28 Apr, 2023 @ 17:15
1 min read

Despite exhumation from war monument, Franco and his new resting place are still costing the Spanish state €10,000 a year

Spain: Francisco Franco Exhumation
The "Valley of the Fallen" is a Spanish monumental complex built between 1940 and 1958 in the village of El Escorial, in the Community of Madrid. The cross is 150 meters high it is the largest common grave in Spain. Francisco Franco (1892-1975) Head of the Spanish Government between 1938 and 1973 ordered the construction of this monument, where his remains rest with 33,872 combatants of the civil war, belonging to both sides. Franco was allied with Adolf Hitler in World War II. The Supreme Court of Justice approves that the body of the dictator be exhumed to the cemetery of El Pardo, Madrid. (Photo by Jorge Rey/Pacific Press)

IN OCTOBER 2019, the Spanish government finally moved the body of former dictator Francisco Franco from the Valley of the Fallen monument, transferring the remains to the El Pardo-Mingorrubio municipal cemetery in Madrid. Depending on which side of the political spectrum Spaniards are on, the move was either long overdue or an outrage that was dragging up the country’s past. 

This week it has emerged that while Franco may no longer be buried in a resting place that is administered by the Spanish state, the government is still having to fork out around €10,000 a year for the upkeep of the pantheon where the military general now lies. 

That’s according to a response made by the Spanish government to an information request by a left-wing senator, and to which news agency Europa Press has had access. 

The public coffers are paying out €9,225.90 a year for security, management and cleaning services at El Pardo-Mingorrubio, which works out at just under €830 a month.

Mps In Spain Back New Law To Enshrine Memory Of People Killed By Brutal General Franco Regime
Former Spanish dictator Francisco Franco.

Of this amount, most is going to security, at a total cost of €8,569.44, or €714.12 a month. 

The decision to remove Franco’s remains from the Valley of the Fallen monument was approved by leftist parties in Spain’s Congress of Deputies, with abstentions from right-wing groups such as the Popular Party. 

Pedro Sanchez, currently the Socialist Party Prime Minister but at the time of the exhumation a caretaker prime minister, had pledged to do away with what had been described as an international anomaly by United Nations rapporteurs. 

Franco’s burial site at the Valley of the Fallen drew tourists and sympathisers of the far right. The monument, which has recently been renamed the Valley of Cuelgamuros as part of a new historical memory law, also contains the remains of nearly 34,000 victims of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39).

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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