Gen. Franco still dead, but family will take remains
BARCELONA, Spain — The family of the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco will take charge of his remains after Spain’s government has them exhumed from a mausoleum, his relatives said Saturday.
“Of course we will take charge of the remains of my grandfather,” Franco’s grandson, Francis Franco, told Spanish newspaper La Razon in an interview published Saturday.
“We won’t leave them in the hands of the government,” he said.
While criticizing the decision to exhume his grandfather, he says the family doesn’t plan to fight the legal changes that Spain’s center-left government approved Friday to have Franco’s body dug up and removed from a mausoleum the general built to honor the nation’s civil war dead.
“Spending money against the government is a waste of time,” he said.
Franco led a right-wing uprising that ignited Spain’s bloody 1936-1939 civil war and deposed Spain’s democratic government.
The military general governed the country from 1939 until his death in 1975 after leading nationalist forces to victory in the Spanish Civil War in which an estimated half a million people lost their lives.
He was buried in the Valley of the Fallen, a mausoleum he ordered built 30 miles northwest of Madrid. The memorial was built using forced labor from political prisoners.
It contains the remains of 33,847 people killed during the civil war, according to Patrimonio Nacional, the agency charged with managing the property.
His grandson says the family will decide in the next 15 days where Franco’s remains will reside next.
In addition to exhuming Franco, the government also plans to unearth and identify the 114,000-or-so victims of the civil war and the four decades of dictatorship that followed under Franco.
Spain’s center-right parties have criticized the plan by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government, saying it will stir up the political strife that tormented Spain in the last century.
Supporters of the decision see it as a necessary step for the country to finally acknowledge and heal the scars left by Franco’s uprising and his authoritarian regime.
Gen. Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939-1975, is buried in a mausoleum he had built using forced labor.