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Today, Francisco Franco, captive in a disarmed zinc coffin, has left the Valley of the Fallen. Democracy has expired. Madrid, October 24, 2019.
With this last part, endorsed by the Congress of Deputies and the Supreme Court, Spain settles a pending account with 40 years of dictatorship. It does so in the middle of the electoral campaign by the hand of a functioning socialist government.
The discretion that was initially promised was reserved exclusively for the act of exhumation and subsequent burial. The rest of the process was a merry-go-round of journalists - 500 national and foreign accredited - stationed on the road since before dawn, drones flying over Cuelgamuros and Mingorrubio , Civil Guard endowments, helicopters, funeral cars, vehicles transporting relatives and government authorities and even a mobile UVI. What were not there were flags - with the exception of the preconstitutional one that wrapped the coffin in 1975 when Franco was buried in the Basilica of Cuelgamuros and that his grandson Francis carried under his arm - neither hymns, nor military honors, nor sparks saved.
In the immense tomb that is the Valley there are now several tens of thousands of victims of the Civil War , both sides, piled in boxes stacked in the heart of the mountain. Many do not even have a name. The dictator no longer steps on them.
Shortly before nine o'clock in the morning, the Minister of Justice, Dolores Delgado, in her capacity as notary major of the Kingdom, accompanied by the secretary general and the deputy secretary of the Presidency, arrived at the Valle complex. Delgado witnessed the entire process to attest to it. Minutes later, in a caravan of several vehicles arranged by the Government, they were members of the Franco family: grandchildren and great-grandchildren wearing a large laurel wreath. They all wore a red and black tie on their lapels.
At 10.33, the bronze doors of the basilica with the relief of the twelve apostles were closed. The Valley of the Fallen, presided over by its colossal stone cross held by the evangelists of Juan de Ávalos , remained silent.
Inside, outside the public focus, exhumation work began. The location of Franco's tomb was covered with a tent that was only accessed by the workers responsible for the removal of the tombstone and the removal of the coffin, the Minister of Justice, the coroner and two grandchildren of Franco, María del Mar and José Cristóbal Martínez-Bordiú . The rest of the family, accompanied by the prior of the valley abbey, Santiago Cantera , waited on the sidelines next to the four seven-meter-high archangels that surround the altar.
The mummified body of Francisco Franco was introduced after his death in a sealed zinc coffin and this in turn in a wooden one. The niche, more than two meters deep, was covered with concrete and lead to prevent water seepage. The slab that covered it, with a cross engraved on the name, without epitaphs, weighs more than a ton and a half and will be transferred to a secret enclave. There were no problems to remove it. The tomb, now empty, will now be covered with tiles identical to those of the rest of the basilica floor.
Antonio Tejero, in Mingorrubio
The AS332 Air Force helicopter planned to transfer the remains to the Mingorrubio cemetery broke the stillness of the Valley at eleven o'clock in the morning. The device landed on the left side esplanade of the basilica at 11.05. On its sides it read: Kingdom of Spain. A second helicopter, identical to the first, landed on the right esplanade at 11.16. All ground and air means had doubled to correct any setback that might arise on the fly.
Meanwhile, in Mingorrubio ( El Pardo ), 34 kilometers in a straight line, the wait was long. The final destination of the dictator's remains was shielded by the Civil Guard from many hours before. Outside the established security perimeter, the press reported small groups of nostalgic people - two hundred people - with pre-constitutional banners and banners protesting the exhumation. Up to there came Antonio Tejero , one of the main condemned for military rebellion in the coup attempt on February 23, 1981.
The door of the apostles, guarded by the Civil Guard, reopened at 12.50. At the express wish of the family, the remains, after a brief response, were shouldered in the original wooden coffin despite being battered, covered by the family shield. 260 meters through the interior gallery of the basilica, 10 steps outside and a few more meters to the van that led the coffin to the military helicopter. A voice shouted Long live Franco! Pure Chimera It was 1:00 p.m.
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- Franco exhumation
- Civil Guard
- Valley of the Fallen
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- Dolores Delgado
- Congress of Deputies
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