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Post Franco, Maduro, and the "Two Heads of State" Conundrum
Created by John Eipper on 08/13/19 5:50 AM

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Franco, Maduro, and the "Two Heads of State" Conundrum (Carmen Negrin, France, 08/13/19 5:50 am)

The fact that certain people consider that the Spanish Civil War started in 1933 and not in 1936, is comparable to the thesis that Franco became head of state in 1936 and not on 1 April 1939 or even on 14 December 1955 when the UN finally gave in. The date could possibly be postponed until Franco's death, when the legal government of the Spanish Republic decided to end. One could also say that there were two heads of state, one legal and the other not, and probably there could be arguments about which one is the legal one.

It all depends on who or what you want to believe.

The French Third Republic recognized Franco's government the minute Azaña resigned, at the end of February 1939, as though the government disappeared with him.  The UK did likewise; however later they refused to recognize him as a UN Member State arguing that the government was illegal because it had been put in place thanks to Nazi-Fascist forces.

One can also consider that although there were more than 2000 people killed in the Canary Islands, and there was no war there, because thanks to the assassination of Balmes, the war never really got started, there was only a "resistance" or according to others a "guerrilla."

As mentioned on some other occasion, the UK in particular had been trying since almost the beginning of the civil war and in particular when Franco had occupied more than half the country, to find a legal argument to recognize his leadership. But they themselves regretted having to admit that there was a difference between de jure and de facto law, and thus they lamented in writing that they were not yet able to recognize him officially when he so requested during the war.

I suppose that, if you were in an occupied zone and governed by the occupying rebel forces, you would tend to say that they were de facto, if not officially, governing.  Thus, whether you liked him or not, the head of (the) state would be the one leading, at least where you are living, specially if the occupation goes on for almost 40 years.

This is probably the criteria retained in the case of the estate mentioned by José Ignacio Soler (July 17th), although of course, there are also presumably other legal arguments to the choice of the date. It is obviously not the criteria retained by the judge who has in fact also worked as a lawyer for the Franco Foundation and for the family. One could wonder why he was picked, but that is another matter.

The debate on the choice of the date is far from being silly. It shows the need to clarify certain historical facts. It also clearly demonstrates first the ignorance or the will to ignore these facts, and second it says a lot about a person's understanding of these historical events.

Franco himself talked about the glorious victory day of April 1st. If he was already in charge of the state before that, what was he fighting against? Windmills? "Rebels" as he called them once he rewrote history? The so-called "rebels" happened to be the only legal ones in the conflict.

I guess historians still have a lot of work ahead of them and the necessary "effort of memory," because it is an "effort," and still has a long way to go in Spain, especially now with Vox being brought into the mainstream.

I suppose that in a few years, depending on who wins the supposedly on-going negotiations in Venezuela, one will say that Maduro was President until a certain date or Guaidó became President on the same date.

JE comments:  I'm trying to wrap my head around the Spain-Venezuela analogy.  If we accept the notion that Franco was a usurper who became "legitimate" through violence alone, then who is the Franco equivalent in Venezuela?  By many accounts Guaidó has a stronger legal standing than Maduro.

Ultimately, as Carmen Negrín suggests here, it will be a question of who prevails in Venezuela.  As the Chileans say, por la razón o la fuerza (by reason, or by force).

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