The family of the late Spanish dictator Francisco Franco will take charge of his remains after Spain’s government has them exhumed from a mausoleum, his relatives said Saturday.
“Of course we will take charge of the remains of my grandfather,” Franco’s grandson, Francis Franco, told Spanish newspaper La Razon in an interview published Saturday. “We won’t leave them in the hands of the government.”
While criticizing the decision to exhume his grandfather, he says the family doesn’t plan to fight the legal changes that Spain’s center-left government approved Friday to have Franco’s body dug up and removed from a mausoleum the general built to honor the nation’s civil war dead.
“Spending money against the government is a waste of time,” he said.
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Franco led a right-wing uprising that ignited Spain’s bloody 1936-1939 civil war and deposed Spain’s democratic government. He died in 1975 and was buried in the Valley of the Fallen, a mausoleum he ordered built 50 kilometers (30 miles) northwest of Madrid. Some 34,000 people from both sides of the fighting are buried at the site, most of them never identified.
His grandson says the family will decide in the next 15 days where the remains will reside next.
In addition to exhuming Franco, the government also plans to unearth and identify the 114,000-or-so victims of the civil war and the four decades of dictatorship that followed under Franco.
Spain’s center-right parties have criticized the plan by Socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government, saying it will stir up the political strife that tormented Spain in the last century.
Supporters of the decision see it as a necessary step for the country to finally acknowledge and heal the scars left by Franco’s uprising and his authoritarian regime.