October 24, 2020

Congress takes the first step to investigate the Republican money seized by Franco’s coup plotters

Investigate the Republican money seized by Franco’s coup plotters to compensate those affected. Congress will approve this Tuesday the taking into consideration of this bill sent by the Parliament of Catalonia to reform the current memorial legislation, although the text could find fit in the parliamentary process of the future Democratic Memory Law.

The Government refuses to return the "red money" seized by Franco

The Rajoy Government refused to return the “red money” seized by Franco

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The measure, debated in the plenary session of the Chamber, has found the thick line of Vox, which has launched its “second notice” against the law that repairs the victims of Francoism. A position criticized from the PSOE, United We Can and the rest of the political groups that supported the inauguration, including Citizens.

The reform seeks to compensate individuals, or their heirs, to whom the Franco regime seized paper money and other republican fiduciary signs. The total number requisitioned by the nascent Franco dictatorship fluctuates according to the sources consulted and should be subject to study, political groups such as the PNV have pointed out.

A report from the Bank of Spain dated March 11, 1938 raises the seizure to 35 million pesetas, which would be more than 3,000 million euros, with some 1,500 affected. The Association of People Injured by the Seizure of the Franco Government (APIGF) presents a base of 747 families to whom the coup plotters seized more than 10.5 million pesetas, which would currently be more than 900 million euros.

The Government of Mariano Rajoy blocked the initiative in 2017 claiming that meeting the demand would mean “an increase in budget credits” from the State. The Executive of Pedro Sánchez revoked the veto after the motion of censure although the reform has not entered, until now, in parliamentary discussion. Both PP and Vox point out that behind the measure is the “black hand” of judge Baltasar Garzón, who demanded a step similar in 2015.

Fit in the future memory law

“We are at the gates of the new Democratic Memory Law, that is the natural frame of the debate that concerns this proposal “, has maintained the deputy of the PSOE Marc Lamuà. The socialists hope” to approve this procedure so that it enriches the debate “of the new legal frame for” there to design and to deploy the mechanisms ” that they help the State to “compensate” the families that suffered the plunder of the Franco dictatorship.

The parliamentarian has defended the figures of Long Knight and Indalecio Prieto of “the revisionist barbarities of the extreme right in Madrid.” “Some point and others execute, we know the method, ladies and gentlemen, because we have suffered it,” Lamuà snapped to Vox.

The Parliament’s proposal “is not equidistant, it does not take everyone into account” and it serves “to benefit a few and without guarantees,” said the PP parliamentarian María Jesús Moro. The “drift” of the PSOE leads him “to look back again and break the reconciliation pact,” Moro understands. An attitude that makes “social confrontation and division grow in the midst of” a pandemic where the disastrous government management sinks us, “he says.

The reform is “fair, necessary and urgent” and “addresses one of the taboo topics since the Transition, the economic repression of Francoism”, in the words of María del Mar García Puig from the confederal group Unidos Podemos-En Comú Podem-En Tide (GCUP-EC-EM). The “plundering” “led entire families to misery and hunger” and “the civilian population has not received what was stolen from them since the coup illegal,” he stressed.

“The only modification that we could share on that liberticidal law is its repeal,” Vox points out as “second notice.” “The swaps that are now being tried in an irregular manner were made and executed by thousands of citizens who were able to satisfy the change without problem,” defended the far-right Juan José Aizcorbe, who recalled the “funds seized in the red zone.”

Those who suffered the looting of ‘red money’ “in order to collect it had to be accompanied by people related to the Franco regime” and this extreme “has been ignored by Vox,” Guillermo Díaz has criticized from Ciudadanos. “Our democracy is going to repair what a dictatorship broke,” emphasizes the orange parliamentarian.

The PNV parliamentarian Mikel Legarda has claimed that the legal reform serves to “investigate the total money seized” since there is “great divergence on its amount” and the number of families affected. The Basque deputy has requested that the initiative “be processed” together with the future new Democratic Memory Law.

“You are the embers of that extreme right”, the deputy of En Comú Podem in the Parliament of Catalonia Jéssica Albiach, who has presented the initiative in Congress, has disfigured Vox. And he has appealed to PP and Ciudadanos to “break the emotional kidnapping they have with Vox” because “they are the shame of the European right.”

Hundreds of families affected

The case dates back to the first months of the Civil War, when the coup plotters confiscated Republican money in each area that fell into their hands. The Franco regime authorities issued a receipt in exchange that, in many cases, was never returned to its rightful owners.

The bill seeks to “compensate those who saw how revenge made them lose almost everything,” said the deputy of Junts per Catalunya in the Parliament, Eduard Pujol. The proposal was approved “unanimously” in the Catalan chamber, recalled the PSC-PSOE parliamentarian Ferran Pedret.

The text registered by the Parliament of Catalonia seeks to compensate individuals whose savings were seized by the coup plotters, as has already happened with unions and political parties. The initiative recognizes in only two articles “the right to redress to individuals affected by the seizure of paper money or other fiduciary signs” Republican.

This is not the first time that the so-called “red money” debate has been opened. In January 2015, the former judge’s office Baltasar Garzón presented a claim to the Council of Ministers for the return of the money seized by the dictator. He Supreme Court rejected indemnify for this claim.

Before these proposals, in 2007, Congress refused to return in euros the money seized by the Franco regime or kept by the families. On that occasion, PP and PSOE opposed a measure by ERC and CiU to establish compensation for the exchange of money.

Garzón’s lawsuits requested compensation from those affected because the property deprivation was the consequence of a series of norms issued by the coup authorities. The most significant ones with the force of law, such as the Decree-Law of November 36 that came into force immediately by decision of the National Defense Board constituted in Burgos and the Decree of August 38 that created the ‘ Fund of paper money put into circulation by the enemy ‘.

From that moment on, two different currencies coexisted, coins that were worth depending on whether they were in the republican or coup part of Spain. The strategy of the Franco regime was to use money as a weapon of war by introducing a payment system that broke with the Republic, that forced prices and monetary speed in the ‘enemy zone’. A decision that affected the civilian population by depriving them of legitimate means of payment.

The notes were confiscated by Franco’s army “coercively”, since their mere possession was considered “contraband.” Any fiduciary sign entered that consideration, including paper money, silver certificates, ‘special checks’ … But the money was not destroyed. The money put into circulation by the republican government had value abroad and in the republican zone. And it was used by the Franco regime, inside and outside the country.


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