Spain:” vox” Politics of remembrance and the presence of fascism
The dictator’s legacy
On the occasion of the anniversary of the “Caudillo” Francisco Franco’s death on November 20, the “National Francisco Franco Foundation” celebrated memorial services all over Spain. Franco’s great-grandson has a close relationship with the chairman of the far-right party Vox. The family of the former fascist dictator still has immense assets.
At the end of 2019, more than 150 Franquists and Neo-Fascists gathered in the Cathedral of Granada, the most important place of worship in the capital of Andalusia. The average age may have been over 50, but young right-wing extremists and even primary school children accompanied by their fathers were also present. They attended one of the annual memorial services in honor of Francisco Franco. Franco died on November 20, 1975. This year there was no anti-fascist counter-demonstration in Granada. Franco’s followers were able to pray for the former fascist dictator unmolested.
The Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco (National Francisco Franco Foundation, FNFF) had invited 22 trade fairs across the country. Representatives of the FNFF laid a wreath in Granada. The sash embroidery not only praised Franco, but also José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the fascist Falange. The latter also died on November 20, 1936. Francisco Javier Martínez Fernández, the Archbishop of Granada, read the mass. He spoke of the “great deeds Franco did for Spain” and said that he enjoyed “eternal life on the side of God” – like Primo de Rivera and Ramón Contreras Mongrell, also a co-founder of the Falange.
It could have been the last time such memorial services were held. Before the parliamentary elections on November 10, incumbent Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez of the social democratic PSOE announced in a debate that the glorification of the Francoist dictatorship and its symbols would be punished if he succeeded in forming a government under his leadership. The FNFF should then also be banned. Two days after the parliamentary elections, the PSOE and the left list of alliances Unidas Podemos agreed on a preliminary coalition agreement. Together with the left-wing party Más País (Mehr Land), which emerged from Podemos, and Catalan and Basque independence parties, the PSOE and Podemos could pass a ban law.
The “Law on the Recognition and Extension of the Rights of Those Persecuted and Suffered During the Civil War and the Dictatorship and which suffered violence, and on the establishment of measures in their favor”, or “Remembrance Law” for short, had already entered into force in 2008. Among other things, this prohibits political events in the Valley of the Fallen. Franco had the memorial, 60 kilometers from Madrid, built during the lifetime of forced laborers who had fought for the republic during the civil war and other political prisoners. It is a mass grave, church and fascist memorial at the same time.
Der Journalist Emilio Silva gründete im Jahr 2000 die »Asociación para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica« (Verein zur Wiedererlangung der historischen Erinnerung, ARMH). Der Verein hat mittlerweile mehr als 700 Gräber geöffnet, in denen von Franco-Anhängern ermordete Spanierinnen und Spanier verscharrt worden waren, und konnte die Gebeine von über 9 000 Personenbergen. Mehr als 114 000 desaparecidos (Verschwundene), deren Leichen noch nicht exhumiert werden konnten, stehen noch auf der Liste des Vereins.
Silva has been demanding for years that the Catholic Church should refrain from memorial services in honor of Franco and should publicly and self-critically acknowledge that it was an important pillar of the Franco regime. “The memorial services are an attack on the democratic values of society, contradict Christian principles and are an insult to the victims of the dictatorship,” he told Jungle World.
The immense fortune of the Franco family is once again the subject of Spanish media. Journalist Mariano Sánchez Soler published his Francos fortune for the first time in the late 1990s, which brought him a lawsuit for damage to his reputation. Last month he published the book “La Familia Franco, SA”; “SA” is the abbreviation for “Sociedad Anónima”, public limited company. Sánchez Soler told Jungle World: “After the transition to democracy, the Franco family was able to multiply its wealth a hundredfold, which was only possible with the goodwill of the governments.” When Franco died in 1975, the fortune was said to have been around one billion pesetas.
“After the transition to democracy, the Franco family could multiply their wealth a hundredfold, which was only possible with the goodwill of the governments.”
Mariano Sánchez Soler, journalist
The Franco family is now estimated to have assets of up to 600 million euros. The biggest coup, says Sánchez Soler, was the family’s success with a rededication of arable land to building land near Arroyomolinos, a municipality located about 30 kilometers southwest of Madrid.
Journalist Antonio Maestre, author of the book Franquismo SA, which was published this year, said in a debate broadcast by La Sexta: “All of Franco’s fortune and his descendants stem from the genocide of the civil war.” Maestre believes that Spanish government must have a law passed that allows the Francos to be expropriated.
On November 18, the conservative daily El Mundo published extracts from Franco’s will. According to the document, Franco’s assets in 1968 were said to have amounted to 28.5 million pesetas, the equivalent of just under 1.8 million euros – much less than the actual assets that were often administered by confidants and relatives.
In addition to a summer residence, the Pazo de Meiras in the northwestern province of Galicia, the family owns extensive estates, estates, hunting grounds and other properties, such as a block on Madrid’s Calle Serrano, which is worth at least 50 million euros. Franco stole art treasures from churches and palaces, including two statues from the main portal of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. There are also paintings and sculptures by expropriated Republicans, as well as the jewelry and jewelery collection that Franco’s wife Carmen collected.
The FNFF not only organizes memorial services in honor of Franco, but also supports the far-right party Vox. Louis Alphonse de Bourbon, a great-grandson of Franco and honorary president of the FNFF, maintains a close relationship with Santiago Abascal, the chairman of Vox. De Bourbon and Abascal performed several times together; In addition, de Bourbon is said to have donated to Vox. In the parliamentary elections on November 10, the party received 15.1 percent of the votes cast and became the third strongest force. Vox demands that the search for victims of the Franco dictatorship be stopped.