“Can you be without a mask?“. A young man in his thirties breaks the silence at the entrance to the El Pardo-Mingorrubio cemetery, the place that houses the tomb of the dictator Francisco Franco after his exhumation of the Valley of the Fallen a year ago on the eve of the 10-N elections.
It carries a national flag on its shoulders, without any sign that identifies it with the previous regime or the current one that emerged from the Transition. Hand in hand with his partner, he approaches the imposing trellis that protects the Pantheon more media of cemetery. No one answers your question. The other three visitors, more curious than nostalgic, move away a little to comply with the safety distance required by the coronavirus.
Young people begin to observe the sanctuary what the place has become. Two gleaming flags stand out from the others. The first is the closest to the entrance and is the banner of the Burgundy Cross. The double-headed eagle of Saint Andrew seems to watch, from one side to the other, that no one dares to open the heavy gate that gives access to the chapel and to the staircase that leads down to the place where the tombstones of Franco and his wife are, Carmen Polo.
The other flag bears the symbols of the Legion that Franco himself helped found a century ago next to the general José Millán-Astray. Around him swirl bouquets of reddish-yellow flowers, autumn plants on artificial grass, images of Franco in the Morocco campaigns and postcards of saints. The most curious is that of Padre Pio of Pietrelcina next to a Wicker basket in which they can be left donations.
Everything seems to be in order, only one small flowerpot It has fallen because of the wind that whips from the Madrid mountains. The most striking thing is that there is no element of the Franco regime since the Law of Historical Memory prevents the public exaltation of the dictatorship as it happened in the Valley of the Fallen.
The security shines for its absence, at least on that Sunday in October as far as static presence is concerned. The maintenance and surveillance of the place are the responsibility of the public purse. State heritage placed a year ago bars on the windows, an armored door and volumetric sensors with which to detect any possible intrusion. All these security measures for the tomb of Mingorrubio cost 39,911.79 euros.
As the months passed, and seeing that there was no incident, in January of this year the Government transferred the surveillance of this publicly owned mausoleum to a private company. Specifically, to the signature Ariete Security, Vigilance and Protection SA at a rate of 9,680 euros per month.
The Executive of Sánchez trusts that he will not have to reinforce the device around this El Pardo cemetery except on very special dates, like the one on October 24 – the first anniversary of his transfer from the Valley of the Fallen – or on the usual 20-N of each year.
The keys to the pantheon They were deposited in the Madrid Government Delegation, in the State Heritage and in the cemetery itself, so Franco’s relatives can only access it as long as they notify one day in advance. It is the same regime that existed with Carmen Polo and that, curiously, it was not applied often since the dictator’s widow had hardly any visitors in recent years.