The exhumation plan Pedro Sanchez plans to undertake in Valley of the Fallen, once the so-called “Democratic Memory” Law is definitively approved, it may be frustrated. Many families -specifically, 258- have already expressed their opposition to touching the remains of their relatives and are advancing legal action in the event that the Government extracts them from the graves, removes them, manipulates them or submits them to DNA tests. The Association for the Defense of the Valley of the Fallen -which represents these relatives- confirms to OKDIARIO that they will reach “all the necessary judicial instances” so that their right to protect those buried there is recognized.
The main problem Sánchez will encounter is the state of the tombs themselves. A forensic report commissioned in 2011 by the Government of Rodríguez Zapatero already admitted that skeletal remains are scattered and mixed, which makes the vast majority of identifications extremely complex. Own Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, then first vice president, acknowledged that it would be “almost impossible” to remove some bodies.
The examinations carried out determined that the ossuaries -which contain more than 33,000 corpses– they are very spoiled by landslides, leaks of water and humidity, in addition to the fact that the bones are intermingled with each other, in poor condition and, in many cases, without the possibility of separating them. Up to 12,410 victims have not even been identified.
Justice recognizes the right of family members to recover the remains, but also of those others who do not want to do so. Specifically, an order from the court of San Lorenzo de El Escorial, from 2016, establishes the requirements to be able to exhume a body. In that order, which precisely recognized the “right to a dignified burial” of the Lapeña brothers, it is warned that “the specific situation of the state of the cadaveric remains in the Valle de los Caídos cemetery must be taken into account”, since that «the measures adopted will have to assess the possibility of access to the third floor, if possible, the transfer of remains guaranteeing its integrity, respect and memorythe identification of the affected columbariums and the possibility of practicing the DNA test” and adds that “the cadaveric remains will only be delivered once they have been identified.”
At the same time, it is noted that “the recognized right is not unlimitedsince the situation in which the Valle de los Caídos cemetery seems to be, determines that the measures that must be adopted are proportional», so that «it is possible to carry out all the necessary actions for the delivery of remains, appropriate to the referred proportionality». The order indicates that “at all times the integrity of the cadaveric remains must be guaranteed” and also warns “respect for the memory of the deceased in the cemetery itself” and “respect for the consideration due to the Basilica where they are deposited.”
At this point, the one referring to the “memory of the deceased” – that is, of all those buried in the Valley of the Fallen, precisely the families that oppose the exhumation of their relatives cling. They point out that, given the state of the ossuaries, it will be very difficult to know exactly, before the exhumation, if the remains that are being sought rest in the ossuary and warn that in the process mixed remains could be extracted that correspond to other buried.
Thus, Sánchez is presented with a convoluted panorama, with legal actions involved. The “Democratic Memory” Law, approved thanks to Bildu, determines that “claims and requests from relatives whose purpose is to urge the exhumation and delivery of the remains of the victims buried in the Cuelgamuros Valley will be addressed” and it is specified that “in the case of technical impossibility of the exhumation, reparation measures of a symbolic and moral nature will be agreed”, already in anticipation that many remains cannot be delivered.
As OKDIARIO also revealed, according to data from the Ministry of the Presidency, there are only 104 exhumation files, which barely represents 0.31% of the victims buried there.