Although at times it seemed impossible, Everything indicates that there will be a Democratic Memory Law. If nothing goes wrong between now and the plenary session of Congress on Thursday, the rule will have sufficient support after the agreements with some of the usual partners of the Government, among whom (for the moment) is not ERC. The process started two years ago and along the way new features have been incorporated such as the list that details one by one the 33 noble titles granted by Franco that the law will make disappear. This is how PSOE and United We Can agreewhich in the first version of the text left the possibility open to all the titles that supposed exaltation of the Civil War or the dictatorship.
The closed list was included on the basis of "investigative work already carried out" that makes it possible to determine, according to both formations, what distinctions are incurred in extolling the coup d'état or Franco's regime, its instigators, leaders, participants in the repressive system or the organizations that supported the regime. Titles "whose base is constituted by behaviors that violate human dignity and other fundamental rights committed in pre-constitutional times", they justify in the adopted amendment.
All 33 were granted by Franco in perpetuity and hereditary to coup plotters, war criminals and Francoist ideologues who played some key role in the progress of the war or the support of the regime. In fact, the intention was recognized by the dictator himself in the 1948 law with which he restored the aristocratic distinctions suspended by the Republic. And it was a double objective: on the one hand, to "keep alive" the memory of "the great glories of the nation"; on the other, to thank them for the "services rendered" during "our Crusade", loaded with "heroic actions".
Most of these dukedoms, earldoms, and marquisates have been renewed after the death of those who originally received them, and now fall to their heirs. But who were they and why did Franco distinguish them?
There are four noble titles that were granted on a day as symbolic for the regime as July 18, but in 1948. They were the first granted by the dictatorship for his "heroism" during the war and as "an example of his lineage and greatness", reads the decree that made them effective. Today, a great-nephew of the founder of the Falange holds the dukedom of Primo de Rivera, granted to José Antonio after being assassinated in the Republican prison in Alicante at the outbreak of the war. Rivera's cousin became a myth for the Franco regime and a martyr at the service of propaganda after having devised a fascism adapted to Spanish nationalism.
That "he will live closely linked to the National Movement" was what Franco said of José Calvo Sotelo, former Minister of Finance during the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera, who was assassinated on July 14, 1936. Although his violent death was brandished by the rebels as the cause that pushed them to the uprising, the reality is that planning had already begun. And, in fact, Calvo Sotelo actively participated in the conspiracy. Currently, a grandson of the monarchist politician is the Duke of Calvo Sotelo. But the myth par excellence of Francoism was the military coup José Moscardó, whom Franco distinguished for defending the Alcázar of Toledo against the Republican troops with a county that one of his grandchildren enjoys today.
The last of the first four titles granted was the Duchy of Mola, which is held by the grandson of Emilio Mola, architect of the 1936 coup d'état and director of the Northern Army's military operations during the war. A soldier who did not hide his sadism and who as soon as the war began said things like: "We must sow terror, give the sensation of domination, eliminating without scruples and hesitation all those who do not think like us [...] Anyone who protects or hides a communist or Popular Front subject will be put to the sword." Or "I want Marxism and the red flag to remain in history like a nightmare, a nightmare washed with the blood of patriots."
Onesimo Redondo, known as "caudillo de Castilla" during the Franco regime and leader of the fascist group las JONS, which would later join the Falange, received the county of Labajos posthumously and in 1950 the dictator would issue the marquisate of Queipo de Llano. The general has been defined as one of the greatest war criminals at the service of the Francoist military uprising. He brought terror to the Andalusian towns, which left a trail of executions that in Seville alone numbered more than 12,000. "I'll get them out of the ground if necessary, and if they're dead I'll kill them again," he said in one of his usual harangues from Radio Sevilla. Today the Marquis is his grandson.
The son of General Juan Yagüe is the Marquis of San Leonardo de Yagüe, the distinction created by Franco posthumously to honor to the so-called "butcher of Badajoz", named for the cruelty and the way in which terror was applied in the province of Extremadura in August 1936, when thousands of people were killed. "I have just witnessed such a spectacle of desolation and fear that it will take time to fade from my eyes," Portuguese journalist Mario Neves wrote in his chronicles of the systematic repression.
To the only woman who distinguished the dictator with a noble title went to Pilar Primo de Rivera, sister of José Antonio and founder of the Falange Women's Section. She was a fervent admirer of Nazi Germany and a strong advocate of the submission of women to men. Their destiny was to consecrate themselves to their husband and children: to take care of the home and satisfy the man. "The boy will look at the world, the girl will look at home," summed up one of the issues of the magazine Consigna, the propaganda apparatus of the Women's Section. Today the county of Castillo de la Mota is owned by a great-nephew of Pilar Primo de Rivera
One of the few titles that will disappear with the new democratic memory law and that remain vacant today is the dukedom of Carrero Blanco, awarded posthumously after his assassination at the hands of ETA in 1973 shortly after being appointed by Franco President of the Government. The admiral always maintained his intention to keep the dictatorial regime intact and, among other things, reflected his visceral hatred of the Jews and the democratic system. He was succeeded by Carlos Arias Navarro, who had a prominent role in the repression of Malaga and held various positions in the regime. He received the marquisate from Arias Navarro a day after resigning, with one difference: it was not Franco, already dead, who granted it to him, but King Juan Carlos.
It was not the only case; This was the case with four other distinctions that the norm also plans to eliminate: the monarch also granted the Lordship of Meirás to Carmen Polo, Franco's widow, only six days after her death. Today it is held by her grandson, the one known as Francis Franco. On the same day he granted his daughter the dukedom of Franco, which continues to exist in Spain despite bearing the name of the dictator, today in the hands of Carmen Martínez Bordiú. Months later, the king granted the county of Rodríguez de Valcárcel, a former member of the Falange who had served as head of state between November 20 and 22, and the county of Iturmendi, in favor of Rita Gómez, the widow of the Carlist politician Antonio Iturmendi, who held important positions in the regime.
Franco deployed an extensive policy of distinctions to military figures who had played a relevant role in the course of the Civil War. This was the case with the marquisate of Dávila or that of Saliquet, in honor respectively of Fidel Dávila and Andrés Saliquet, both members of the National Defense Board created by the rebellious military. The latter came to preside over the Special Court for the Repression of Freemasonry and Communism once the conflict was over, which between 1940 and 1964 alone managed to instruct more than 64,000 cases of victims of reprisals. The Marquisate of Kindelán, awarded to the person in charge of the fascist air forces that came to produce indiscriminate bombardments of civilians that ended with thousands of deaths.