MELCHOR RODRÍGUEZ (‘El Ángel Rojo’) and ‘Los Libertos’

£1.50

A portrait of Melchor Rodríguez García (also known as El Ángel Rojo – Red Angel; 1893, —February 14, 1972), a former bullfighter, was a Spanish anarcho-syndicalist of the CNT – FAI (Iberian Anarchist Federation), and the Director-General of Prisons in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War. He was responsible not only for the prisoners’ security and prevention of escapes, but – more importantly – for preventing their extra-judicial murder by their political opponents and vigilante lynch mobs. The most notable of such incidents happened following an air raid on Alcalá de Henares air base. A group of protesters, some of whom were armed, arrived at the prison, stormed the gates and demanded that the cells be opened and the nationalist prisoners be handed to the crowd. Melchor Rodríguez appeared in the prison, ordered the crowd to disperse and even announced that he would rather arms the prisoners than hand them over to the mob. Among the saved prisoners were rightist General Valentín Gallarza, notable football player Ricardo Zamora, politician Ramón Serrano Súñer, Rafael Sánchez Mazas and Raimundo Fernández-Cuesta. During his term in office, Melchor Rodríguez García also revealed that José Cazorla Maure, a counsellor of state security of the Council of Defence of Madrid organized a net of private, illegal prisons (chekas) run by the Communist Party of Spain. Later in the war he became one of Madrid’s counsellors, on behalf of the Iberian Anarchist Federation, and after the fall of Madrid in 1939, as Mayor, he officially passed the city over to the Francoist victors.

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A portrait of Melchor Rodríguez García (also known as El Ángel Rojo – Red Angel; 1893, —February 14, 1972), a former bullfighter, was a Spanish anarcho-syndicalist of the CNT – FAI (Iberian Anarchist Federation), and the Director-General of Prisons in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War. He was responsible not only for the prisoners’ security and prevention of escapes, but – more importantly – for preventing their extra-judicial murder by their political opponents and vigilante lynch mobs. The most notable of such incidents happened following an air raid on Alcalá de Henares air base. A group of protesters, some of whom were armed, arrived at the prison, stormed the gates and demanded that the cells be opened and the nationalist prisoners be handed to the crowd. Melchor Rodríguez appeared in the prison, ordered the crowd to disperse and even announced that he would rather arms the prisoners than hand them over to the mob. Among the saved prisoners were rightist General Valentín Gallarza, notable football player Ricardo Zamora, politician Ramón Serrano Súñer, Rafael Sánchez Mazas and Raimundo Fernández-Cuesta. During his term in office, Melchor Rodríguez García also revealed that José Cazorla Maure, a counsellor of state security of the Council of Defence of Madrid organized a net of private, illegal prisons (chekas) run by the Communist Party of Spain. Later in the war he became one of Madrid’s counsellors, on behalf of the Iberian Anarchist Federation, and after the fall of Madrid in 1939, as Mayor, he officially passed the city over to the Francoist victors.

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