Spain: LGBT+ victims of Franco regime fight for compensation

Moves by Spain to finally exhume the remains of former dictator Francisco Franco have spurred growing demands for compensation by LGBT+ victims of oppression and torture under his 36-year regime.

Spain voted in September last year to disinter Franco’s remains from the vast underground basilica constructed outside the capital Madrid before his death in 1975.

Left-wing parties and human rights organizations claim the Valley of the Fallen, which is marked by a 152 meter (166 yard) mountainside cross, is an embarrassment and an insult to the estimated 140,000 killed or imprisoned during his rule of Spain.

“A democracy like the Spanish one cannot afford to have a Francoist monument,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez recently told, an influential online news site.  Yet, for many aging LGBT+ victims, there are more pressing concerns than the final resting place of the Spanish dictator.

Antoni Ruiz, now 60, was 17 when he was imprisoned in 1976 for three months under a law that deemed homosexuals a “social danger” until 1979. “It was hell,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation from Madrid, describing his treatment by the authorities. Read more via Reuters