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article imageArnold Swartzenegger visits Franco's monument in Madrid, Spain

By Anne Sewell     Oct 16, 2013 in World
Madrid - Arnold Swartzenegger was in Madrid recently with his Arnold Fighters, a mixed martial arts extravaganza laid on by the Hollywood star. While in town, he made a controversial decision to visit the "Valley of the Fallen", a monument to Francisco Franco.
Digital Journal reported on the story of Arnold Fighters, and how there was a little controversy with the show itself, as it didn't quite meet minimum safety requirements for an event of that nature in Spain. However, it seems all went ahead as planned.
It seems that during his stay in Spain's capital, Schwarzenegger decided to visit the Valley of the Fallen monument (or in Spanish "Valle de los Caídos"), conceived by Franco and dedicated to Spain's civil war dead, which also contains the remains of the Spanish dictator himself. This decision raised quite a few eyebrows, and many tweets.
The site itself is controversial, due to the fact that the dictator ruled Spain with an iron fist from the end of the civil war in 1939 right up to his death in 1975, when he was buried there.
Also, the huge crucifix and the Catholic church on the site were partly built by convicts, which included political prisoners. Recently plans have been made to restore the monument, which again raised controversy.
Apparently the actor-turned-politician spent just over an hour visiting the site on October 11th and was "pleasantly surprised" at the scale of the massive complex, according to the website of the organization that cares for the monument.
One Twitter user, Paco Lobo wrote of Schwartzenegger's visit: "No wonder he visited the Valley of the Fallen, his father was a Nazi." And another @RuthMts: "Schwarzenegger in the Valley of the Fallen with the fascist allies of his father."
However mostly the controversy surrounding Schwartzenegger's visit to the monument drew more humorous responses. Aithor Maiden wrote that he "must have confused Franco with (actor) Danny DeVito", while Javier M.P. wrote: "At last Franco can rest in peace."
Pablo Linares, head of the Valley of the Fallen association, told The Huffington Post (Spanish version): "It was a strictly private visit, there was no institutional invitation by us and, to our knowledge, by anyone."
"He visited the Valley of the Fallen as one might have visited El Escorial [historical residence of the King of Spain] or the Wax Museum," he added.
La Vanguardia (Spanish language) has posted some photos of Schwartzenegger's visit.
Frontal view of the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) and Santa Cruz basílica. El Escoria...
Frontal view of the Valle de los Caídos (Valley of the Fallen) and Santa Cruz basílica. El Escorial, Madrid, Spain.
Pablo Forcén Soler
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