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Franco: Spain wants to turn the monument into a civil cemetery

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A man holds a photograph of a woman who disappeared under Franco

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image captionA man holds a photograph of a woman who disappeared under Franco

The Spanish government plans to turn a monument to fascist dictator General Francisco Franco into a cemetery for people who died on both sides of the Spanish Civil War.

The removal of the monument is part of proposals aimed at correcting the mistakes of the late dictator.

The left-wing coalition government wants the victims – now buried in unmarked graves – to be identified.

Franco ruled Spain from 1939 until his death in 1975.

He was buried in a large mausoleum called the Valley of the Fallen, just outside Madrid. His remains were moved to a low grave last year, 44 years after his detailed burial.

“More than 30,000 victims on both sides will have peace and respect from all there,” said Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo.

  • The dictator’s move ignites fury in divided Spain

  • Why is Spain shifting the bones of a dictator?
  • Spain feels Franco’s legacy 40 years after his death

The Democratic Remembrance Act, proposed by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez last week, will also prevent publicly funded groups from glorifying Franco.

He will seek to overturn sentences from political trials under Franco and deprive people of the titles given to them by the dictator.

copyright to the imageGetty Images
image captionThousands of civil war victims buried in mass graves in Valley of the Fallen

Valley of the Fallen shelters more than 30,000 dead on both sides of the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War, in which Franco’s Nationalist forces defeated the Republican government.

It was partly built by political prisoners, to whom the Franco regime was subjected to forced labor.

The site has been a focal point for Franco supporters and a sanctuary for the far right.

How did Spain deal with the Franco era?

Unlike Mussolini’s Italy and Nazi Germany, defeated in World War II, Spain’s transition to democracy in 1975 was more gradual.

Although democracy is well established now, many believe the country has never faced its fascist past. There was an unwritten “forgotten pact” during the transition.

media inscriptionFranco’s coffin was carried from the mausoleum

An Amnesty Law passed in 1977 prevents any criminal investigation in the Franco years. The statues of Franco were removed and many streets were renamed.

A Law of Historical Remembrance, passed in 2007 by the then socialist government, recognized the victims of war on both sides and provided some assistance to the surviving victims of Franco’s dictatorship and their families.

But work to find and rebury thousands of civil war dead has been slow and controversial.

More than 100,000 victims of the conflict and the subsequent crackdown are still missing.

media inscriptionWhy the Spanish government wants to exhume the remains of General Franco

Related Topics

  • Francisco Franco

  • Spain

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