Primo de Rivera: Spain to exhume fascist Falange leader

Spain is poised to exhume the remains of a fascist leader who inspired the Franco dictatorship.

José Antonio Primo de Rivera founded the Falange movement and his remains lie at a giant mausoleum created by the former fascist regime outside Madrid.

He was key to Gen Francisco Franco’s uprising which triggered the 1936-1939 Spanish civil war.

His body will be moved to Madrid’s San Isidro cemetery – part of a government drive against symbols of fascism.

Prime de Rivera’s grave is next to the altar at a basilica in the Valley of the Fallen – the Franco mausoleum now renamed Cuelgamuros Valley.

Franco’s remains were removed from there in 2019, which angered far-right activists who still cherish his memory.

The basilica stands by a rock face topped by a giant cross – a landmark dominating the surrounding landscape. Anti-fascist Republican prisoners were forced to build the memorial.

The reburial is part of the left-wing government’s drive to stop veneration of the fascist civil war victory, or of the Franco dictatorship.

The mausoleum site is being converted into a memorial honouring all of the war’s victims, not just the fascists. Many leftist Republican victims were buried in unmarked mass graves, and many relatives are still trying to locate them.

Primo de Rivera will be reburied near the graves of several of his family members.

He was executed by a Republican firing squad in November 1936 in Alicante. Primo de Rivera was the son of dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera, who governed Spain from 1923-1930.