Franco’s body should be left where it is
Is it really necessary to dig up the remains of Gen. Francisco Franco? asked Rubén Amón. As one of his first acts in office, our new Socialist prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, plans to exhume the dictator’s corpse from its tomb in the Valley of the Fallen, the giant mausoleum in the hills outside Madrid. The site would then be turned into a memorial for all who died fighting in the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War. Many Spaniards are cheering. They complain that the monument glorifies a man responsible for mass murder, while his victims lie rotting in mass graves. They have a point: A democracy should not have a shrine to “the memory of a tyrant.” Even so, Franco would be better left where he is. At no point since his death in 1975 has Spain been in greater danger of slipping back into its chaotic past. Separatists in Catalonia are already likening the central government’s recent crackdown on pro-independence campaigners to Francoist repression, so this is hardly a good time to revive his “specter.” And look at the monument itself: a ridiculous edifice of Catholic kitsch. To reach the tomb, visitors have to pass through a tunnel adorned with “horrid sculptures” like something out of a “low-budget horror film.” What more fitting memorial could there be to Franco’s “mediocrity and obscenity”?