The Committee of Experts on the Future of the Valley

At the end of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero’s second term in office (2008-2011), the Minister of the Presidency, Ramón Jáuregui, set up a Committee of Experts on the Future of the Valley of the Fallen, in line with the commitment to resignify the monument acquired under Law 52/2007 on the historical memory. After five months of meetings, the Committee delivered its report and recommendations to what was by that stage the caretaker government, after the election victory of the Partido Popular on 29 November 2011.

The report emphasized the need to form a broad consensus to bring about the wholesale resignification of the monument, which was to include an art installation, the restructuring of the Francoist funerary hierarchy and the cemetery, the installation of a civil space of mourning and the creation of an interpretation centre for visitors.

This centre was to be the primary focus of the resignification objective and was to be designed to explain the complexity of the monument in all its aspects: the history of its construction, the use of hard labour in the building work, the companies that benefited from this penal manpower, the symbolism of the complex overall, its conversion to basilica, the transfer of the remains of more than thirty-three thousand people and the incorporation of a Francoist funeral hierarchy after Francisco Franco’s burial at the site.

The Committee also recommended meeting exhumation requests wherever possible and bestowing a sense of human dignity on the cemetery. On dismantling the monument’s Francoist funeral hierarchy, it recommended that the remains of Francisco Franco be exhumed and removed from the monument, and advised transferring José Antonio Primo de Rivera to a side crypt. The case was also made for amending the monument’s legal status and renegotiating the agreement with the Catholic Church.

The report was unanimously approved by all members of the Committee, except with regard to Franco’s exhumation, against which three private votes were cast.

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