Spain to dig up mass graves as it confronts dark legacy of Franco

Spain to dig up mass graves as it confronts dark legacy of Franco By Hannah Strange SPAIN is to open up more than 1,200 mass graves as part of a state effort to come to terms with the dark chapter of its Franco dictatorship. Dolores Delgado, the Spanish justice minister, outlined plans for a “truth commission” to address the legacy of the Spanish Civil War and subsequent military regime that has been suppressed by an amnesty law for years. Issues surrounding the dictatorship, which ended with the death of General Franco in 1975, remain deeply controversial in a country said to have the greatest number of “disappeared” people after Cambodia. Exhumations of up to 140,000 bodies have been strongly resisted by previous governments, while pro-Franco organisations continue to exist. “It is not acceptable that people who are over 90 years old are in despair, given that they will never recover their parents’ remains, or are faced with a ‘no’ from a judge or a decision made by a local government,” said Ms Delgado. “It is unacceptable for Spain to continue to be the second country after Cambodia with the largest number of missing people.” The justice ministry said it would establish a census of victims of the 1936-39 war and Franco dictatorship. The ministry also wants to overturn Francoist tribunal rulings, remove monuments and symbols “exalting” the regime and outlaw Franco “apologist” organisations. The Valley of the Fallen, a vast monument in El Escorial, 60 miles north-west of Madrid, where the remains of Franco and more than 30,000 people killed in combat lie below a 500ft cross, is also in the sights of the Left-wing government headed by Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s new prime minister.

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