Legion exhibition in Franco controversy

Portrait of Spanish dictator angers socialists - but elite military unit shrugs off francoist links

The portrait of Franco which caused the row

By Richard Torné

A portrait of dictator Francisco Franco at an exhibition on the Spanish Legion has sparked a bitter political row and raised awkward questions about the regiment’s controversial historic links with fascism.

The ‘Cultura de Defensa’ exhibition, which ended this week, was held at the Patio de Luces hall in Almería city to mark the 25th anniversary of the crack unit’s role in international peace-keeping missions.

But it was the inclusion of a portrait of general Francisco Franco, who ruled Spain for 36 years following a bloody civil war, and the legion’s founder and staunch francoist José Millán-Astray, which provoked a bitter row after the Socialist PSOE party demanded its immediate removal from the exhibition.

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