Outcry over Spanish defense ministry economic support of Francoist association
Organization that defends Franco regime received 5,000-euro subsidy and free use of army premises
The Spanish Defense minister, María Dolores de Cospedal, is back in the headlines days after admitting that the Spanish army was ready and prepared to act in Catalonia when tensions between Barcelona and Madrid were at their highest during the push for independence this fall.
Cospedal green lighted a 5,000-euro subsidy to the magazine of the Asociación de Militares Españoles (AME, or Spanish Soldiers Association), an organization that defends the Franco regime, and granted it free use of 40 square meter premises in the Spanish army’s official HQ. The news caused outrage among social media in both Catalonia and throughout Spain.
This came out after Jon Iñárritu, senator for the Basque nationalist EH Bildu party, quizzed the minister on why she gave support to an organization with “Francoist values”, in a written response, to which Público newspaper had access. Cospedal claimed AME “works with the same objective as the department in spreading the Culture of Defense.”
The latest issue of the Militares magazine produced by AME takes aim at former army captain and now Spanish politician, Zaida Cantera, accusing her of being responsible for the sexual harassment she suffered from superiors when in the army.
Apart from often praising the Franco regime and criticizing the historical memory law designed to redress crimes committed during and after the Civil War, Militares magazine is also very critical of Spain’s territorial division into self-governing communities.
Nor is it the first time that Cospedal has been caught up in such a controversy. A year ago, El Plural online newspaper reported that the Spanish army’s official magazine was promoting a book about the “crusade” by the Francisco Franco Foundation.