The body of a senior Francoist exhumed from a basilica

The body of a senior Francoist exhumed from a basilica in Seville

General Queipo de Llano is blamed for thousands of executions that took place after the military uprising that sparked the civil war, including that of Federico García Lorca.

The remains of a Francoist military leader accused of being responsible for thousands of executions were exhumed overnight from Wednesday to Thursday from Seville’s Macarena Basilica, under a new law aimed at removing tributes from public spaces to figures in the prevent Franco’s dictatorship. The Brotherhood of the Macarena, an association of believers, announced on Thursday that it had “exhumed the remains of Gonzalo Queipo de Llano y Sierra and his wife Genoveva Martí Tovar, as well as Francisco Bohórquez Vecina,” his closest military associate.

The remains of the leaders of the 1936 military coup must not be or remain buried in any significant place open to the public, except in a cemetery that might facilitate the organization of public tributes

Excerpt from the Democratic Memory Law passed in October

General Queipo de Llano (1875-1951), then the highest military official in southern Spain, is blamed for the thousands of executions that took place after the military uprising that sparked the most famous civil war (1936-1939) that of the poet Federico García Lorca. About 50,000 people died in repression in Andalusia between 1936 and 1951, according to a work published in 2012 by the Center for Andalusian Studies, which is dependent on the regional government.

The new “democratic memory” law passed by Parliament in early October stipulates that “the remains of the leaders of the 1936 military coup may not be buried or remain in any significant public place other than a cemetery, making the organization more public could favor honors”.

“To the Victims of Francoism”

The exhumation was carried out with “the consent of the two families,” the Macarena Brotherhood stressed, without specifying in which cemetery the remains were then buried. Some family members of the deceased waited for the release of the remains at 2:20 a.m. to applaud them and start “Long live Queipo!” according to images from Spanish TV.

A few meters away, Paqui Maqueda, a woman who had fought for years to honor the memory of the victims of Francoism, recited the names of family members executed by the dictatorship and shouted “honor and glory to the victims”. Francoism !” Pedro Sánchez’s left-wing government, which passed the new law, welcomed the exhumation. “We have to do that as a democratic and civilized country,” Vice President Yolanda Díaz told state television.


Conversely, the leader of the People’s Party (conservative right), the main opposition party, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, took the view that “politics must focus on solving the problems of the living and leaving the dead in peace”. For his part, the leader of the far-right Vox party, Santiago Abascal, tweeted that the government was “desecrating graves and disturbing the rest of the dead”.

Francisco Franco, who died in 1975, was exhumed in 2019 from the impressive mausoleum of the Valle de los Caídos, a monumental basilica built on his orders near Madrid. In the same mausoleum, the Spanish government also wants to exhume the remains of the founder of the Falange, a fascist-inspired party, José Antonio Primo de Rivera, who was shot dead by the republican camp at the beginning of the conflict.

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