On Tuesday, Spain's Council of Ministers approved a new Democratic Memory law, which will seek to repair the victims of the Civil War (1936-1939) and prevent the figure of the dictator Francisco Franco from being glorified.
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The new law, which the Spanish Parliament must now process, takes a further step with respect to the 2007 Historical Memory Law because it penalizes acts that humiliate the victims and exalt the 1936 coup d'etat, the war, or the dictatorship.
The law promotes the creation of a national DNA bank and documentation center in Salamanca to locate the remains of the victims of Franquism. Additionally, the new law appoints a special prosecutor to investigate crimes committed against citizens by the Spanish extreme right since the Civil War.
The new regulations will require Spanish governments to assume the costs of exhuming gravesites and re-signify monuments in honor of the dictator Franco such as the one at Madrid's Valley of the Fallen.
Once the law goes into full effect, citizens who glorify the Franco regime could receive fines ranging from US$230 to US$170,000.
Between 1936 and 1939, anarchists, socialists, and communists loyal to the Popular Front government of the Second Spanish Republic took up arms against an alliance of monarchists, fascists, conservatives led by General Francisco Franco, who had the support of the Catholic Church.
This far-right General dominated Spanish politics until his death in 1975. Even after the return to democracy, his followers continued to control the main institutions of Spanish economic and political power.