Salvador Puig Antich (2006)

 

 

 

Director:     Manuel Huerga.

Starring:    Daniel Brühl (Salvador Puig Antich),  Tristán Ulloa (Oriol Arau),  Leonardo Sbaraglia (Jesús),  Joel Joan (Oriol),  Celso Bugallo (Pare Salvador),  Mercedes Sampietro (Mare Salvador),  Olalla Escribano (Imma),  Carlota Olcina (Carme),  Bea Segura (Montse),  Andrea Ros (Merçona),  Jacob Torres (Petit),  Pablo Derqui (Jordi),  Oriol Vila (Ignasi),  Simon Bellouard (Sebas),  William Miller (Cri-Cri).

no English options; the only subtitles are Spanish subtitles for the Catalan Spanish when the Catalans speak their language

based on the life of the last person executed by the garrote under Francisco Franco

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film. 

"In the last years of the dictatorship of Gen. Franco there was produced in Spain an ascent, without precedents, of social conflict.  The repression of the regime resulted in thousands of political prisoners and dozens of dead students and workers.   his film is based on the true story of one of those young people that, in a time and in a country in which the entire world lived kneeling down, he dared to live without fear."

Barcelona, Spain September 25, 1973.  Lots of men are smoking in a bar.  They look very tense.  They are waiting for someone or someones.  A car pulls up and lets a young man out.  The man sitting next to a fellow known as Petit holds a gun on him warning him not to tip off the young man coming into the bar.  They start to grab the young fellow when he realizes that something is wrong and bolts out the door and away from the men trying to grab him.  There are, however, other policemen outside the bar and one of them trips student radical Puig Antich.  Several cops grab him and pull him to a standing position.  Now they push the fellow's head into a glass window, breaking the glass.  They then take him into a building and several shots are fired. 

Another young fellow is brought into the hospital emergency room, covered in blood.  Who shot this man who is a member of the Guardia Civil?  We couldn't see who actually did the shooting.  Was it the cops who in the confusion shot the Guardia Civil?  Was it Puig Antich?  Or another student radical?   The main doctor examines the patient and says that the fellow is dead.  Now Puig Antich is brought into the emergency room.  One of the policemen wants to shoot him on the gurney, but another cop stops him from doing it.  The policeman with the gun gets disgusted and walks out. 

The emergency doctor recognizes the patient.  He says it's Salvador Puig Antich.  The doctors pull a bullet out of the anarchist.  He throws it into a stainless steel bowel, but it pops out of there and lands on the floor.  The police head grabs the bullet and keeps it.

Puig Antich is taken to a prison.  A prisoner who doesn't move fast enough gets slapped hard and he falls to the floor.  The guard then kicks the fellow while he's down.  Another guard says the new prisoner is a son of a bitch who killed a policeman.  Puig Antich is placed in his cell. 

Puig Antich's family start talking about Puig Antich.  He is in isolation.  Family can visit him but for only 20 minutes at a time on Wednesdays and Saturdays. 

Four sisters come to visit their brother.  He says he's sorry for having gotten himself in a real mess.  They ask how he is and brother says he's hungry.  They also tell him that they went to the clinic, but the police wouldn't let them go in.  Nor would they say where their brother was.  He says he was handcuffed to his hospital bed.  They interrogated him right there.  Puig Antich goes on to say that he only wanted to escape from the police, but they shot him anyways. 

A guard comes up behind Salvador and tells everyone that they must speak in Spanish. 

Puig Antich gets to speak with his lawyer who says that the anarchist is in serious trouble. 

Flashback.  The police throw a 20 year old student off the roof and he smashes onto the concrete below.  The dictatorship imposes martial law on the country.  Salvador packs up his things and says goodbye to his mother.  She tells him to be careful and don't get into any trouble. 

The students stage a protest in the streets.  Puig Antich and some of his friends join in.  They throw leaflets up into the air.  They stop a car and then turn it over.  The police push them back.  They then fire tear gas into the crowd of protesting students.  Someone from the protesting crowd throws a Molotov cocktail at the police.  The police now charge the protestors.  The police beat the hell out of the people they catch. 

Some of the radicals meet in a bar.  What should be their next step?  The gathering of weapons?  One fellow says they should go to southern France and talk with those already in exile.  There they can organize a radical group of exiles.  They ask Puig Antich, but he has nothing to suggest.  The guys get a good laugh out of this.

His girlfriend Cuca comes to the bar and Puig Antich goes over to see her.  She suggests they go see a movie because they are playing "The Graduate".  Holding up car keys, he tells her they could listen to music.  She says she does not want to go to the car because she knows what will happen.  He suggests that she's too repressed.  She says when they actually have sex, it will be when both people want to have sex.  She's not in the mood.  He says she's a traditionalist. She tells him all he cares about is having sex.  She leaves. 

Back to the present.  Puig Antich tells his lawyer that maybe Cuca was right.  Meanwhile he talks with his group of Petit, Jordi, Chavi and Navi.  They discuss robbing banks.  Later they are joined by Sebas and some others.  They bring a lot of books to the meeting, along with a pistol.  Puig Antich picks up the pistol and seems to approve of the new weapon.  And so begins the transformation from a group of friends to comrades in arms.

Puig Antich goes along with the idea of robbing banks to help the cause.  He is the driver.  His first action was in Nataro.  Two guys go to the bank, but very quickly return to the car.  They are a little too early.  The bank is not quite open.  So the guys go into a cafe to drink some coffee.  When the bank opens, the two guys go in.  The guys are really amateurs.  The fellow who is supposed to read the note to the tellers and others, flubs it up.  His partner starts laughing and then the note reader starts laughing.  Now both of them are laughing.  They laugh as they grab the money and they laugh themselves out of the bank and into the get-away car. 

When the whole gang gets together, they all laugh at the funny things that happen when one steals from banks. 

Puig Antich calls home and gets his young sister on the phone.  She says she's in her pajamas and he tells her to come downstairs just as she is.  She hangs up the phone.  She does go downstairs and sees her brother waiting in a car.  She runs over to the car and gets inside.  She tells her brother that he doesn't look like himself.  He looks like someone in the Mafia, she says.  She asks him isn't he afraid of being caught?  He says they'll never catch him.  He gives her some money and then leaves. 

Some of the radicals break into a gun shop to steal weapons.  In addition, they steal three delivery trucks.

They crank out their own magazine and even books.  Their logo is a center circle with "MIL" written on it.  This circle is contained within a larger circles.  Between the outer edge and the center circle are the words:  GRUPOS AUTONOMOS DE COMBATE (autonomous combat groups).   A 16 year old girl says she wants to join the combat arm of the group.  No, no. 

The group goes to rob the Hispanic-American Bank.  The guys don't say they rob banks.  Rather they are practicing a bit of expropriation of ill-gotten gains.  The guys are in the bank a long time.  Puig Antich sees two plain clothes policemen heading over to the bank.  He pulls up his car a ways, jumps out and starts a fire-fight with the cops.  A radical in the bank starts shooting at the cops.  Another of the radicals shoots a man in the bank and shocks both himself and his close buddy.  They start to leave the bank but see that the fire-fight is still going hot and heavy.  So one puts an automatic weapon together and lets loose on the police.  This keeps the policemen down so the radicals can jump into the get-away car and drive away. 

Back at one of their hiding places, a radical says to one of the bank robbers that by now the police should already have the license number of the get-away car.  This makes the bank robber mad and he says that the other fellow never has had the guts to go in and rob a bank.  The two separate still disapproving of each other. 

The gang pulls off another robbery. 

Puig Antich visits with Cuca.  Her boyfriend is serving his military training in the Canary Islands.  Puig Antich asks her if she has gotten any telegram from France for him?  Cuca is puzzled by this question.  Puig Antich says it's just that he is always moving around from place to place.  She asks why doesn't he use his family's address instead of hers to received telegrams meant for Salvador?  He says all he is asking for is for her to do him this favor. 

Cuca talks with one of her friends.  She says that Salva is trying to turn her into a good whore.  What do you mean?  July 21.  "I remember it as if it happened yesterday."  At the behest of Salvador, she calls Salva saying she has something for him.  Salvador thanks her and asks when will she marry?  Next month.  She shows him the lingerie she is going to wear on her wedding night.  Salva says Toni is one lucky fellow.  Now she asks Salva if he will go with her to Sant Cugat?  She is going to need some help carrying packages.  And she will show Salva the flat where she will be living. 

She shows him the kitchen, the bathroom and then the bedroom.  She asks him if he is in a political party?  He says not exactly, but why does she ask?  Having people send telegrams to her address that are really supposed to go to his address.  That's just not normal, she says.  "You're not fooling me."   She says that when she moves into the new flat with her husband, she doesn't want telegrams meant for Salva coming to her apartment.  He agrees and tells her not to worry.  They almost kiss.

Back to the present.  The lawyer asks Salvador is he saying that nothing happened between the two of them?  Salva says if something had happened, he wouldn't be in his current situation now. 

Flashback.  Salva goes to a pool hall where the guys are hanging out.  He tells a comrade that Oriol has already left.  Salva becomes hyper while playing foosball.  His grunts disturb the owner and after an exchange of words the owner throws Salva out.  The guys talk at a bar over drinks.  The fellow says that Petit is right.  We are going to France with Oriol.  And what did Salva do with the bag? 

The police look through Salva's bag.  They find his passport, extra bullets, a loaded pistol and some money. 

At night the police come to pay a visit on Cuca.  They ask her if she knows Salvador Puig Antich?  Yes.  They ask when was the last time she saw him and where is he living?  She says saw him very recently and that she doesn't know where he is living.  They find a large bullet and Cuca says that belongs to her fiancé.  Salva, they ask?  No, Toni.  Toni?  He's doing his military training now.  The head policeman shows her a telegram and asks her if she recognizes it?  She says Salva was using her address for his friends to send telegrams to him.  The police find an address and a telephone number.  Cuca made a call to that number for Salva,. 

After talking with Cuca, the police try to catch Salva and the other radicals.  They go to the place where they publish their magazine and run off leaflets.  They find the radical literature, some weapons and some ammunition. 

The man in charge of catching the radicals has had Cuca come to the police station.  He wants more information from her.  They want to know a lot more information out of her, but she really doesn't know very much as she had not seen Salva for quite awhile before his most recent visit.  She tells them that she doesn't know the number of radicals in the group.  When they don't get answers they start getting very nasty toward Cuca.  They raise their voice, get their faces right up against her face, slam on the table and use some curse words. 

After three days, they finally let Cuca go.  She knows that her telephone is bugged.  And there's been no trace of Salva, that is, until the day of her wedding.  He phones her, but doesn't say anything at first, but Cuca knows it's Salva.  He meets her at a place where no one will hear their conversation.  They say goodbye to each other.  That was the last time she talked with him. 

Back to the present.   Salva's lawyer is very pessimistic about Salva's chances to escape a harsh sentence.  He keeps saying the they are screwed because they have so little, so far, to help Salva's case.  Salva asks the lawyer if he has heard anything from his girl.  Cuca?  No.  Agalida. 

Flashback.  Salva goes to France.  He does not seem to be having much luck recruiting Spanish refugees in France.  One night the radicals go to a night club.  There's a young woman there who keeps looking over at Salva.  And Salva keeps looking at her.  He gets some drinks and goes over to sit with the woman. 

Later Salva goes with the woman to her apartment.  She says she lives with a girlfriend.  He says he too lives with people.  He dresses up in sun glasses and some of the woman's clothing accessories.  The woman laughs at the sight of him.  They listen to a song in English.  She asks him about his sign.  Salva refers to all that kind of stuff as nonsense.  She says it's not.  We are influenced by the stars.  She says he is a Gemini and he asks so what are the Geminis like?  She gives a lot of characteristics of a Gemini, many of which apply to Salva. 

They are sitting on the floor and the woman is rolling a marijuana cigarette.  She starts sharing it with Salva.  As he takes several drags on the cigarette, she takes off her skirt and sits back down.  They kiss.  They take off all their clothes and start making love.  (Brief nudity) 

Back to the present.  Salva plays basketball by himself in one of the prison courtyards. 

Flashback.  At home Salva's young sister defends her brother against the charges her two friends level at him.  The friends are interestied in learning more about Salva and the sister feeds them with a lot of information..  Does he have a girlfriend?  He has all that he wants.

One of the former radicals, the one that spoke about the police finding out the license plate number of the get-away car, berates Salva's lawyer in a bar.  He doesn't like the lawyer taking the case of a cop killer.  The guy really bugs the hell out of the lawyer and he tries to indicate to the fellow that he can't talk about the case with him.  The guy can't take a hint.  The lawyer gets thoroughly disgusted, pays his bar tab and starts to leave.  The ex-radical says that one cannot go around just killing people.  The lawyer tells him to tell that to Franco. 

The radicals watch the news on TV about the overthrow of the Chilean government of Allende by a U.S.-backed military coup.  Allende is killed in the coup.  Salva gets very agitated and leaves the room.  He goes for a motorcycle drive.  He goes to see Agalida.  She tells him maybe they could live up in the mountains.  They could have some chickens and some children.  She wants four children.  But before all that she wants to go to Goa, to India.  They speak Portuguese in Goa.  She says they say it's paradise there. 

He asks her to get him some tobacco out of his bag.  She grabs the bag and finds a pistol inside.  She asks him what has he done?  He says nothing that he would apologize for. 

A couple of radicals want to rob a bank near the border with France.  Salva says that the border is watched now more than ever.  The main spokesman says they need money for new weapons.  So just three fellows put their own plan into action.

And now we see the two of the radicals running for their lives, while being fired at by the Guardia Civil.  The mastermind of the plan is captured and then another radical gives himself up.  The guy that surrendered is knocked unconscious by the commandant of the Guardia Civil and another fellow. 

The police start picking up radicals now.  Salva's girlfriend is picked up.  Petit is picked up.  A trap is set up for the radicals.

Salva gets out of the car and starts to walk into a cafe in order to see Petit.  Another radical is about to also go inside.  The police grab the radical just behind Salva and in the confusion Salva breaks free and starts running.  He is tripped by a policeman.  The police bring the two radicals inside an apartment building and start beating them up.  They were so eager to beat up the radicals that they forget to frisk Salva.  He gets away from the police and grabs his pistol from behind his back.  Twisting his body around to face the police, he falls backward on some stairs.  A police officer named Paquito is going to fire his weapon when he seems to get shot, perhaps by Salva.  Another policeman, who is holding the other radical down, fires at Salva, but the bullet hits Paquito in his right side. The wounded officer cries out in pain. 

Salva fires his weapon.  A policeman next to the wounded officer is hit.  Salva fires again.  The policeman who wounded Paquito fires his weapon again.  The already wounded police officer is again hit, probably by Salva's third shot.  Blood splashes out from his back.  Salva fires a fourth shot and the twice wounded officer is hit again.  Salva fires his fifth shot and again shoots the thrice wounded officer.  Salva shoots a sixth shot.  The policeman who wounded Paquito shoots Salva.  Then Salva is hit by multiple shots, one of which goes through his left cheek.  The firing now stops since Salva is out of action. 

Back to the present.  Salva's lawyer says a lot of what happened that day will be shown when the autopsy is performed and a ballistics expert reports his conclusions of who shot the various shots.  He then tells Salva that it seems that they are doing alright.   

Salvador's dad visits him in prison. (His father had been involved in radical affairs as a younger man.)  He irritates his father by reciting something Salvador learned as a child about being a good child.  Dad finally says:  "That's enough."  Dad says he has to go. 

A big group of non-prisoners come walking through the prison.  Two guards examine Salvador's cell.  One of the guards harasses Salvador while he's checking the cell.  When the guy puts the letter Salvador wrote to his father into his pocket, Salvador says some nasty remark to the guard.  The guard becomes furious, grabs Salvador by his sweater and shouts at him from very close range.  At least, he doesn't hit Salvador.  He goes back to his office, sits down and starts reading Salvador's letter. 

The quick to anger guard watches Salvador playswith the basketball.  Salvador starts messing with him until the guard agrees to play one on one against him.  The guard makes the shot.  Salvador gets him to go again, but this time Salvador fouls him.  The guard's hat falls off.  He looks extremely angry with Salvador, who acts innocent.  The guard doesn't lose his cool.  He picks his hat up and puts it on a bench.  And now he is really going to play seriously. 

Later the guard comes over to speak with Salvador.  He asks what is he reading?  He's reading Homer's  Iliad.  Salva starts telling him about the fight of the Greeks against the Trojans in Troy.  Then Salvador asks about his children.  The guard says that his son doesn't read very well.  He has dyslexia.  The guard gets irritated with Salva and leaves. 

But Salvador gave the guard something to think about.  He talks about his son's dyslexia with a fellow guard, but the other guard doesn't seem very interested and just lets his colleague keep on talking. 

In the newspaper the news is that the prosecution is asking for two counts of murder for the young Puig Antich. 

A bomb goes off.  The guard is in a cafe when the news breaks on television.  The guard goes to speak with Salva.  He says that Salva should be pretty happy about the news.  But Salva is not happy.  He even calls the bombers sons of bitches.

January 9, 1974.  The trial begins for Salva.  It's a military tribunal so he doesn't stand much of a chance. 

Salva is very depressed about his trial.  If he doesn't get the death penalty, he could get a 30 year sentence behind bars. 

Salva speaks with his youngest sister.  He tells her to close her eyes and pretend they are somewhere else.  She closes her eyes.  Salva asks her where are they?  On the terrace at home.  There with her are mother, Montse, Carme, Imma.  And Kim is there too.  He says that New York is a fabulous place and much bigger than sister can imagine.  He also asks her why does she want to be at home instead of in New York?  She says she wants to be near Salva.  He imagines Barcelona. At the airport, a plane takes off.  He says bye, bye to his sister as she goes to begin her flight to New York.  Little sister asks:  "They're not going to kill you, right?"  He asks her can't she tell that he has been cured?  She says that's true. 

His lawyer gives Salva an open packet of cigarettes.  Inside there is a note that says:  "We know the way. We will do it during the transfer to Madrid."

The lawyer tells one of the rescuers that it's risky to assault the police van.  Salva is afraid that the police will use the opportunity to kill him.  The police know that the radicals will attack, so don't do it. 

Salvador plays basketball with the guard again. He talks to the guard about his family.

The lawyer talks with Salva's family.  He only things he wants sent to the courts are telegrams asking for clemency. Send them to the President of the Courts, to Prince Juan Carlos and to Franco.  Dad says that won't accomplish anything. 

The lawyer later says that old old man was right.  All this doesn't accomplish anything. 

Salva plays chess with the guard, who tells him he just doesn't understand why a young man like Salva would pick up a gun and commit various crimes.  And how did it all end?  In jail. 

One of Salva's sisters visits with the lawyer, who tells her that they have ratified the sentence.  Now only the cabinet ministers must approve it.  The lawyer starts to cry and the sister tells him to quiet down.  She gives him a kiss and tells him not to say anything.

March 1, 1974.  Oriol calls Salva's family.  From the look on mother's face, it must be bad news. 

They are moving Salva elsewhere.  They take him into a room where his lawyer waits for him along with others.  An official is going to read a statement to Salva, but he can't get the words out.  So the lawyer grabs Salva and says everything is ready.  The association of lawyers has made some moves.  Salva signs the document.   His lawyer tells him they will have to jump through hoops, but they will get an exemption.  This gives Salva some hope. 

Many lawyers meet together on Salva's case.  Salva's lawyer says that they only have eight hours left.  He says whoever they can contact in this matter, contact them. 

Salva writes a letter to Kim.  He says the news is simple, condemned to death.  He says he feels disgust. 

Three of his sisters come to see him.  He tells the sisters what the lawyer told him.  They will get an exemption.  The youngest sister was going to come, but her older sisters told her she could not go.  His sisters keep touching his face and periodically they have a group hug. 

The executioner has arrived to set up the garrote.  A group of fellow radicals get upset after they learn that Salva is set for execution in a few hours. 

The sisters and Salva look over some old photographs  of the family.  The lawyer comes in to say that the association lawyers are calling every contact they have.  Some of the people they have called include Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden; Willy Brand,Chancellor of West Germany; and the Pope.  The lawyer says he will return later.  One of the sisters speaks with the lawyer in private.  She asks if it's true that everything is going just fine?  Yes.  The lawyer leaves.

A man comes over to one of the sisters saying that he will explain how the garrote works.  She pulls away from him in disgust.  He tells her anyway saying that her brother's neck vertebrae will be crushed and snapped.  The man looks and sounds like he gets a kick out of telling the sister this. 

The Spanish consulate in Toulouse, France.  Some radicals arrive and they start shooting the windows out of the consulate.  Their bullets break off the Spanish flag from its supports and it falls onto the street. 

The association lawyers are still working away on the phones. 

Salva and his three sisters are laughing together, but one has tears in her eyes.  The guard friend of Salva has to leave the room because it's too emotionally hard on him.  The lawyes makes another appearance and says he would like to talk to Imma.  Imma goes with the lawyer.  The lawyer tells her that the authorities want to know if they have a burial place for Salva?  She looks at the police commandant and calls the police and jailors a punch of sons of bitches. 

Imma returns to her brother and sisters and says it was nothing.  Arau, the lawyer, has half of Barcelona mobilized on Salva's behalf.  The lights flicker and then go out completely.   The guards bring in lanterns.  The sisters immediately ask Imma what is really going on?"  Imma says she doesn't want to cry.  She doesn't want Salva to see her crying.  "They are going to kill him here in a little while."  One of the sisters tries to deny the truth. 

A lot of people have gathered to witness the execution.  The police involved in the capture of Salva are there. 

A priest comes in to visit with Salva.  He asks Salva if there is anything he wants to confess?  Salva says he is at peace.  

March 2, 1974, 7 o'clock in the morning.  Salva's little sister is wide awake just sitting on the edge of her bed.  The priest speaks with the lawyer and the three sisters.  The commandant comes over and tells them all that they should leave.  Arau says he is going to stay.  The sisters tell Salva that they have to leave now.  They will be at a bar waiting.  The sisters hug Salva in a group hug.  They tell him that Arau will be with him.  The sisters leave.  The guard friend keeps his head very low. 

Arau tells Salva that their case is not lost yet.  Something is bound to happen for them.  "But I have to go."  Salva hugs his lawyer tight.  Now there is only the priest for Salva.  Salva's little sister tries to play basketball with the other girls at school, but she keeps thinking about her brother.

It's time. Salva is handcuffed. He has to walk past the policemen that captured him. They look at him but say nothing.  Salva keeps on walking until he sees the garrote. That makes him stop. He says: ˇQué putada!" (What a bugger! as translated into British English).  His breathing speeds up.  The executionrt wants this execution done quickly.  Salva sits down and the steel collar is placed around his neck.  Behind him is the post and then the executioner.  He starts to turn the handle tightening the collar around Salva's neck.  Salva starts to cough and then choke as the collar gets tighter and tighter. 

The executioner stops and Salva's head tilts to one side.  The friend guard gets all upset and curses the commandant, who tells the other men to get him out of here.

Out on the basketball court the youngest sister goes to the ground and sits on the court with her head bowed.  The teacher comes over and asks her what's happening?  The girl says they're killing her brother now.  The teacher asks what then is she doing here?  Run, run, run!  Sister takes off running off the court and keeps running.  As sister runs and runs she thinks about her brother.  She arrives at the jail when a hearse carrying a casket pulls out from the prison.  One of the three older sisters tries to comfort her.  The other two sisters go inside and see their brother's body on a cart. 

At the funeral there were around 1,500 person in attendance.  All of them carried red flowers.  But the police kept the crowd back and allowed only family and close friends to attend the actual ceremony.  They beat and arrested quite a few of the people gathered to see the funeral.  The rest they chased away.

Salvador's family continue fighting for a revision of the process used in Salvador's case. 

 

Guys like Salvador remind me of the turn to violence on the part of the left in the anti-Vietnam War protests in the USA.  The question is what makes them think that these methods can accomplish anything positive?  How can they fight the armed might of an entire country?  A lot of the violent radicals were killed and others wounded.  The idealism turned to bitterness and violence was a common occurrence among radical youth of the protest era. An idealistic fellow like Salvador becomes bitter and starts robbing banks and shooting people. 

Many times the films on the radicals blame the police for what happened, but in this film, it's pretty clear that Salvador was guilty of murder and bank robbery charges and he could have been charged with many other crimes.  The thing that amazed me was that the police did not kill Salvador and avoid having to have a trial.  After all, Spain was under a vicious dictator named Francisco Franco.  And when the case of Salvador started to become an international cause against the application of the death penalty, this only quickened the dictatorship to execute the young fellow.  Perhaps if they had more time, they could have been an avoidance of the death penalty as applied to Salvador.  (But that's all conjecture.  We do know what happened to Salvador.)

There wasn't a fair trial, but in a dictatorship, does anyone get a fair trial?

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


 


Historical Background:

Catalonia is now an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain.  It is comprised of four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona.  Catalonia was colonized by ancient Greeks, but many other groups also came in.

A relatively large sector of the Catalan population supports the ideas and policies of Catalan nationalism (aka Catalanism).  Catalanism believes that Catalonia is a separate nation and advocates for either further political autonomy or full independence of Catalonia from Spain.

1948  --  the future Spanish anarchist Salvador Puig Antich is born in Barcelona, the third child of a family that would have six siblings. 

1960s and beginning of 1970s  --  Salvador was an activist Catalan during this period.

1964 --  from the age of 16, Salvador works in an office and studies at night at the Maragall Institute.  There he became friends with Xavier Garriga and the Solé Sugranyes brothers (Oriol and Ignasi), who would become his comrades in the Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación (The Iberian Liberation Movement) (MIL), an anarchist group fighting against the Franco regime and capitalism.

1968 (May)  --  the demonstrations in France led Puig Antich to participate 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. Soon he became and anarchist.

university studies in economics

military service in Ibiza

He becomes part of the military branch of the MIL, participating in the group's actions, which mostly meant being a driver during bank robberies ("expropriations"). The money gained went to promote the group's underground publications and to support strikers and detained workers.

1973 (August)  --  Salvador reunites in France with other activists to celebrate the congreso de autodisolucion at  a MIL conference.

1973 (September)  --  after an attack on an office of the Savings and Pension Bank of Barcelona "La Caixa", a strong offensive against the MIL begins.

Arrests of Oriol Sole Sugranyes and Josep Lluis Pons Llobet and then Santi Soler.  Santi was interrogated and tortured.  He gives up the secret meeting places of his comrades. Then Soler was used as a trap by plainclothes officers to detain Xavier Garriga and Puig Antich.

1973 (September 25)  --  Barcelona. A shootout occurred in which Puig Antich was badly injured and a young Guardia Civil Francisco Anguas Barragán was killed.

In jail Puig Antich was accused of having fired the shots that killed Anguas Barragán.  He was tried by a court martial and condemned to death.  There were a lot of demonstrations against executing Puig Antich, but Franco would not budge.  Puig Antich and his family held the hope that he would get a pardon

1974 (March 2)  --   25 year old Puig Antich is executed by garrote in a cell of the central Barcelona jail.  Along with the execution of Heinz Chez on the same day, this was the last use of the garrote to execute prisoners in Spain.  

 

 

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