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Santiago Carrillo: Wikis


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Santiago Carrillo speaking to the VI Congress of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany in 1963.
Santiago Carrillo in 2007.

Santiago Carrillo Solares (born January 18, 1915), Spanish politician, was the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) from 1960 to 1982.


Childhood and early youth

Born in Gijón, Asturias province, Carrillo is the son of the prominent Socialist leader Wenceslao Carrillo. When he was six-year old, his family moved to Madrid. After attending school, he began to work in El Socialista, the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) newspaper when he was 13 years old. At the same time, he joined the Socialist Union, the Workers' General Union and the Socialist Youth.

Second Republic and Civil War

In 1932, he accessed the Executive Commission of the Socialist Youth and became editor of Renovación, the newspaper of the Socialist Youth. Carrillo was one of the members of the left-wing of the youth organization.[1] In 1933, as the Socialist Youth was becoming more radical, Santiago Carrillo was elected General Secretary of the youth organization. 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]

After his release, in March 1936, Carrillo and the executive of the Socialist Youth traveled to Moscow to meet the leaders of the Young Communist International and prepare the unification of Socialist and Communist youth leagues. The outcome of the process was the creation of the Unified Socialist Youth (Juventudes Socialistas Unificadas).[3]

After the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he decided to join the Communist Party. The formal joining happened the same day the government left Madrid in November. During the war, he showed an intense pro-Soviet approach. On November 7, 1936, Carrillo was elected Councillor for Public Order in the Defense Council of Madrid, who was given supreme power in besieged Madrid, after the government left the city.

During his term, several thousand imprisoned people, military and civilians, including many women and children, were murdered by communist groups in the Paracuellos massacre at Paracuellos del Jarama and Torrejón de Ardoz (the biggest massacre performed by the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War), where the dead were buried in common graves.[4][5] Carrillo has always strongly denied any knowledge or involvement in the massacres according to his memoirs but reliable evidence shows involvement in the massacre committed by communist elements.[6] Some historians like Cesar Vidal,Pio Moa etc. maintain today the thesis of Carrillo's involvement[7] In an interview with the historian Ian Gibson, Carrillo explained once again the details of his version of events concerning the massacre.

In March 1939 Madrid surrendered after an internal coup against the Negrín administration and its close supporter, the Communist Party, which wished to continue the resistance until the foreseeable outbreak of the World War. Carrillo's father, Wenceslao, member of 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 a public 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 in March 7.[8] However, journalist and historian Carlos Fernández published the letter in 1983, as it had been published in Correspondance International; it was dated on May 15.[9]

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


In 1944 Carrillo led the retreat of the communist guerrillas from the Aran Valley [10].

According to Jorge Semprún, Enrique Líster and 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 the fellow communist Jesús Monzón [11]. According to Enrique Líster and Ricardo de la Cierva, Carrillo also ordered in 1949 the execution of fellow communist Joan Comorera, who was saved by the precautions he took [12]. In 2005 Carrillo said "yo he tenido que eliminar a alguna persona" (I have had to eliminate someone) [13]

In August 1948, Carrillo personally met Stalin.[14].

Carrillo became the General Secretary of the PCE in 1960, replacing Dolores Ibárruri (Pasionaria), who was given the post of Party President. Carrillo's policies were meant to strengthen the party's position among the working class and intellectual groups, and averted several attempts of removal instigated by the Marxist-Leninist, Stalinist and pro-democracy factions. In 1968, when Soviets invaded Czechoslovakia, Carrillo began to distance the party from Moscow.

Spanish Transition and Eurocommunism

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

Carrillo was elected to the Spanish Congress of Deputies (Congreso de los Diputados), the lower house of the Spanish Parliament, the Cortes Generales, representing Madrid district in the first democratic elections in 1977, shortly after the legalization of the PCE (April 9, 1977) by the government of Adolfo Suárez. Throughout the Transition, 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). Carrillo was re-elected in 1979 and 1982, but was forced to leave his post as party leader on November 6, 1982, owing to the poor party performance in the ballots. The failed coup d'état attempt on 23 February 1981 played a critical role against Carrillo's PCE, as Spanish society was still recovering from the trauma of the Civil War and subsequent repression and dictatorship. Fear of another military uprising propelled the most moderate left wing forces in the next elections. However, it is widely acknowledged that Carrillo's Reconciliation policy (see above) played a key role in making possible a peaceful transition to democracy. His own courageous personal behaviour during the failed coup d'état is also very remarkable −he was, together with outgoing PM Suarez, the only MP not to obey the rebels' orders to lie down choosing to sit and have a cigarette (as shown in the surviving TV footage of that day). The new General Secretary, the much younger Gerardo Iglesias, a member of the "renovators" wing, was at odds with him from the start.

Leaving the Spanish Communist Party

On April 15, 1985, Carrillo and his followers were expelled from the PCE and the next year, in 1986, they formed their own political group, called the Workers Party of Spain-Communist Unity (PTE-UC). This tiny, leftist party was unable to attract enough voters, so in October 27, 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.


On October 20, 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, however, is no longer a communist having "moved to the right through Eurocommunism to social democracy."[15] He was quoted in September 1991: "the Communist movement as such has completed its historical cycle and it makes no sense trying to prolong it."

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 8474230152 ; 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)

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. ^ Santiago Carrillo (1993). "6. De las elecciones a la guerra civil". Memorias. Barcelona: Planeta. ISBN 84-08-01049-2.  
  4. ^ Knut Ahnlund, Rethinking the Spanish Civil War
  5. ^ Preston, Paul, "A Concise History of the Spanish Civil War". 1996, Fontana Press London.
  6. ^ Ian Gibson, "Paracuellos. Cómo fue". 1983, Plaza y Janés. Barcelona.
  7. ^ Vidal, Cesar, "Paracuellos-Katyn: Un ensayo sobre el genocidio de la izquierda". 2005, Libroslibres ISBN 84-96088-32-4
  8. ^ Santiago Carrillo (1993). Memorias. Barcelona: Planeta. p. 300. ISBN 84-08-01049-2.  
  9. ^ Carlos Fernández (1983). Paracuellos del Jarama ¿Carrillo culpable?. Barcelona: Arcos Vergara. pp. 188–192. ISBN 84-7178-530-7.  
  10. ^ Carrillo miente, 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, Ricardo de la Cierva, pages 288-291
  11. ^ Carrillo miente, 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, Ricardo de la Cierva, pages 298-303
  12. ^ Carrillo miente, 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, Ricardo de la Cierva, page 316
  13. ^ Un resistente de la política, interview with Santiago Carrillo. El País
  14. ^ Carrillo miente, 156 documentos contra 103 falsedades, Ricardo de la Cierva, page 312
  15. ^ Hudson, Kate. European Communism Since 1989. New York. St. Martin's Press: 2000
Preceded by
Dolores Ibarruri
Secretary General of the Communist Party of Spain
Succeeded by
Gerardo Iglesias

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