Sep 27, 2019

Digging up dictators: Spain divided over Franco's resting place

Franco's current resting place. Photo: Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images

Spain's top court has ruled that the remains of Francisco Franco, Spain's longtime dictator, can be moved from a giant mausoleum in the Valley of the Fallen, outside Madrid.

Why it matters: Franco's grandchildren have fought the move, which has sparked a lively debate ahead of elections expected on Nov. 10. The far-right Vox party opposes Franco's reburial, while others argue the ruling Socialists should let the past lie.

  • "Franco’s tomb attracts a smattering of his remaining supporters and fresh flowers are placed on his grave most days," per WSJ.
  • “We are the only democracy which has a dictator in a state mausoleum where he can be exalted,” said Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo, laying out the government's case for moving him.
Digging up dictators...
  • Josef Stalin's remains were entombed with Vladimir Lenin's in 1953, but during "de-Stalinization" 8 years later, they "were quietly transferred to a more modest resting place near the Kremlin" that remains "a site of pilgrimage for some die-hard communists," per France 24.
  • Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife were killed by firing squad and buried in secret in 1989, before being exhumed in 2010 for DNA tests to confirm their identities. It was them, and they were reburied.
  • Saddam Hussein was executed in 2006 and "buried in a mausoleum he had built" in his hometown, near Tikrit. However "around 2014 [the tomb] was destroyed in mysterious circumstances," though the body may have been removed and its whereabouts are "a subject of much speculation."

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Anger in Catalonia over harsh sentences for separtists

The scene tonight in Barcelona. Photo: Clara Margais/Getty Images

Spain’s supreme court today sentenced 9 Catalan politicians to between 9 and 13 years for their roles in an unauthorized 2017 independence referendum.

The latest: Protestors outraged by the severe sentences for sedition and misuse of public funds filled the streets in cities across the semi-autonomous region and flooded into Barcelona’s airport, causing more than 100 flight cancellations.

Go deeperArrowOct 15, 2019

Catalan separatist leaders jailed by Spanish court for up to 13 years

Protesters hold a Catalan "Estelada" flag and images of the jailed separatist leaders, Barcelona, Spain, Oct. 14. Photo: Lluis Gene/AFP via Getty Images

Spain's Supreme Court handed down prison sentences of 9–13 years Monday to 9 Catalan separatist leaders for sedition over their roles in the 2017 independence referendum, the BBC reports. 3 others were not sentenced after being found guilty of disobedience, per Al Jazeera.

Why it matters: Catalonia declared its independence from Spain following the vote, causing the Spanish government to impose direct rule and dissolve the autonomous Catalan government. The court's decision has triggered massive protests by pro-independence supporters in the Catalan capital, Barcelona, video posted by activists and journalists on the scene shows.

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Keep ReadingArrowOct 14, 2019

Second-term Supreme Court cases to watch

Photo: Nurphoto/Getty Images

The Supreme Court, now with a solid conservative majority after Justice Brett Kavanaugh's appointment, is hearing cases that could have long-term ramifications on immigration, LGBTQ employment protections and access to abortion.

The big picture: The high court — with 5 conservatives and 4 liberals — kept a relatively low profile in its first term this year. But it could hand major wins to Republicans in 2020's second term, emboldened by Kavanaugh's appointment and sharpening their focus as a slew of hot-button disputes work their way up from lower courts.

Key cases to watchArrowUpdated Oct 18, 2019