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Montevideo, September 24th 2023 - 05:15 UTC



Leading political figure of Spain’s contemporary history dies

Wednesday, September 19th 2012 - 06:10 UTC
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Santiago Carrillo involved in politics to the last of his 97 years Santiago Carrillo involved in politics to the last of his 97 years

Veteran Communist leader Santiago Carrillo, Spain's last surviving public figure to have taken an active part in the civil war and the reinstatement of democracy has died at age 97, sources close to the family said.

Although he lived in exile for decades, mostly in France, Carrillo was a central figure in Spanish politics during much of the tumultuous 20th Century and a player in the difficult transition to democracy in the late 1970s after dictator Francisco Franco died.

Carrillo put his longevity down to continued active participation in Spanish political life, writing essays and making contributions to public seminars and a weekly nationwide radio debate well into his 90s.

“I am a politician with a sense of reality” he said in an interview, explaining his career.

“If you can say anything good about me, it's that I have lived many years and actively participated in many episodes of Spain's history,” he said, presenting a documentary in 2009.

An image firmly embedded in the nation's memory is that of Carrillo and Adolfo Suarez, another of modern Spain's founders, refusing to take cover when Civil Guards opened fire in the Spanish parliament in 1981 as part of a thwarted coup.

Republican Carrillo also led the long path to Spanish reconciliation when he accepted the monarchy and paid tribute to King Juan Carlos as head of state of a democratic Spain. The King was instated by the dictator Franco.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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  • British_Kirchnerist

    RIP Comrade Carillo, a real hero both of the working class movement and of democracy itself. I'm just glad that the last Civil War leader to take an active part in Spanish life was from the right side! And he proved a truly impressive statesman when he and Suarez together were the key figures in the return of democracy, culminating in their heroic defiance of the golpistasof 1981 where they both risked death by refusing to obey them in the Chamber. He made compromises which got him into significant trouble with the “left” of his own party but which led to 30 years of democracy in Spain and the near unthinkability of another Francoist dictatorship. Now I just hope Spanish democracy can survive the onslaught of austerity and the left that was crushed by Franco can further revive to meet that challenge...

    Sep 19th, 2012 - 01:07 pm 0
  • Philippe

    Ah, the writer of this “news” item forgot to mention that Comrade Carrillo was the great “hero” of the Paracuellos del Jarama killing fields.


    PS. People who don't know a thing about Carrillo, spell his name “Carillo.”

    Sep 19th, 2012 - 02:06 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    @1 B_S_K

    I think Philippe has just seen through you as well! LOL

    Sep 20th, 2012 - 03:25 pm 0
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