Gen. Franco still dead, but fam­ily will take re­mains

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Nation & World - By Joseph Wil­son As­so­ci­ated Press

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.

AN­DREA CO­MAS/AP

Gen. Fran­cisco Franco, who ruled Spain from 1939-1975, is buried in a mau­soleum he had built us­ing forced la­bor.

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