One hundred and eighty-one high-ranking Spanish military officers, none of whom are on active duty, have issued a public statement demanding respect for former dictator General Francisco Franco. Among them are colonels, lieutenant colonels, admirals and captains. The statement, published by online Madrid newspaper Ok Diario [in Spanish], includes the full list of signatories and is titled “Statement of Respect and Amends for General Francisco Franco Bahamonde, a soldier of Spain”.

Their declaration comes at a time when the new Sánchez administration is determined to exhume the remains of the dictator and remove them from the Valley of the Fallen (“Valle de los caídos” in Spanish), the grand mausoleum which the dictator built for himself using slave labour.

In their writing, the Spanish officers claim that “paying tribute to the heroes who forged Spain and everyone who gave their life for this country is a debt of gratitude and a stimulus to continue General Franco’s work”. Furthermore, they slam Spain’s left parties, accusing them of scorning the dictator. “Following the permanent attacks on the memory of Franco since his passing, and by erasing —slowly but steadily— any trace of the general’s work for Spain’s sake during the historical time he had to live through, the political left and their friendly media have unleashed a reckless campaign that would boggle the mind, were it not for their bent-on-revenge obstinacy to erase half a century of our history by attempting to wipe away for good the main architect of the survival of that history”.

Franco’s popularity alive

The statement goes on to say that Franco’s figure is being used “to conceal the truth of today’s territorial undoing in Spain and the blatant inequality between Spaniards”.

As many as fifteen Spanish generals have endorsed the statement. Their names are: José Sierra Rabuenca, Luis Gomez-Hortigüela Amillo, Carlos Blond Álvarez del Manzano, Javier Bohorquez López- Lóriga, José Miguel Aldea Marín, Jesús Alfredo Ruiz Fernandez, Francisco Martínez Esparza Valiente, José Fernando Abos Coto, José María Sanchez de Toca y Catalá,  Enrique Cano de las Heras, Salvador Fontela Ballesta, Agustín Muñoz-Grandes Galilea, Juan Chicharro Ortega, Luis Casteleiro Villalba, Blas Piñar Lopez and Alberto Asarta Cuevas.

The prestigious magazine Foreign Policy recently published an article on the persistance of Francoism in Spanish society today.