The dictator was awarded the Laureate Gold Medal for Merit and Sacrifice in Work.
The withdrawal of Labour merit medals
The measure repairs the current “Golden Book which is, to a large extent, a Book of Infamy”, explained Díaz.
A total of eight prominent leaders of the Franco regime, in addition to the dictator, will be stripped of this distinction.
They will be removed by means of individual royal decrees that deal with each specific case.
The Council of Ministers has approved, at the proposal of the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy, nine royal decrees withdrawing the respective Medals of Merit in the Workplace awarded to people who actively and prominently participated in the repression following the 1936 coup d’état.
This is the culmination of the process announced just six days after Law 20/2022, of 19 October, on Democratic Memory, which is based on the principles of truth, justice, reparation and guarantee of non-repetition, as well as on the democratic values of harmony, coexistence, political pluralism, defence of human rights, the culture of peace and equality of men and women.
It is, therefore, an essential act of justice in accordance with the legislation in force, since the recipients of the award actively collaborated with the forces that rose up against the democratic and constitutional regime of the Second Spanish Republic, which led to the Civil War of 1936-1939, and carried out acts and observed conduct manifestly incompatible with democratic values and the guiding principles of the protection of human rights, from their various positions during the Franco dictatorship.
“The distinctions for the Medal of Merit in the Workplace are condensed in a so-called Golden Book which is, to a large extent, a Book of Infamy. It would be enough to go through its pages to realise, to our astonishment, that we have taken too long to take this step”, Yolanda Díaz said.
Article 42 of the Law of Democratic Memory mandates that “decorations and awards granted prior to the entry into force of this law may be reviewed when it is accredited that the beneficiary, before or after the award, on the grounds of having been part of the repressive apparatus of the Franco dictatorship, had carried out acts or observed conduct manifestly incompatible with democratic values and the guiding principles of protection of human rights, as well as with the requirements for their award”.
As Yolanda Díaz explained, “We are not returning to the past in any case, we are looking to the future. We are assuming an ethical, and now legal, inescapable mandate that denies amnesia and grants just and due reparation. Because it is impossible to build a firm future on the pain, death and defencelessness of thousands and thousands of people”.
It so happens that Francisco Franco Bahamonde was awarded a specific and extraordinary recognition, created specifically in his honour: the Laureate Gold Medal for Merit and Sacrifice in Work, on 18 July 1953.
The medal for merit in work is a decoration created in 1926, which disappeared during the Second Republic, and which was re-established at the beginning of the Franco dictatorship by Decree of 14 March 1942, and whose regulation was subsequently replaced by Decree 1817/1960, of 21 September.
During the period of democracy, this decoration was maintained, and its regulations were approved by Royal Decree 711/1982, of 1 March 1982, which was repealed by Royal Decree 153/2022, of 22 February, approving the Regulations of the Medal and Plaque for Merit at Work.
List of medals withdrawn
All these persons have also had other distinctions awarded by different administrations revoked.
FRANCISCO FRANCO BAHAMONDE (Ferrol, 1892-Madrid 1975)
ENRIQUE PLA I DENIEL (Barcelona, 1876-Toledo,1968)
JOSÉ LEÓN DE CARRANZA Y GÓMEZ-PABLOS (Cádiz, 1892-El Puerto de Santa María (Cádiz), 1969)
JOSÉ LUIS DE ARRESE MAGRA (1905, Bilbao – 1986, Corella (Navarre), Spain)
JOSÉ MARÍA FERNÁNDEZ LADREDA Y MENÉNDEZ VALDÉS (Oviedo, 1885-Bobes, Siero (Asturias),1954.
JOSÉ SOLÍS RUIZ, Cabra (Córdoba) 1913 – Madrid, 1990.
JUAN YAGÜE BLANCO (San Leonardo (Soria) 1891 – Burgos, 1952).
JESÚS ROMEO GORRÍA, (Bilbao,1916 – Madrid, 2001).
JOSÉ ANTONIO GIRÓN DE VELASCO (Herrera de Pisuerga (Palencia), 1911 – Fuengirola, 1995).