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Spain exhumes fascist leader Primo de Rivera, confronting far-right past



The remains of the fascist leader whose movement supported General Franco’s dictatorship were dug up and reburied on Monday, rekindling debate in Spain over its troubled past and angering far-right activists.

The Spanish government ordered the exhumation of the body of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange fascist movement, from his resting place in a huge mausoleum on a mountainside 40 miles from the capital Madrid. He was then reburied in the city cemetery as part of a private family ceremony.

The move, taken by a small group of sympathizers who chanted and gave fascist salutes, is part of an effort to prevent the glorification of the country’s totalitarian past that occurs when the far right seeks political breakthroughs across Europe.

This follows the exhumation of General Franco’s remains at the same location, formerly known as the Valley of the Fallen, in 2019, after he was originally buried there after his death in 1975. The site was built in part using forced labor as a commemoration of the fascist victory in the civil war, and for many, the site represents the horrors of the war and Franco’s subsequent dictatorship.

Mausoleum in Madrid, Spain, known as the Valley of the Fallen. Manu Fernandez / AP file

As with Franco’s re-internment, Monday’s move sparks hatred for Spain’s current far-right movement, which sees Primo de Rivera and Franco as nationalist heroes. Santiago Abascal, leader of the populist Vox party, accused the Spanish government of displacing a patriot who “gave his life for Spain”.

Party vice president Jorge Bujade tweeted: “If they don’t respect the dead, does anyone think they respect the living, the workers, the farmers, those who have a calling to serve Spain?”

Vox called for “win backSpain and offered to build a wall around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Africa.

Vox became the country’s third largest political party after the 2019 national elections, with 3.6 million votes and 52 deputies in the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s lower house of parliament. Opinion polls show that the party remains the third most popular party, with about 15% of national support.

Under a new democratic memory law passed last year, the site officially reverted to its original name, Cuelgamuros Valley. The Spanish socialist government plans to turn the site into a tribute to the 500,000 people who died during the civil war that lasted from 1936 to 1939.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said when the law was passed in October that he would “pay the Spanish democracy’s debt to its past.”

The mausoleum, with its 500-foot spire and cross, was built in part by the labor of Republican prisoners on Franco’s orders.

Presidential minister Felix Bolanos told reporters in Barcelona on Friday: “No person or ideology that is reminiscent of a dictatorship should be honored or extolled there.”

“This is another step in changing the meaning of the valley.”

This will be the fifth time that the body of José Antonia de Rivera has been exhumed since he was shot by left-wing Republican executions in 1936, such is the intensity of the feeling for his final resting place.

Initially, his body was buried in two different mass graves in the city of Alicante on the southeast coast. Two years later, he was transported 311 miles to San Lorenzo de El Escorial near Madrid, where the Spanish royal family is traditionally buried. His body was moved to the Valley of the Fallen in 1959.

Primo de Rivera’s family said in a statement to local media that they will now move the remains to a cemetery in Madrid and have them reburied in a private ceremony.

He was the son of Miguel Primo de Rivera, who ruled Spain as dictator from 1923 to 1930.

Nazi Germany sent a delegation of Hitler Youth activists lay a wreath at his grave in 1943.

Long-standing plans are being made to allow people to access the crypts in the Mausoleum of Cuelgamuros, which are believed to contain the unidentified remains of 34,000 people, including many victims of the Franco regime.

Families fought for years for the right to identify the bodies of loved ones who died during the war and were presumably buried in the crypt.

Spain is one of many European countries that have faced their 20th-century history, including many countries gripped by historical debates about the extent of Nazi collaboration during the Holocaust.

Julius Ruiz, an expert on Spanish history at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, said Primo de Rivera’s legacy has been used by supporters and detractors alike to support contemporary political goals as regional elections are just around the corner in Spain.

“He didn’t play any role at all in the Civil War, he was in a Republican prison, and in fact, during the months he was alive, he advocated reconciliation, he talked about how people should unite, how the war was a tragedy” Ruiz told NBC. News.

“But, of course, the problem here is that whatever the actions of the man himself, he was used by Franco – and José Antonio did not particularly like him – as a symbol for the legitimization of his regime on the basis of a single party that was created. in 1937.”

Ruiz added that, with a few more figures from the Francoist regime yet to be dug up, this may not be the last moot point in Spain’s shaping of its “democratic memory.”

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1 killed in Oklahoma college shooting, suspect arrested



Police say one person has died and a suspect is in custody following a shooting at a junior college in Oklahoma.

MIDDLEWEST TOWN, Oklahoma. — On Monday, police said one person has died and a suspect is in custody following a shooting at a junior college in Oklahoma.

Midwest City Police Chief Sid Porter said the shooting on the Rose State College campus appeared to be “related to household chores.”

The school issued an alert telling students and staff to take cover on the spot before police announced that the suspect was in custody.

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Spain to exhume founder of Fascist party from mausoleum



MADRID (AP). The body of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Spanish Falange fascist movement, will be exhumed from the Madrid mausoleum on Monday and transferred to the city cemetery.

The fascist political leader was executed by the Spanish Republicans in November 1936 after General Francisco Franco led an uprising of soldiers in July of that year to overthrow Spain’s democratically elected government.

The ensuing civil war ended in 1939 with hundreds of thousands dead and the country left in ruins.

Franco took advantage of the death of Primo de Rivera.

It will be exhumed in accordance with updated legislation which prohibits the glorification of the Spanish dictatorship and the fascist heritage. His body lay in the vast complex known as the Valley of the Fallen, which was built with the help of forced labor from prisoners to commemorate the victory of the Nazis in the civil war.

FILE – A monk walks in front of the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) mausoleum on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, October 10. 13, 201. The body of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Spanish fascist Falange movement, will be exhumed from the Madrid mausoleum on Monday, April 24, 2023, and transferred to the city cemetery. The fascist political leader was executed by the Spanish Republicans in November 1936 after General Francisco Franco led an uprising of soldiers in July of that year to overthrow Spain’s democratically elected government. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, file)

After Franco won the war in 1939, he ruled the country with an iron fist until his death in 1975. He himself was buried in the Valley of the Fallen until 2019, when his remains were taken away to the nearest cemetery by helicopter.

The Valley of the Fallen, recently renamed to its pre-war name Cuelgamuros, is also the burial site of 34,000 people who died during the civil war. Many of the dead were originally buried in mass graves dug at Franco’s request. The bodies were moved to the Valley of the Fallen to fill the place with casualties from both sides.)

Spain passed a new law on historical memory last year, overturning legal decisions made during the dictatorship. He holds the central government responsible for finding the still missing bodies of tens of thousands of people forcibly disappeared by the regime.

The Minister of Finance and Public Functions of Spain, Maria Jesus Montero, said on the eve of the exhumation that it was important to restore “justice” to the victims of fascism in Spain. “It is very important that certain steps are being taken to comply with the law, which wants to repair the damage and commemorate the victims of the coup,” she said.

The government wants to turn the Cuelgamuros mausoleum into a place for reflection. He wants the bodies brought there without consent to be returned to the affected families.

José Antonio Primo de Rivera was the son of the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera, who ruled Spain from 1923 to 1930.

On Monday, Primo de Rivera’s body will be exhumed for the fifth time since his death. He will be buried next to family members in the San Isidro cemetery in Madrid.

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Susan Rice, Biden’s chief domestic policy adviser, steps down



WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden said on Monday that his top domestic policy adviser, Susan Ricewill leave his post next month.

As director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, Rice had a major influence on the administration’s approach to health care, immigration, and racial inequality.

It was an unexpected shift for Rice, a longtime Democratic foreign policy expert who served as President Barack Obama’s national security adviser and UN ambassador, the only person to hold both positions. She worked closely with then-Vice President Biden in these positions and was his short list to become his running mate during the 2020 campaign.

“After more than two years of her steady leadership of the Domestic Policy Council, it is clear that there is no one more capable and more determined to achieve important goals for the American people than Susan Rice,” Biden said in a statement announcing her departure.

Rice has come to work in a hot spot for Republican attacks since the Obama years. During her wide tenure at the helm of Biden’s domestic agenda, she has helped oversee a flurry of executive and legislative action, including in the areas of health care, law enforcement, gun safety, racial equality, and grassroots $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

“I’m so proud of everything we’ve been able to do together for the American people,” Rice tweeted, thanking Biden.

Rice, whose last day of work is May 26, was also a major player in the Biden administration’s efforts to manage the growing number of migrants on the US-Mexico border, turning away many migrants who crossed the border illegally. Instead, the US has agreed to accept thousands of migrants per month as long as they arrive legally, have suitable sponsors, and pass screening and background checks. These decisions were seen as a shift to the right by some immigrant advocates, who criticized the administration for abandoning promises to be more humane in immigration policy.

The next person assigned to the job will have a different focus. With a split in Congress and lower expectations for major legislation, a new domestic policy adviser will work to implement policy.

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