Salvador Puig Antich
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|Salvador Puig Antich|
Undated photo of Salvador Puig Antich
|Status||Executed, 2 March 1974|
Salvador Puig Antich (Catalan pronunciation: [səɫβəˈðo ˈpudʒ ənˈtik]; May 30, 1948 – March 2, 1974) was an anarchist, born in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain and active during the 1960s. A member of the Iberian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación) (MIL), he was executed by the Francoist regime after being tried by a military tribunal and found guilty of the death of a Guardia Civil (Spanish gendarme). His execution was very unpopular; the Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies made a series of lithographs called "Assassins" and displayed them in the Galerie Maeght in Paris, in honour of Puig Antich's memory. The Groupes d'action révolutionnaire internationalistes (GARI) were formed after his death.
A child of a middle-class working family, Salvador was the third of six siblings. His father, Joaquim Puig, had been a militant in Acció Catalana, a Catalan political movement, during the times of the Second Spanish Republic. After being exiled in France in a refugee camp in Argelès-sur-Mer, he was condemned to death upon his return to Spain but then reprieved.
Salvador began studying in the religious school La Salle Bonanova until he was expelled for indiscipline, after that he studied as a boarder with the Salesians in Mataró. From the age of 16, Salvador combined office work with night studies at the Maragall Institute, where he made friends with Xavier Garriga and the Solé Sugranyes brothers (Oriol and Ignasi), who would be future comrades of him in the Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación (MIL), an anarchist group fighting against the Franco regime and capitalism.
The events of May 1968 in France were decisive in Puig Antich deciding to involve himself in the fight against the Franco dictatorship. His first involvement was in the Workers' Commissions ("Comisiones Obreras" CCOO), formed partly by the Student Commission of the Maragall Institute. Ideologically, he quickly became attracted to anarchist positions, that reject any type of hierarchy and coercion within political organizations and unions in the fight for the emancipation of the working classes. After beginning university studies in Economics, Puig Antich did military service in Ibiza, working in the barrack's clinic. Upon completing his service, Puig Antich became part of the MIL, as a part of its military branch. Puig Antich participated in the group's actions, which mostly meant being a driver during bank robberies ("expropriations"). The money gained went to promote the group's clandestine publications, and to support strikers and detained workers.
Puig Antich and his comrades moved around easily in clandestine circles and often travelled to the south of France, where they linked up with the old militants of the CNT-F.
They congregated in August 1973 in France to hold a MIL conference. The following month, after an attack on an office of the Savings and Pension Bank of Barcelona "La Caixa", a strong offensive against the MIL began.
First to fall in this offensive were Oriol Sole Sugranyes and Josep Lluis Pons Llobet, and then Santi Soler, who was detained, interrogated, and tortured, finally confessing the secret meeting places of his comrades. Soler was used as a trap by plainclothes officers to detain Xavier Garriga and Puig Antich. The meticulously prepared operation took place on 25 September 1973 in Barcelona. The two anarchists were detained, and immediately afterwards, a shootout occurred in which Puig Antich was badly injured and a young Guardia Civil, Francisco Anguas Barragán, was killed.
Puig Antich was gaoled, accused of having fired the shots that killed Anguas Barragán, and after being tried by a court martial he was sentenced to death. In some parts of Europe, and as far away as Argentina, there were demonstrations demanding the commutation of the execution, but Franco stayed firm and did not concede. Puig Antich, then 25 years old, was executed by garrote in a cell of the central Barcelona prison (La Model) on 2 March 1974 at 09:40.
Along with the execution of Heinz Chez on the same day, this was the last use of the garrote as a method of execution in Spain.