The execution of Salvador Puig Antich
A dictionary of Spanish history and culture
Salvador Puig Antic and the last use of the garrotte
Salvador Puig Antich
The last use of the garrotte was on 2nd March 1974 when Salvador Puig Antich in Barcelona and Heinz Chez in Tarragona were executed by this particularly medieval method, despite a huge international campaign. See also The death penalty in Spain
In the early 1970s, MIL (Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación), a left-wing group made up of a handful of young Spanish and French militants carried out a series of bank robberies in Catalonia to raise money for the more combative elements of the workers’ movement. Finally, in September 1973 the Spanish police set a trap for two of the group’s militants. In the ensuing shoot-out, a young police inspector was killed. Salvador Puig Antich was seriously injured and, after a spell in hospital, was sent to the Modelo prison in Barcelona to await court martial. Meanwhile, on 20 December 1973, ETA assassinated the president of Franco’s government, Admiral Carrero Blanco. Elements of the Franco regime, thirsty for revenge looked to Salvador Puig Antich as a scapegoat The court martial against him was a farce, and he was finally executed by garrotte on 2 March 1974. On the day of the execution, parts of Barcelona was paralysed by a general strike in protest. Plastic bullets were fired on several occasions.
The decision to kill Puig on the same day as Heinz, who had been convicted of common murder, was a clear attempt by the Franco regime to confuse the two crimes in the public mind.
The death of Puig Antic was made into a film in 2006 (Salvador Puig Antich – the film).
Trailer of the film:
However, the portrayal of Puig has been slated by anarchist groups.
This is not the tale of Salvador Puig Antich
We are served up a slick, commercial soap opera – a rear tear-jerker of a movie. A laughable fictional melodrama, run-of-the-mill stuff. A slick action movie that blinds us to the real history of Salvador and so many others and above all to the whys and wherefores and targets of their struggles. We are shielded from the circumstances, political activity and purposes behind the expropriations and the political and revolutionary awakening that stretches over a lengthy career of struggle. How was the MIL born and for what purpose? Its connections with the workers’ movement’s most radical struggles. There is no reference to those struggles not even to the final one, in the wake of the execution, when the biggest factories in Barcelona and district shut down and thousands of workers demonstrated, with hundreds arrested on the Ramblas. (From The Great Swindle: ‘This is not the tale of Salvador Puig Antich’)
- Salvador Puig Antic (Wikipedia – English)