The three pro-independence Catalan MEPs for the Junts party have sent a letter to their colleagues in the European Parliament to report the fact that, last Saturday, Spain's opposition leader Pablo Casado, head of the Popular Party, attended a mass in honour of the dictator Francisco Franco. "Spain's PP has protected the memory of the regime for decades," denounces the text, warning MEPs that this attitude is not acceptable and should be "clearly condemned by the parties that keep formal ties with the Spanish PP, as it represents a stain for the European Popular family”.
The letter, signed by Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí, says it is shameful that "Pablo Casado, leader of the PP, attended a mass to pay tribute to the late Spanish dictator." And it adds that the incident also has a deeper significance, as "a metaphor for many things that are deeply wrong in the Spanish state," warns the letter, noting that Casado said he was unaware of the purpose of the mass and that he was there "by mistake."
The MEPs provide additional background to the incident, reminding their colleagues that Spain is "the only EU country that has not built its democracy on the defeat of totalitarian regimes" and state the fact that Casado "attended a mass in memory of a man who ordered the killing, imprisonment or forced exile of hundreds of thousands of people".
The text explains that, 46 years after the dictator's death, it is still possible to pay tribute to him in Spain; that masses are celebrated annually in many places in commemoration of his death; that the Francisco Franco Foundation, an organization set up to promote the positive memory of the dictator, is still legal; and that the crimes of Franco’s fascist regime have never been tried or their victims rehabilitated due to the 1977 Amnesty Law.
The letter from Puigdemont, Comín and Ponsatí also recalls that the Spanish government "does not want to derogate this Amnesty law, although this would be the only way to ensure effective prosecution of crimes committed by the Francoist regime". "As strange as it may seem, Spain is still the second country in the world with the most people buried in unopened mass graves, just behind Cambodia," notes the text, which recalls that most of these victims were killed by Francoists troops during the Civil War or in the years afterwards.
"Banalizing and paying homage to fascist dictators should not be tolerated," concludes the text, which is accompanied by information from UK newspaper The Guardian reporting Pablo Casado's presence at the mass in honour of Francisco Franco.