Heirs of Spain’s fascist party founder ask for his remains to be exhumed
MADRID — The family of the Spanish fascist Falange party’s founder, Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera, has asked to exhume his remains, buried in the monument known as The Valley of the Fallen, where those of dictator Francisco Franco remained until October 2019, Spanish newspaper ABC said on Monday.
In a statement from the family posted by ABC, the heirs of Primo de Rivera said their decision had been taken following the recently approved law of Democratic Memory, which provides for the basilica to become a civil burial place.
The family says it considers itself “obliged” to fulfill “the will” of Primo de Rivera and “carry out the exhumation and corresponding burial of his mortal remains in a sacred cemetery in accordance with the Catholic rite.” He was killed in 1936.
Last week, the Spanish parliament approved a new “Democratic Memory” bill to tackle the legacy of Franco’s 1939-1975 dictatorship and the civil war that preceded it, with measures honoring those who suffered persecution or violence.
READ: A look at Spain’s General Franco and why he is being exhumed
The new legislation, which is expected to enter into force in the next few days after its publication in the government’s official bulletin, was drafted by the left-wing government and aims to eliminate loopholes and cover a wider range of victims and crimes related to Francoism.
The bill, which promotes the search and exhumations of victims buried in mass graves, states no one could be buried in a place of prominence in the complex.
Earlier this month, the minister in charge of the bill, Felix Bolanos, said the government would initiate the appropriate proceedings to remove the remains of the fascist Falange party’s founder from The Valley of the Fallen.
The government thanked his family for their willingness to proceed with the exhumation, an official source said.
The source said the government was also working to allow more than 100 families to help them remove their relatives’ remains from what will be renamed as “Cuelgamuros Valley.”
The imposing state-run mausoleum near Madrid, carved into a mountain and topped by a 150-meter cross, has long served as a mass grave for nearly 34,000 Spaniards who died during the civil war on both sides.
Franco’s remains were reburied in a family crypt in 2019.
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