Thursday, August 5

The Memory Law extinguishes the Foundation of the Valley of the Fallen and a subsequent decree will expel the friars

This is the story of a necessary norm, in high demand and that seeks to disseminate the democratic memory of Spain. This Tuesday, the Democratic Memory Law will come to the table of the Council of Ministers. It will do so 14 years after the approval of another promoted in 2007, by the government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and with the aim of correcting some of the deficits of the previous text with a dual purpose. On the one hand, the recovery, safeguarding and dissemination of memory through the vindication and defense of democratic values ​​and fundamental rights and freedoms throughout our contemporary history. And on the other, the recognition of those who suffered persecution or violence during the period between the coup d’état of July 18, 1936, the civil war and the Franco dictatorship until the promulgation of the 1978 Constitution. All with the aim of promote their moral reparation and the recovery of their personal, family and collective memory.

This is how the children lived the “contained violence” of the school of the Valley of the Fallen

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The articles of the norm, to which has had access, regulates the places of Democratic Memory, with commemorative and educational functions and resignifies as such the Valley of the Fallen, an enclosure that supposed an anomaly in the democratic Europe in exaltation of victory and the political and religious ideology of those who won the civil war. Likewise, it recognizes the right of family members to recover the remains of their ancestors and declares the Foundation of the Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos extinct, which de facto eliminates the power that the friars retain in the compound.

The Government will approve a Royal Decree, in parallel to the parliamentary processing of the law, which will regulate the new legal framework applicable to the Valley of the Fallen that will determine its organization, operation and patrimonial regime, since it understands that the purposes of the foundation that manages Cuelgamuros are incompatible with constitutional principles and values. In fact, with the entry into force of the new law, the foundation will no longer receive the 340,000 euros it received per year from National Heritage. Moreover, the Benedictine congregation that manages the site will not have any jurisdiction from that moment on the whole, although its final exit is now pending a negotiation between the Government and the Catholic Church “prior to the approval of the aforementioned decree for reach the pertinent agreements “, say sources from the Executive of Pedro Sánchez, who consider that the continuity of the Benedictines” is incompatible with the democratic and constitutional values ​​and with the new aims of the Valley “and the will of the Executive so that they do not have continuity is “unequivocal”.

The first draft of the preliminary draft contemplated that the apology of the Franco regime was a cause of extinction of a foundation, but the report of the General Council of the Judicial Power (CGPJ), mandatory but not binding, advised that the humiliation of the victims be included in the commendation , a recommendation that the Government has finally accepted.

Fourteen years after the approval of the Historical Memory Law, the Government understands that in these years new elements have been produced on a national and international scale that required a new impulse to public memory policies in Spain, taking into account the recommendations of different international human rights organizations, especially the reports of the UN Rapporteur Pablo de Greiff of 2014 and the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. Both reports coincide in placing democratic memory policies in the context of the global advancement of human rights cultures and practices and the need to articulate a true State policy in favor of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of human rights. no repetition.

Greiff’s devastating report concluded that Spain did little and badly in the search for truth and justice about the Franco dictatorship and for reparation to the victims, and denounced that there was never a State policy in matters of truth, there is neither official information nor clarification mechanisms.

The different advances in the laws and provisions in the scope of the Autonomous Communities have also established mechanisms that transcend and enrich the memorial regime established in the 2007 law, for which the Executive of Sánchez considered it necessary to improve the levels of articulation of policies of democratic memory at the state level.

Special mention to women

The new law, which is structured around the principles of Truth, Justice, Reparation and the Duty of Memory of International Humanitarian Law, declares void the sentences and sentences handed down during the civil war and the dictatorship by Francoist repressive bodies, for political reasons , ideological, religious conscience or belief or sexual orientation. The victims or their descendants will obtain a declaration of nullity that will avoid a tortuous and long judicial process. All the judgments of the War Councils, those of the Special Court for the Repression of Freemasonry and Communism, those of the Public Order Court, as well as professional union clearances will be annulled.

The text also establishes measures to avoid the exaltation of the civil war and the Franco dictatorship, through the withdrawal of symbols and elements contrary to the Democratic Memory, as well as distinctions, titles, decorations and rewards or suppression of noble titles granted to the protagonists or drivers of uprising, war or dictatorship. The Government is now responsible for making a catalog of titles of nobility granted between 1948 – which was when the dictator was granted the power to grant them – and 1978 in exaltation of the civil war and the dictatorship, although from the Secretary of State for Democratic Memory They estimate that it will affect around thirty recognitions contrary to constitutional values ​​and principles.

The text, which was promoted by the former First Vice President Carmen Calvo and the current Minister of the Presidency, Felix Bolaños, includes a special mention of the active role of women in the fight for democracy, something that is repaired in the law in a way transversal throughout it. It also establishes the clear commitment to adopt measures necessary for reparation in terms of the repression and violence that they suffered due to their public, political, union or intellectual activity during the war or in the dictatorship or as mothers, companions or daughters of reprisals or assassinated.

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