Omar G. Encarnación directs the Political Studies Program at Bard. His books include Out in the Periphery: Latin America’s Gay Rights Revolution and Democracy without Justice in Spain: The Politics of Forgetting. (November 2017)


Homage to Catalonia?

Supporters of Catalan independence outside the Catalan parliament in Barcelona during a speech by Premier Carles Puigdemont on whether he would declare independence from Spain, October 10, 2017

The Struggle for Catalonia: Rebel Politics in Spain

by Raphael Minder
Writing in the Journal of Contemporary History, in 1991, the historian Stanley Payne noted that “Spanish nationalism is weaker than ever and has for all practical purposes disappeared.” Payne attributed this to the nationalist excesses of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. In 1936, Franco’s army launched a crusade to save Spain from …


Spain Exhumes Its Painful Past

El Valle de los Caídos, the war memorial and mausoleum of General Franco built, in part, by Republican prisoners in the mountains near Madrid, Spain, 1976

There is a compelling case that the Sánchez administration’s proposal for El Valle, the resting place of the Spain’s long-time dictator General Franco, would go a long way toward reconciling the still divisive legacy of the civil war. From its origins, to its myths, to its architecture, El Valle is steeped in infamy. Unlike other postwar democratic transitions, there was no “transitional justice” in Spain as part of the dismantling of the Franco regime. Now, however, El Valle will receive a radical makeover. In June, Sánchez announced his intention to move Franco’s remains from El Valle and transform the site from a shrine to Francoism to a “memorial for the victims of fascism.”