At the end of the day, Franco’s bleached bones are not a threat to anyone. The Valley of the Fallen has stood since the 1960s. If the monument is such a threat to public order in Spain, then why did not the socialist government of Felipe Gonzalez destroy it? Why did the equally socialist Zapatero government also leave the Valley mostly untouched? Quite simply, the government of Pedro Sanchez is trying to shore up the radical left in Spain and consolidate its own power by denigrating the one remaining and popular symbol of Francoism left standing in Spain. One could even argue that the move to transport Franco’s corpse is a distraction from the simmering tensions between Madrid and Barcelona, the latter of which nearly broke away from Spain earlier this year.
Rather than deal with the unemployment problem in Spain, which is at a shocking 16.74 percent, or even touch the issue of mass migration from the Muslim world, which has already claimed several Spanish lives, Madrid prefers to pick at the scab that is the memory of the Spanish Civil War. Sunday’s demonstrations may be a sign of things to come if Prime Minister Sanchez is determined to disturb Franco’s grave. Spain, which Foreign Policy has celebrated because of the relative weakness of its populist parties, does not need much of a spark to erupt. After all, thousands still support Franco and his legacy, and many more are cheering on the current developments in Italy.
For all the claims that Franco was a bloodthirsty dictator, one wonders why the Spanish state so quickly embraced social democracy and liberalism after 1975. Could it possibly be that the Catholic nationalist and arch patriot Franco did not go far enough?
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