THE family of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of Spain’s fascist Falange party, has announced that it will privately exhume the politician’s remains from the Valley of the Fallen monument, before the central government does so under a new historical memory law. 

A statement from the family, which was seen by Spanish daily ABC, stated that the exhumation would be “a strictly private family affair” and not a “public spectacle” that could cause “confrontations between Spaniards”. 

The remains of Primo de Rivera, the statement continued, “will be laid to rest in the place decided on by the family.”

The family complained that this would be “the fourth time” that his remains would be moved since his death. 

For its part, sources from the central government told ABC that the executive was “grateful for the willingness of the family to proceed with the exhumation and comply with the Democratic Memory Law”. 

Tumba De Franco En El Valle De Los Caídos
People visiting the tomb of Franco in the Valley of the Fallen before it was exhumed in 2019.

The Socialist-led government in Spain recently passed this legislation, which is aimed at bringing “justice, reparation and dignity” to victims of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) and subsequent military dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

Primo de Rivera, who was the eldest son of Spanish dictator General Miguel Primo de Rivera, was a supporter of the coup against the Spanish republic that sparked the Civil War. 

He was imprisoned before the conflict began and was executed during its first few months. He was laid to rest in the basilica at the Valley of the Fallen in 1959.

In late 2019, the remains of Franco were exhumed from the Valley of the Fallen on the orders of the government, despite the opposition of his relatives. 

The monument, which is located in the Guadarrama mountains near Madrid, was framed by Franco as a place for “national atonement” and reconciliation. 

But it has always been a controversial site, not only for harbouring the remains of Franco and Primo de Rivera, but also because victims from the losing Republican side of the conflict were buried there without consent or knowledge of their families.

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