‘The other face of the caudillo’, new book by Ángel Viñas

‘The other face of the caudillo’, new book by Ángel Viñas

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The historian Ángel Viñas (Madrid, 1941) reveals details unknown until now about the origin of the patrimony of the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, who died 40 years ago, which refutes the idea of ​​the supposed detachment that the caudillo felt towards money. Viñas published his new book on September 22: ‘The other face of the Caudillo‘.

The play collects the ways in which Franco accumulated his assets, regardless of their official fees, such as the sale of coffee donated by Brazil in 1939 or a «monthly bonus»Who paid him over the phone. The extracts from Franco's accounts corresponding to that date show that the dictator arbitrarily dedicated money to different people and works, such as the reconstruction of the castle of La Mota or the expansion of a religious school of the Adorers of Valladolid.

Regarding income, the most surprising thing is a monthly donation of 10,000 pesetas, which would be equivalent to about 11,000 euros today, from the National Telephone Company, whose main shareholder was at that time the American company ITT.

«Politically the case is significant. Since before the Civil War, the government had not always harmonious relations with the ITT. During the conflict, the telephone company ensured service in the areas into which the country was divided, although the president of the ITT, the well-known and feared Colonel Sosthenes Behnn, a furious anti-communist, did not take long to declare himself in favor of the rebels. After the conflict ended, Franco blocked the ITT's efforts to resume its operations in Spain, ”explains Ángel Viñas in his work.

On August 31, 1940, Franco's assets were 34.30 million pesetas in several accounts, which were nourished by contributions from sympathizers to his cause who wanted to finance the war. Viñas points out that Franco used part of that money for donations and works but affirms that it is probable to keep most of the accumulated funds.

In just a couple of years, he made a not inconsiderable fortune, thanks to mechanisms that have not been clarified until now. His bank balance is surprising considering that his monthly salary in 1935 was 2,493 pesetas and in 1940, already as Head of State, received 50,000 pesetas as an annual salary.

«In any case, not even saving all the emoluments as head of state and as captain general, plus the bonus from Telefónica, it is possible that Franco could accumulate the bank balances he had in August 1940«Viñas explains and adds that the donations were the means of enrichment and another way to accumulate his patrimony was to have appropriated part of the endowment of the presidency of the government or of the Headquarters of the State from 1937.

During the last decades, notable progress has been made in historical research on war and dictatorship but Franco's finances are still a little known aspect, with exceptions such as that of Mariano Sánchez Soler in his book ‘Los Franco S.A.’

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