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Franco to be exhumed from war memorial site
By thinkSPAIN Team Fri, Aug 24, 2018
DICTATOR General Franco's remains will be exhumed from Madrid's Valle de los Caídos ('Valley of the Fallen') before the end of the year now the government has approved a Bill of Law, or Royal Decree, allowing the process to begin.
A long-running campaign had been calling for Franco to be moved from a site which is dedicated to martyrs, heroes, and victims of war and oppression, since he is not considered to be a 'hero' and deserving of the honour of a burial place in the Valle de los Caídos, which is in San Lorenzo de El Escorial.
“Democracy is not compatible with a tomb which honours the memory of a fascist dictator,” said government spokeswoman Carmen Calvo today (Friday).
The law reform makes the exhumation 'urgent' and must be validated in Parliament within a month.
Left-wing parties across Spain voted in favour of the law reform, whilst centre-right Ciudadanos abstained and the right-wing PP voted against, as well as announcing possible legal action against the decision to move Franco on.
Unless Franco's relatives – his grandchildren, following the recent death of his only daughter Carmen – specify a burial site which the government approves, then the State will decide where he should be interred.
This will be 'somewhere dignified', as befitting a treasured relative, but not somewhere he would be 'honoured', given the mass torture, death and deprivation of human rights Spain suffered during the 36 years of his dictatorship, from the end of the Civil War in 1939 to the year before his death, which was in 1976.
Carmen Calvo said the law reform required the exhumation to take place between 30 days and 12 months from now, but that if everything went according to plan, it would be before the end of 2018.
“We're not going to hang about. The Law of Historic Memory came into force in 2007, and the previous [PP-led] government failed to develop or apply this law at all, meaning Spain had to wait for the return of a socialist government to resume our commitment to this legislation and adapt it to the events of the last few years,” Sra Calvo says.
“The United Nations has been warning us for years that it is inappropriate to have a dictator's grave in a war memorial ground, and we have an agreement from last May in Parliament – nobody voted against it – to follow through with the UN's recommendations.
“There is no reason for a democratic State to be uncomfortable with exhuming Franco's remains.
“The Valle de los Caídos should only house the bodies of those who lost their lives in the Civil War, because that's what it's for.”
Since the debate about exhuming Franco became in earnest and the probability of its happening looked certain, tourists visiting the Valle de los Caídos have multiplied, according to the Greater Madrid regional government.
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