In Spain, a giant effigy of the dictator buried with honors is due to be exhumed this Monday

After the law was promulgated, it was the family who demanded the excavation. It will be held on Monday, April 24, 1903, the birthday of the founder of the Phalanx. His remains will be transferred to the San Isidro Cemetery in Madrid.

Spain: Final adoption of law rehabilitating the memory of victims of Francoism

A legend to legitimize his authority

Primo de Rivera is above all an icon. Imprisoned under the Second Republic for the July 1936 coup attempt, he was shot shortly after it broke out and took no part in the war or the resulting dictatorship. A charismatic man, he founded La Phalange, a fascist party, in 1933 and used his power to destabilize and overthrow the republic.

Franco didn’t like that. But at the end of the civil war, he must consolidate his power. He claimed to be guided by the dictates of Primo de Rivera and made La Falange the only party that structured the country’s political life, one of the three pillars of government, along with the Church and the military. In 1959, the dictator inaugurated the Monumental Abbey in the Valley of the Fallen (Valle de los Caidos), where he kept the remains of the party’s founder, who were buried to give him the status of a martyr assassinated by the Republicans. of the fallen.

A new law on democratic memory, one of the flagship texts of Spain’s current left-wing government, which came into force in October 2022, provided for the exhumation of the Falange’s founder. The text also changed the site’s name, aiming to rehabilitate the vague memory surrounding this historical episode in Spain (which once again became the Culcamuros Valley). A section of the community opposes the removal of the memorial elements of Francoism or the full light on the repression and its human rights violations. But another feels that he became silent after the dictatorship and was never able to heal his wounds.

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In Seville, a Francoist general moved his grave following a new law

Memory breakdown

The Society for the Recovery of Historical Memory appreciates, but regrets that the families of the victims of Francoism do not have the right to receive the attention of Primo de Rivera from the government. At right, a close bodyguard of Alberto Nuñez Feijóo, leader of the Popular Party (PP), criticizes the announcement of the excavation ahead of the May 28 local elections. But Isabel Díaz Ayuzo, head of the Madrid region and the party’s second most influential figure, believes it is an attempt to “rewrite” history and that “historical memory” is a “failed reality”. On the right, the leader of the Vox party considers this approach to “dig up hatred” and “desecrate the graves”.

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