It’s time to evict Franco’s corpse
The dictator’s shrine will soon be emptied, said Antonio Lucas. Spain’s center-left governing Socialist party has finally put forward legislation to remove the remains of Gen. Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen and rebury them in another site chosen by his descendants. Franco, who launched a civil war in 1936 and ruled until his death in 1975, is still a uniquely divisive figure here. The autocrat himself had ordered the construction of his elaborate mausoleum, which is supposed to honor the civil war dead with a cross soaring 500 feet (200 feet higher than the Statue of Liberty). His interment there, though, made it into a pilgrimage site for supporters of fascism. That’s why the push “to evict Franco” is “not a historical debate, but an aesthetic one.” He makes the whole shrine look bad. Some, including the recently ruling People’s Party, oppose the exhumation, saying it would do a disservice to Spanish history. But in fact, to stop honoring the man who presided over torture, mass rape, summary executions, and slave labor will restore Spain’s “democratic nature in a kind of cleansing of our constitution.” Spain has now been a democracy for 40 years—four years longer than it was a dictatorship. It’s time to say goodbye to the dictator.