Spain moves to close Franco Foundation

A satirical banner with the picture of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco saying 'I was not dead, I just left for a moment'.

Spain’s government has initiated legal action to shut down the National Francisco Franco Foundation (FNFF), a non-profit established by supporters of the late dictator, according to Culture Minister Ernest Urtasun’s announcement on Thursday.

Judicial Proceedings Initiated

The closure is mandated by the “democratic memory” law passed in 2022. The law aims “justice, reparation, and dignity” to the victims of the civil war and Franco’s subsequent dictatorship, which began after his 1936 coup against the Republican government.

The law seeks to provide reparations to victims of Franco’s dictatorship, which claimed over half a million lives. Historians estimate that Franco’s regime was responsible for around 150,000 deaths and forced 450,000 people into exile.

“We owe this to the victims’ associations, who have long called for this action,” Urtasun said in an interview with La Sexta television.

Government Actions and Controversy

The FNFF, established shortly after Franco died in 1975, promotes the study of his life and work and maintains a large archive. In a statement issued on Thursday, the foundation condemned the government’s move as an “absurd” attempt to silence them and Franco’s supporters, as well as committed to continue defending its principles.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s government has taken significant steps to address the legacy of Franco’s dictatorship, including exhuming Franco’s remains from the Valley of the Fallen Basilica in 2019. On the other side, the opponents of the government view these actions as politically motivated and divisive.

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