8. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/07/01/franco-victims-body-exhumed-dignified-burial-75-year-battle/.
  9. https://www.publico.es/sociedad/ascension-mendieta-entierra-padre-78-anos-despues-asesinado.html. publico.es
  10. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-spain-civilwar-burial/spanish-civil-war-victims-91-year-old-daughter-finally-buries-her-father-idUSKBN19N0QS. Reuters.com
  11. "Las Kellys, Ana Messuti y Ascensión Mendieta y la Asamblea 8M de Rivas, Premios 14 de abril 2018".
  12. "Ascensión Mendieta: "Ya hemos sacado a mi padre, pero ahora queremos que saquen a todos los demás que Franco fusiló"". laSexta.com.
  13. https://www.elmundo.es/album/yodona/celebrities/2017/11/28/5a1d32cfe5fdea1b268b45af_9.html.
  14. "Periodista colombiano ganó premio de investigación". ELESPECTADOR.COM. 16 June 2014.

Category:Living people Category:Spanish activists Category:Spanish female activists Category:Spanish female anti-Franco activists

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