Antonio Cubillo

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Antonio de León Cubillo Ferreira (3 June 1930 - 10 December 2012) was a politician, lawyer, terrorist and independentist militant of the Canary Islands.

Cubillo was born on 3 June 1930 in San Cristóbal de La Laguna and received a law degree from the University of La Laguna.[1] He was married and had 3 children.[1] He died on 10 December 2012 at his home in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.[1]


He founded the Canary Islands Independence Movement in 1963.[2] While exiled in Algiers,[3] escaping the Francoist dictatorial regime, Antonio Cubillo began a campaign to claim independence from the Spanish rule in the late 1970s.[2] In 1978 he was crippled in an assassination attempt linked to the security forces of the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.[4] After the movement was disbanded in 1982 (following the creation of the Canary Islands Autonomous Community), he was able to return to Spain and found a democratic party in 1985.[5] the National Congress of the Canaries. In 2002, the Madrid supreme court recognized that the Government of Spain committed a crime of State terrorism against his person in 1978 and paid him damages him as a result. To this day, this is the first time the State officially recognized it engaged into crimes state against civilians. In 2011, a documentary called, "Cubillo, The story of a state crime" was diffused on National TV highlighting the role of the State.

Cubillo's core claims have always been that the Canary Islands could be better off if it could keep and develop more of its resources for greater autonomy levels from Madrid. He claimed that the resources are considerable in terms of tourism, geo-political locations for maritime traffic development, fishing fields, oil fields and natural energy resources. The movement he founded, however, failed to attract public support among Canarios owing to its violent nature.[6] The organizations that have succeeded it, such as the Popular Front of the Canary Islands (FREPIC), have remained largely marginal.[7]

In the Mayday episode "Crash of the century" Cubillo is indirectly held responsible for the deaths of 583 people who were killed in the "Tenerife Airport Disaster" on March 27, 1977. According to the documentary the planes that crashed (KLM 4805 and Pan Am 173) were diverted to Tenerife after Cubillo's terrorist bomb had exploded at their original destination (Gando Airport in Las Palmas). In his 10-minute telephone warning he had warned of the planting of two bombs, the second of which turned out to be a hoax. There were two key elements of the sequence of events that led to the disaster on the runway. The diversion was the reason the planes were in Tenerife and the delay whilst Gando was searched led to the fact that Tenerife was covered in fog by the time the planes were due to continue their journey.

However in reports from 1977 it is stated that Cubillo claimed his organisation were responsible for the bomb, but that he made this claim from Algiers and was not in Gran Canaria. No mention is made of the bomb threat of a second bomb.


  1. ^ a b c "Fallece Antonio Cubillo, líder del Movimiento por la Independencia canaria". El Mundo (Spain) (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b O'Brien, Sally; Sarah Andrews; Chris Andrews; Miles Roddis (2004). Canary Islands. Lonely Planet. p. 25. ISBN 978-1-74059-374-8. 
  3. ^ Thompson, Virginia McLean (1980). The western Saharans: background to conflict. Taylor & Francis. p. 266. ISBN 978-0-389-20148-9. 
  4. ^ Woodworth, Paddy (2001). Dirty war, clean hands: ETA, the GAL and Spanish democracy. Cork University Press. p. 57. ISBN 978-1-85918-276-5. 
  5. ^ El Guanche
  6. ^ Canarias Semanal
  7. ^ Historia electoral, Coalición Canaria