"Fellow Spaniards: Franco has died"

On This Day

1975: Spanish dictator Franco dies

General Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain with an authoritarian hand for 39 years, has died at the age of 82.

He had been ill for five weeks and died early this morning at La Paz hospital, Madrid. Doctors said the cause of death was heart failure aggravated by peritonitis.

Flags all around the country are at half-mast and the general's body is now lying in state at the El Pardo Palace.

Franco, also known as the Generalissimo, will be buried next week at the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum.


The Prime Minister, Carlos Arias Navarro, his voice trembling with emotion, announced the death at 1000 local time on radio.

 He said that on his deathbed General Franco had asked his enemies to forgive him.

"I ask pardon of all my enemies, as I pardon with all my heart all those who declared themselves my enemy, although I did not consider them to be so," the general had said.

He also asked the Spanish people to remain loyal to Prince Juan Carlos, his designated successor who will be sworn in as king tomorrow.

In a veiled warning to resist separatist movements such as the Basque nationalist group ETA, he advised the nation to "keep the lands of Spain united".

General Franco successfully led the Nationalist armies against the Loyalists during the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, with support from Hitler's Germany and Italy under Mussolini.

Franco allowed Hitler to use Spain's naval bases during World War II, then declared Spain neutral in 1943 when it looked like the Allies would win.

Under Franco Spain has enjoyed stability and relative prosperity, especially after reforms introduced since 1959 that modernised administration and industry.

His regime has also been deeply reactionary, with political parties and non-government trade unions banned, and separatists and communists repressed.

World hopes for democracy

Leaders of European countries have been guarded in their reaction the dictator's death and expressed hope that the new king would introduce modern democracy to Spain.

The European Commission expressed "*sympathy and friendship for the people of Spain" and condolences to General Franco's widow.

No western European nation will be sending a head of state to the funeral apart from Monaco.

But staunch supporters in South America, such as President Pinochet of Chile and Bolivia's President Banzer will *attend.

In Britain, Labour backbenchers are furious that the government is sending a representative - Lord Shepherd, the Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords - to the funeral. Stanley Newens, MP for Harlow, said the decision was "an affront to those who fought and died in the Civil War in Spain in the 1930s".

Fury in Spain over tributes on anniversary of Franco’s death   Source: Daily Telegraph

Check out more days from history  . Source: BBC On This Day

* False Friends:

Sympathy (noun), (Un)sympathetic (adj), Sympathise (v) =
Compasión / Afinidad, Comprensivo, Ser comprensivo / Entender

I have no sympathy for her. It deserves her right. (= I don't feel sorry for her)

He was very sympathetic with her when she didn't pass her exam.

I find it difficult to sympathise with someone who has been unpleasant to everyone.

Simpatía = friendliness, charm ...

Simpático = friendly, nice, pleasant ...

Simpatizar = to get on well together

Attend, Assist =
Asistir a / atender, Ayudar

I don't want to attend the meeting this Friday. It'll just be another big waste of time.

The medics attended to the injured even though they put themselves in danger.

He assisted the old lady with her shopping to the bus stop.


José said…
Dear Graham,

Sorry, I don’t like this post. In my opinión, this General doesn’t deserve any memory from Spanish people. I prefer the most absolute forget. I don’t feel proud precisely.

I thank you the explanation about false friends. It’s very clear, as always, but I want to ask you one question: If you said that a woman wants to do herself funny, would you say that she wants to sympathize? Maybe would it be better to say that she wants to be friendly?

See you.
Graham said…
Dear José :-)

I disagree (and I'm not just being my difficult self). I think a country can't disown its past and if it has been a troublesome one, then it should be confronted.

I don't think that Franco can be blamed for all of Spain's ills.

... In my opinion, this General doesn’t deserve to be remembered by the Spanish. I'd prefer if he was just forgotten. I don’t feel proud exactly.

I thank you for the explanation about false friends. It’s very clear, as always, but I want to ask you one question: If you said that a woman wants to be funny, would you say that she wants to sympathize? Maybe it would be better to say that she wants to be friendly?

If someone sympathises with you, they feel sorry for you.

You have a hopeless teacher. I can only sympathise. :-)
José said…
Hi Graham,

I disagree. In my opinion, this General can be blamed for a lot of Spain’s ills. He continues splitting the Spanish, because you and me disagree. This is my proof.

See you.
Graham said…
Hi José,

So you will be pleased that Madrid city hall is about to remove all Franco-related street signs: