Its foundation was linked to a fortune amassed thanks to that regime

The Francoist origin of El País, which labels as 'Francoist' those who think differently

One of the crudest and most manipulative customs of the Spanish left consists of labeling all right-wing discourse as "Francoist".

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Its habit of calling anyone who disagrees with the left a "Francoist"

This custom is not recent. The left has been doing this for decades, and within the left, the one that has practiced this habit the most is the socialist newspaper El País, a medium that has thrived in the shadow of the different PSOE governments. Today El País uses again that adjective against Vox. Let's remember that he already did the same against Adolfo Suárez, against the PP and against Aznar , and years later that newspaper reached the ridiculous extreme of labeling people who died before Francoism as "Francoists". Two years ago he even published a delirious article comparing an air parade of the Spanish Air Force with a Francoist bombing.

When a media outlet resorts to this kind of attempt to demonize everything the left doesn't like, using Francoism as a form of constant and systematic signaling to impose the dogmas of the left, it doesn't hurt to check if you forget something. And in the case of that newspaper, the oversights in matters of Francoism center on its own company. And since they don't, let's remember here.

Founded with a fortune amassed thanks to Francoism

One of the most important figures in El País was Jesús de Polanco (1929-2007), founder of Grupo PRISA, the newspaper's publishing company. Son of a Francoist military family, he was in the founding team of the newspaper, but before that worked in two Francoist institutions: the Institute of Hispanic Culture, attached to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Editorial Escelicer, linked to the General Secretariat of the National Movement (the only party of the dictatorship).

Polanco made his fortune in the shadow of Francoism with Editorial Santilla, founded in 1959, during the dictatorship, as explained by the historian Luis Eugenio Togores last year in El Debate:

"With the educational reform of Minister Villar Palasí, the General Education Law of 1970, thanks to a leak from the Ministry, Santillana was the only publisher that had the textbooks ready, in accordance with the new law of the new school year, which meant its economic takeoff in the midst of the Franco regime, one of its best-selling books being the Formation of the National Spirit, the only subject that, theoretically, had to serve to indoctrinate young people in the values of Francoism, the dictatorship and the State of July 18."

Togores added: "The money earned with Santillana, before Franco's death, allowed the birth of Grupo Prisa".

The Francoist personalities that promoted the newspaper

But the links between this newspaper and the dictatorship do not end there. The newspaper began to take shape in 1973, when Franco was still alive, and had the support of some figures of his regime, attending his initial meeting of shareholders, among others, the following people:

  • Fernando María Castiella, procurator of the Francoist Cortes until 1969 and Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1957 and 1969.
  • Joaquín Ruiz-Giménez, procurator of the Francoist Cortes until 1967 and Minister of National Education between 1951 and 1956.
  • Manuel Fraga Iribarne, Minister of Information and Tourism between 1962 and 1969.
  • Pío Cabanillas, who would be appointed Minister of Information and Tourism in 1974.
  • Mercedes Formica, early militant of the Spanish Falange and leader of the Women's Section of the National Movement.
  • José María de Areilza,the first Francoist mayor of Bilbao between 1937 and 1938.

Coincidentally, the first director of El País was Juan Luis Cebrián, who had previously worked at Diario Pueblo (published by the Francoist Trade Union Organization) and who in 1974 he had been appointed head of the information services of Televisión Española, then the only television channel in Spain, controlled by the Franco regime.

A Franco past that El País never remembers

It is curious to see that the same socialist newspaper that calls "Franco" everyone who thinks differently from its editorial line, at the same time has a Francoist past that he never remembers, because it would spoil his habit of using that adjective to discredit the Spanish right. A right that, moreover, has learned to take the things published by that newspaper, which many Internet users have nicknamed "Lo País" as a joke, due to the increasing amount of ridiculous news it publishes in his eagerness to demonize all of us who do not submit to the ideological dictates of the left.


Photo: El País.

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