Luis Carrero Blanco

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The Most Excellent
The Duke of Carrero Blanco
GE OCIII OIC
Fotografía del vicepresidente del gobierno el almirante Luis Carrero Blanco hablando con una autoridad militar (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister of Spain
In office
9 June 1973 – 20 December 1973
Leader Francisco Franco
Vice President Torcuato Fernández-Miranda
Preceded by Francisco Franco
Succeeded by Torcuato Fernández-Miranda
First Vice President of the Government
In office
22 July 1967 – 9 June 1973
President Francisco Franco
Preceded by Agustín Muñoz Grandes
Succeeded by Torcuato Fernández-Miranda
Procurador at the Cortes Españolas
In office
16 March 1943 – 24 March 1946
Nominated by Francisco Franco
Personal details
Born Luis Carrero Blanco
(1904-03-04)4 March 1904
Santoña, Cantabria, Spain
Died 20 December 1973(1973-12-20) (aged 69)
Madrid, Spain
Cause of death Homicide
Resting place Mingorrubio
Nationality Spanish
Political party FET y de las JONS
Spouse(s) María del Carmen Pichot y Villa (1909–1984)
Children 5
Signature
Military service
Allegiance Spain Kingdom of Spain (1918-31)
Spain Second Spanish Republic (1931-36)
Spain Francoist Spain (1936-73)
Service/branch  Spanish Navy
Years of service 1918–1973
Rank Capitán-General de la Armada (Captain-General of the Navy)
Battles/wars Rif War
Spanish Civil War

Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, 1st Duke of Carrero Blanco, GE, OCIII, OIC (4 March 1904 – 20 December 1973) was a Spanish Navy officer and politician, who was Prime Minister of Spain from June to December 1973. He fought in the Rif War; in the Spanish Civil War, he supported the Nationalist side, which led Carrero to become one of the prominent political figures of Francoist Spain. He was appointed head of operations at the Navy Defense Staff in August 1939 by Francisco Franco.[1]

Carrero was one of the most powerful people in Spain, being the long-time confidant and right-hand man of Franco. Throughout his career, he held many political offices. From his position of Sub-Secretary of the Presidency, he collaborated with Franco in solving the internal conflicts of the successive cabinets. After being appointed Deputy Prime Minister, Carrero ended up succeeding Franco as head of government in June 1973, due to Franco's debilitating health.

In 1973, Carrero was killed by Basque nationalist terrorist group Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) while returning from a mass in his Dodge Dart. A bomb had been placed underground and detonated when his car passed through. Several years later, the Duke of Veragua, a personal friend of Carrero, would also be murdered by the organization while travelling by car. Carrero's assassination is considered to be the biggest attack against the Francoist State since the end of the Spanish Civil War in 1939.

Early life

He was born on 4 March 1904 in Santoña, Cantabria. He entered the Escuela Naval Militar, the Spanish naval academy, in 1918 at the age of 14 and participated in the Rif War of 1924–1926.

In 1929, he married María del Carmen Pichot y Villa (d. 1984) and he had five children.[2]

Civil War

In July 1936, when the Spanish Civil War erupted, he found himself behind the coalescing Republican line. Taking refuge in the embassy of Mexico and later that of France, he was able to cross the front and reach the Nationalist side in June 1937. Carrero Blanco then served in the Nationalist navy. After the Nationalist victory and subsequent installation of Generalísimo Franco as Caudillo of Spain, Carrero Blanco became one of his closest collaborators as well as chief of naval operations.

Franco supporter

He is said to have opposed Spain entering World War II on the side of the Axis powers, a notably different political position compared to some other Falangists. He himself was a monarchist. Devoted to the Roman Catholic Church, he was close to Opus Dei. In 1951 he was closely involved in the production of the film Dawn of America, a patriotic work portraying Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas. Carrero Blanco worked on the screenplay of the film, which was strongly supported by the government for its nationalist theme.

With the infusion of American capital in the 1950s, the state's policies were liberalized, but authoritarian control remained. The Falange syndicalists resisted the economic opening of Spain to capitalistic influences, and the technocrats of Opus Dei "de-emphasized the role of the syndicates and favored increased competition as a means of achieving rapid economic growth. The technocrats prevailed, and members of Opus Dei assumed significant posts in Franco's 1957 cabinet." [1].

Carrero Blanco, without explicitly supporting political liberalization, aspired to economic integration with European markets. He became a minister in Spain in 1957.

Carrero Blanco was made vice-admiral (1963) and admiral in 1966. He was vice-president of the state council from 1967 to 1973.

His zenith came on 8 June 1973, when being named the Prime Minister of Spain and made a top deputy to Franco. It seemed as though it was only a matter of time before he would succeed the ailing Franco.

Assassination

Memorial plaque at the place of the assassination of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco.

Six months after being named prime minister, Carrero Blanco was assassinated on 20 December 1973 in Madrid by four Basque members of ETA, who carried out a bombing near the San Francisco de Borja church in the calle de Serrano while he returned from Mass in a Dodge 3700.

In a collective interview justifying the attack, the ETA bombers said:

"The execution in itself had an order and some clear objectives. From the beginning of 1951 Carrero Blanco practically occupied the government headquarters. Carrero Blanco symbolized better than anyone else the figure of "pure Francoism" and without totally linking himself to any of the Francoist tendencies, he covertly attempted to push Opus Dei into power. A man without scruples conscientiously mounted his own State within the State: he created a network of informers within the Ministries, in the Army, in the Falange, and also in Opus Dei. His police managed to put themselves into all the Francoist apparatus. Thus he made himself the key element of the system and a fundamental piece of the oligarchy's political game. On the other hand, he came to be irreplaceable for his experience and capacity to manoeuvre and because nobody managed as he did to maintain the internal equilibrium of Francoism." —Julen Agirre, Operation Ogro: The Execution of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco[3]

In his first speech to the Cortes on 12 February 1974, Carrero Blanco's successor as prime minister Carlos Arias Navarro, promised liberalizing reforms including the right to form political associations. Though he was denounced by fascists, the transition had begun.

Reprisals

One of the members of the ETA cell who had assassinated Carrero Blanco was himself assassinated by a car bomb in southern France on 21 December 1978 by a Spanish right-wing group organized from inside the Navy (including one member of the CESID secret service, another of the Servicio de Inteligencia Naval and the other belonging to the Alto Estado Mayor). It received assistance from former OAS member Jean-Pierre Cherid, former Argentine Anticommunist Alliance Argentine member José María Boccardo and Italian neofascist Mario Ricci, member of Avanguardia Nazionale.[citation needed]

Argala, as the ETA member was known, was the only one who could identify the mysterious man who handed Carrero Blanco's schedule and itinerary to the ETA. According to Leonidas, a former member of the Spanish Army who participated in the bombing against Argala, "The explosives came from a US base. I don't remember with exactitude if it was from Torrejón or Rota, but I do know that the Americans did not know what they would be used for. It was a personal favour they made to Pedro el Marino" (aka Pedro Martínez) who provided the explosives.[4] Argala's assassination was claimed by the Batallón Vasco Español (BVE). However, according to Leonidas, "BVE, ATE (Anti-Terrorismo ETA) or "Triple A" are only labels of convenience that are used by the same group.[5]

References

  1. ^ (Suárez Fernández & Espadas Burgos, p. 76)
  2. ^ Luis Carrero Blanco, 1. duque de Carrero Blanco (in Spanish)
  3. ^ Julen Agirre, translated by Barbara Probst Solomon (1975). Operation Ogro: The Execution of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco. Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Company. ISBN 0-8129-0552-0. "La ejecución en sí tenía un alcance y unos objetivos clarísimos. A partir de 1951 Carrero ocupó prácticamente la jefatura del Gobierno en el Régimen. Carrero simbolizaba mejor que nadie la figura del «franquismo puro» y sin ligarse totalmente a ninguna de las tendencias franquistas, solapadamente trataba de empujar al Opus Dei al poder. Hombre sin escrúpulos, montó concienzudamente su propio Estado dentro del Estado: creó una red de informadores dentro de los Ministerios, del Ejército, de la Falange y aun dentro del Opus Dei. Su policía logró meterse en todo el aparato franquista. Así fue convirtiéndose en el elemento clave del sistema y en una pieza fundamental del juego político de la oligarquía. Por otra parte llegó a ser insustituible por su experiencia y capacidad de maniobra y porque nadie lograba como él mantener el equilibrio interno del franquismo […]"
  4. ^ elmundo.es: "«Yo maté al asesino de Carrero Blanco»", 21 Dec 2003
  5. ^ Argala, Jose Miguel Beñaran Ordeñana Archived 12 June 2007 at the Wayback Machine.

Bibliography

  • Suárez Fernández, Luis; Espadas Burgos, Manuel (1991). La época de Franco. Historia general de España y América XIX (2). Madrid: Ediciones Rialp. 
  • Julen Agirre; Operation Ogro: The Execution of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco; Quadrangle; ISBN 0-8129-0552-0
  • Javier Tusell: "Carrero, eminencia gris del régimen de Franco" (Carrero, éminence grise of Franco´s regime), Temas de Hoy, 1993, 478 págs., [32] págs. de lám.; 23 cm, Serie: Grandes temas; 18

External links

  • BBC account of Luis Carrero Blanco assassination
  • Carrero y Arias
  • U.S. Library of Congress, "Policies, Programs, and Growing Popular Unrest"
  • Article about the assassination of Luis Carrero Blanco and its impact
Political offices
Preceded by
Francisco Franco Bahamonde
Coat of arms of Spain (1945–1977).svg
President of the Government of Spain

1973
Succeeded by
Torcuato Fernández-Miranda (acting)
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