Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Support for General Franco is alive and well in the Spanish Armed Forces

 The Military Chamber of the Spanish Supreme Court overturned a disciplinary sanction on a former corporal in the Spanish Army, which he had received for signing, in 2018, a "Manifesto in collective response against the franquismo (support for the dictator General Francisco Franco) in the Armed Forces."  He also gave an interview to the newspaper "" on the same date, explaining why he signed the Manifesto.

The Supreme Court found that his action did not infringe upon the respect that he owed his superiors nor did it effect the proper functioning and efficacy of the military.  It found that his action was not a manifestation against the Armed Forces as an institution, only against the members of the military who had signed the first Manifesto, against which he protested.

The first Manifesto was prepared by a group of approximately 180 retired members of the military and widows of members of the military, who had published a Declaration in defense of General Franco.  In the newspaper interview, the corporal was asked what he thought when he found out that hundreds of military officials published a communiqué praising Franco, in 2018.  He replied that because it was 180 signers, he was not afraid, with 700, it would have been worse; but he was overwhelmed. How could it be possible that members of the military, on active duty, defending the Constitution, now support a genocide.  He said that he decided to go public because this praise of Franco goes against the Spanish Constitution:  "If there really was a Transition, this document has no right to exist." The interviewer asked the former corporal why he had only managed to get 20 signatures whereas those who praise Franco aver that they had collected 600 signatures.  The corporal replied that this begins with the military academy, they open your brain and they put what they want into it.  The most repeated phrase in the military, he said, is that they don't pay you for thinking.  

The Supreme Court held that the right to freedom of expression is guaranteed not just for civilians but for members of the military as well by the doctrine of the European Court of Human Rights and also by the constitutional doctrine of the Spanish Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court noted that both Manifestos arose at a moment in which Spain was involved in a public debate regarding the decision of the Government to modify a law by which the rights of persons who suffered during the Civil War and the Dictatorship were recognized.  In addition, the purpose of the "Valle de los Caídos", formerly a franquista project designed to glorify Franco, was converted into a monument for those, on both sides, who had been killed in the Civil War.  Franco, who had been buried there, was exhumed and reburied elsewhere.

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