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Santiago Carrillo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Santiago Carrillo
Santiago Carrillo 003.jpg
Secretary-General of the
Communist Party of Spain
In office
3 July 1960 – 10 December 1982
Preceded byDolores Ibárruri
Succeeded byGerardo Iglesias
Councillor of Public Order of the
Madrid Defense Council
In office
6 November 1936 – 27 December 1936
PresidentJosé Miaja
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byJosé Cazorla
Secretary-General of the
Unified Socialist Youth
In office
15 June 1936 – 20 June 1947
Secretary-General of the
Socialist Youth of Spain
In office
10 May 1934 – 15 June 1936
Member of the Congress of Deputies
In office
13 July 1977 – 23 April 1986
Personal details
Santiago José Carrillo Solares

(1915-01-18)18 January 1915
Gijón, Asturias, Spain
Died18 September 2012(2012-09-18) (aged 97)
Madrid, Spain
Political partyPCE (1936–1985)
PTE–UC (1985–1991)
Spouse(s)Asunción Sánchez de Tudela (1936)
Carmen Menéndez Menéndez (1949)
ChildrenAurora, Santiago, José, Jorge

Santiago José Carrillo Solares (18 January 1915 – 18 September 2012) was a Spanish politician who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) from 1960 to 1982. His role in the Paracuellos massacres during the Civil War was particularly controversial. He was exiled during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, becoming a leader of the democratic opposition to the regime. His role as leader of the PCE would later make him a key figure in the transition to democracy. He later embraced Eurocommunism and democratic socialism, and was a member of the Congress of Deputies from 1977 to 1986.

Childhood and early youth

Born in Gijón, Asturias province, into the House of Carrillo, Santiago Carrillo was the son of Socialist leader Wenceslao Carrillo and María Rosalía Solares Martínez. When he was six years old, his family moved to Madrid. After attending school, he began to work in El Socialista, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) newspaper at the age of 13. At the same time, he joined the Socialist Union, the Workers' General Union and the Socialist Youth.

Second Republic and Civil War

In 1932, Carrillo joined the Executive Commission of the Socialist Youth and became editor of its newspaper, Renovación. Carrillo belonged to the left wing of the organisation.[1] In 1933, as the Socialist Youth was becoming more radical, Carrillo was elected as General Secretary. From October 1934 to February 1936 he was jailed, due to his participation in the failed 1934 leftist coup (Carrillo was a member of the National Revolutionary Committee).[2]

Delivering a speech in Tolosa in 1936
Delivering a speech in Tolosa in 1936

After his release, in March 1936, Carrillo and the executive of the Socialist Youth travelled to Moscow to meet the leaders of the Young Communist International and prepare the unification of Socialist and Communist youth leagues.[3] He was accompanied on the visit to Moscow by Leandro Carro and Juan Astigarrabía.[4] The result was the creation of the Unified Socialist Youth (Juventudes Socialistas Unificadas).[3]

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, Carrillo joined the Communist Party and did so on the day the government left Madrid in November. During the war, he was intensely pro-Soviet. On 7 November 1936 Carrillo was elected Councillor for Public Order in the Defence Council of Madrid, which was given supreme power in besieged Madrid, after the government left the city.

During his term, several thousand military and civilian prisoners, including many women and children, were killed by communist groups in the Paracuellos massacres at Paracuellos del Jarama and Torrejón de Ardoz (the biggest mass killings by the Republican side during the Civil War). The dead were buried in common graves.[5][6] Carrillo denied any knowledge of the massacres in his memoirs but some historians like César Vidal and Pío Moa maintain that Carrillo was involved.[7] In an interview with the historian Ian Gibson, Carrillo set out his version of events concerning the massacre.[8] In the preface of the second edition of his book, Ian Gibson maintains that Cesar Vidal twisted and misrepresented his sources in order to indict Carrillo.[9]

In March 1939 Madrid surrendered after Casado's coup against the Negrín administration and its close ally, the Communist Party, which sought to continue the resistance until the expected outbreak of the World War. Carrillo's father, Wenceslao, a member of the PSOE, was among those who led the coup and was a member of Casado's Junta. Some weeks before, Carrillo's mother had died. Carrillo then wrote an open letter to his father describing the coup as counter-revolutionary and as a betrayal, reproaching him for his anti-communism, and renouncing any further communication with him. In his memoirs, Carrillo states that the letter was written on 7 March.[10] However, journalist and historian Carlos Fernández published the letter in 1983, as it had been published in Correspondance International; it was dated 15 May.[11]

After the military collapse of the Republican Government, Carrillo fled to Paris and worked to reorganise the party. Carrillo spent 38 years in exile, most of the time in France, but also in the USSR and other countries.


Santiago Carrillo speaking to the VI Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in 1963.
Santiago Carrillo speaking to the VI Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in 1963.

In 1944 Carrillo led the retreat of the communist guerrillas from the Aran Valley.[12]

According to the historian Ricardo de la Cierva, in 1945 Carrillo ordered the execution of fellow communist party member Gabriel León Trilla and helped the Francoist forces to detain his fellow communist Jesús Monzón.[13] According to Enrique Líster and de la Cierva, Carrillo also ordered the 1949 execution of fellow communist Joan Comorera, who was saved by the precautions he took.[14] In 2005 Carrillo said "yo he tenido que eliminar a alguna persona" (I have had to eliminate someone). [15]

In August 1948, Carrillo met Soviet leader Joseph Stalin.[16]

Carrillo became the General Secretary of the PCE in 1960, replacing Dolores Ibárruri (La Pasionaria), who was given the honorary post of Party Chairman. Carrillo's policies were aimed at strengthening the party's position among the working class and intellectual groups[citation needed], and survived opposition from Marxist–Leninist, Stalinist and social democratic factions. In 1968, when the Soviets and Warsaw Pact countries invaded Czechoslovakia, Carrillo distanced the party from Moscow.

Spanish transition and Eurocommunism

Carrillo returned secretly to Spain in 1976 after the death of long-time Spanish caudillo Francisco Franco. Arrested by the police, he was released within days. Together with communist party leaders Georges Marchais of France and Enrico Berlinguer of Italy, he launched the Eurocommunist movement in a meeting held in Madrid on March 2, 1977.

In the first democratic elections in 1977, shortly after the legalization of the PCE (9 April 1977) by the government of Adolfo Suárez, Carrillo was elected to the Spanish Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados), the lower house of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales to represent the Madrid district. Throughout the transition period, Carrillo's authority and leadership were decisive in securing peaceful evolution towards a democratic system, a constructive approach based on dialogue with opponents, and a healing of the wounds from the Civil War (the "Reconciliation" policy).[citation needed] It is widely acknowledged that this policy played a key role in making possible a peaceful transition to democracy.[citation needed]

Carrillo was re-elected in 1979, but the failed right-wing coup d'état attempt on 23 February 1981 reduced support for the PCE, as Spanish society was still recovering from the trauma of the Civil War and subsequent repression and dictatorship. This was despite Carrillo's celebrated and highly public defiance of the coup plotters in the chamber of deputies - he was one of the few members who refused to obey their instructions and did not duck when they shot into the air - and his equally famous claim to be a royalist after the King faced down the plotters.

Fear of another military uprising increased support for moderate left-wing forces in the 1982 elections, in which Carrillo held his parliamentary seat. He was forced to leave his post as party leader on 6 November 1982, owing to the party's poor electoral performance. The new General Secretary, the much younger Gerardo Iglesias, a member of the "renovators" wing, had been at odds with him from the beginning of his tenure.

Leaving the Spanish Communist Party

On 15 April 1985, Carrillo and his followers were expelled from the PCE, and in 1986 they formed their own political group, the Workers Party of Spain-Communist Unity (PTE-UC). This tiny party was unable to attract enough voters, so on 27 October 1991, Carrillo announced that it would be disbanded. Subsequently, the PTE-UC merged into the ruling PSOE, but Carrillo declined PSOE membership considering his many years as a communist member.

Retirement and death

On 20 October 2005, Carrillo was granted an honorary doctorate by the Autonomous University of Madrid. The action of the university was strongly criticized by right-wing commentators. Carrillo had retired from public life at the time of his death at his home in Madrid at the age of 97 on 18 September 2012. He was cremated in Madrid on 20 September.[17]

List of works

  • "¿Adónde va el Partido Socialista? (Prieto contra los socialistas del interior)" (1959)
  • "Después de Franco, ¿qué?" (1965)
  • "Problems of Socialism Today" (1970)
  • "Eurocomunismo y Estado" Editorial Critica (1977) ISBN 84-7423-015-2 ; English edition: Eurocommunism and the State, Lawrence and Wishart, 1977, ISBN 0-85315-408-2
  • "El año de la Constitución" (1978)
  • "Memoria de la transición: la vida política española y el PCE" (1983)
  • "Problemas de la transición: las condiciones de la revolución socialista" (1985)
  • "El año de la peluca" (1987)
  • "Problemas del Partido: el centralismo democrático" (1988)
  • "Memorias" (1993)
  • "La gran transición: ¿cómo reconstruir la izquierda?" (1995)
  • "Un joven del 36" (1996)
  • "Juez y parte: 15 retratos españoles" (1998)
  • "La Segunda República: recuerdos y reflexiones" (1999)
  • "¿Ha muerto el comunismo?: ayer y hoy de un movimiento clave para entender la convulsa historia del siglo XX" (2000)
  • "La memoria en retazos: recuerdos de nuestra historia más reciente" (2004)
  • "¿Se vive mejor en la república?" (2005)
  • "Dolores Ibárruri: Pasionaria, una fuerza de la naturaleza" (2008)
  • "La crispación en España. De la Guerra Civil a nuestros días" (2008)
  • "Los viejos camaradas" (2010)
  • "La difícil reconciliación de los españoles" (2011)
  • "Nadando a contracorriente" (2012)
  • "La lucha continúa" (2012)

See also


  1. ^ Santiago Carrillo (1993). "3. El bienio republicano socialista". Memorias. Barcelona: Planeta. ISBN 84-08-01049-2.
  2. ^ Santiago Carrillo (1993). "4. El movimiento insurreccional contra la CEDA de 1934". Memorias. Barcelona: Planeta. ISBN 84-08-01049-2.
  3. ^ a b Santiago Carrillo (1993). "6. De las elecciones a la guerra civil". Memorias. Barcelona: Planeta. ISBN 84-08-01049-2.
  4. ^ Arozamena Ayala, Ainhoa (2015). "Juan Astigarrabia Andonegui". Auñamendi Eusko Entziklopedia (in Spanish). Eusko Ikaskuntzaren Euskomedia Fundazioa. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  5. ^ Knut Ahnlund, Rethinking the Spanish Civil War
  6. ^ Preston, Paul, "A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War". 1996, Fontana Press London.
  7. ^ Vidal, Cesar, "Paracuellos-Katyn: Un ensayo sobre el genocidio de la izquierda". 2005, Libroslibres ISBN 84-96088-32-4
  8. ^ Ian Gibson, "Paracuellos. Cómo fue". 1983, Plaza y Janés. Barcelona.
  9. ^ Gibson, Ian, "Paracuellos: Como fue. La verdad objetiva sobre la matanza de presos en Madrid en 1936 (2nd ed.). 2005, Temas de Hoy, Barcelona ISBN 9788484604587
  10. ^ Santiago Carrillo (1993). Memorias. Barcelona: Planeta. p. 300. ISBN 84-08-01049-2.
  11. ^ Carlos Fernández (1983). Paracuellos del Jarama ¿Carrillo culpable?. Barcelona: Arcos Vergara. pp. 188–192. ISBN 84-7178-530-7.
  12. ^ Carrillo miente, 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, Ricardo de la Cierva, pages 288-291
  13. ^ Carrillo miente, 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, Ricardo de la Cierva, pages 298-303
  14. ^ Carrillo miente, 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, Ricardo de la Cierva, page 316
  15. ^ Un resistente de la política, interview with Santiago Carrillo. El País
  16. ^ Carrillo miente, 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, Ricardo de la Cierva, page 312
  17. ^ "Tributes paid to Santiago Carrillo, a key figure in the democratic transition". El Pais (in Spanish). Madrid: Prisa. 19 September 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2013.

Further reading

  • Wilsford, David, ed. Political leaders of contemporary Western Europe: a biographical dictionary (Greenwood, 1995) pp 57–63.
Preceded by
Dolores Ibárruri
General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain
Succeeded by
Gerardo Iglesias
This page was last edited on 26 August 2021, at 22:51
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