The families of eight victims of the Franco regime who believe their family members’ remains are buried in the Valle de los Caidos complex outside Madrid have sent an open letter to the coalition government asking it to reactivate the process of unearthing and identifying the remains found at the complex so their loved ones can be reburied with dignity elsewhere.
Eight months after Spain’s Patrimonio Nacional national heritage office authorized the disinterment of remains at the huge mausoleum complex built after Spain’s Civil War on the orders of former dictator Francisco Franco, the families of the victims complained in their letter that their relatives remain buried in what constitutes the largest mass grave in Spain.
They called on the government for urgent action to recover the remains of their loved ones, saying that because of the advanced age of some of the remaining family members they “cannot continue waiting … We have no more time left.”
The victims whose remains are being sought are among thousands of Republican prisoners executed either during or after the 1936-39 Civil War by forces loyal to Franco and who are buried in the Valley of the Fallen complex. Last year, the government successfully removed the remains of the dictator himself, who was buried in a place of honor before the alter of the Basilica at the mausoleum site.
The letter from family members comes just days after it was revealed that the Socialist-led coalition government had withdrawn a proposal registered in January that aimed to reform the Spain’s current Historical Memory Law, passed in 2007 by Congress during the administration of then-President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Last week, 1st Vice President Carmen Calvo annouced that the government intends to restart the process with a new legislative proposal that is to be registered this month with Congress.
Associations of families of the victims of the Franco regime say they do not understand why the government appears to be stalling for time and they fear that the coalition government has lost the political will to try to push the new Historical Memory legislation through Congress.
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