Spain’s Dilemma: To Toast Franco or Banish His Ghost?

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VALLE DE LOS CAÍDOS, Spain — Lingering support for the dictatorship of Gen. Francisco Franco, often hard to detect in Spain, rises readily to the surface here at his grave, which is encased in a huge austere monument 30 miles north of Madrid.

His normally reticent defenders speak less guardedly about their admiration for him, while the passionate hold spirited political rallies on each anniversary of his death.

But Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero has proposed ending all political tributes to Franco at the monument, which is called Valle de los Caídos, or Valley of the Fallen, saying they are an offense to those who suffered during his rise to power in the 1930’s and subsequent 40-year dictatorship.

“We rejected calls for it to be destroyed, and we accept that Franco can remain buried there,” Ramón Jáuregui, a top member of Mr. Zapatero’s center-left Socialist Party who helped draft the proposal, said in an interview. “But it shouldn’t be a platform for the exaltation of Francoism.”

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