The Spanish government will exhume the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco from their current resting place in the controversial monument Valle de los Caídos on June 10th and rebury them in the Mingorrubio-El Pardo cemetery on the outskirts of Madrid, where Franco's wife Carmen Polo is buried. Spanish deputy PM Carmen Calvo announced the decision this Friday after the weekly Spanish cabinet meeting.
As Calvo explained, the Spanish executive today concluded the administrative procedures for the exhumation of the dictator's remains, and decided the date and the place of their burial. The date, she said, was chosen to avoid coinciding with Spain's busy electoral timetable this spring. "Compliance with this is mandatory for any government," she responded when asked about a hypothetical change of government after the Spanish general election on 28th April.
The deputy prime minister announced that "there will be no communication, images nor call to the public" with regard to the process of exhumation and reburial of Franco, to guarantee privacy. She argued that a "situation of exaltation" over the issue is not sustainable.
In this regard, Calvo indicated that the dictator's family has not accepted the decision. "On March 7th they sent us a letter insisting on their position that the remains should be buried in Madrid's Almudena cathedral," she explained. "This is not possible," she warned. The former dictator's family are convinced that the catholic church will not oppose their plan.
The formal process leading to the exhumation, concluded this Friday, began on August 31st last year. The Spanish government points out that "the various deadlines which the relatives were given, to appeal this decision and have the final say on Franco's remains, have all passed." Due to the obstructive approach from the circles supporting the dictator, the government has taken the final decision. The deputy PM recalled that they are "executing a decision made by Spain's Congress of Deputies".
"What is urgent is to exhume the remains of Franco from the Valle de los Caídos," said Carmen Calvo, adding that "in that place, there should only be the remains of the victims from either side" of the Spanish Civil War. "It must remain as a place of memory of victims", she assured.
With regard to the legal steps taken by the family to paralyze the procedure, Calvo insisted that the decision corresponds to the Spanish executive.