40 years after the death of the dictator Francisco Franco, Spain still has a pending debt with the victims of his regime. Since the Spanish democratic transition, the collective memory loss and the lack of political will have left thousands and thousands of victims and prisoners buried in roadside ditches and unmarked mass graves waiting to be dug up. Spain, a full member of the European Union, is the second largest country in number of ‘missing people’, after Cambodia. The UN itself has unsuccessfully asked the Spanish government to put all its efforts into solving the problem. Barely 200 of the more than 2,000 mass graves have been dug up.
In 2007, the socialist government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero passed what became known as the ‘Historical Memory Law’, which, though deemed insufficient by most social groups, recognised all victims of the civil war (1936–1939) and of the subsequent dictatorship of General Francisco Franco (1939–1975). When the rightwing government came to power with the Partido Popular of Mariano Rajoy, the budget line was cut and the law was the facto abolished. The prime minister himself stated that ‘historical memory is of no interest to anyone’. This news report tries to reveal the political interests and Franco’s inheritance that still perpetuate in Spain.
After 40 years, many victims have not been recognised as such yet, and there is not a will to unearth the truth of what happened during those years. Until the memory is dug out and brought to light, thousands of victims and family members will go on living without the justice they deserve.