TWENTY YEARS in Franco’s Jails. An Anarchist In Franco’s Prisons

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JUAN BUSQUETS VERGES was only 21 when he was arrested for his activities with the anti-Francoist urban and rural anarchist guerrillas in 1949. He was among the few fortunates to have his death sentence commuted to one of life imprisonment. Busquets made a number of attempts to escape, the final one, ending with him falling 30 feet and breaking his leg. Remaining quiet and unseen he crawled to a ditch where he lay in agony until the morning when the guards found him. They battered him with the butts of their rifles until he was unconscious, breaking his nose as well as his leg, and kept him for two months, without treatment, in solitary confinement.
Born into an anarcho-syndicalist family in Catalonia, a region of Spain in which — at the time – around three-quarters of the workers were unionised in the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), the injustices and provocations of everyday life in Franco’s Spain were equally important in awakening Busquets’ irrepressible rebellious spirit. However, it was not until he moved to the French mining town of Cransac and met the young anarchist coalminers that he became more deeply involved in raising financial and moral support for those still struggling inside Spain against Francoism. Fund-raising proved not to be enough and Busquets made contact with the rural guerrilla leader Marcelino Massana at a small Toulouse hotel located near the offices of the Intercontinental Committee of the CNT. Massana tried to talk the young Busquets out of his plan, but to no avail …

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JUAN BUSQUETS VERGES was only 21 when he was arrested for his activities with the anti-Francoist urban and rural anarchist guerrillas in 1949. He was among the few fortunates to have his death sentence commuted to one of life imprisonment. Busquets made a number of attempts to escape, the final one, ending with him falling 30 feet and breaking his leg. Remaining quiet and unseen he crawled to a ditch where he lay in agony until the morning when the guards found him. They battered him with the butts of their rifles until he was unconscious, breaking his nose as well as his leg, and kept him for two months, without treatment, in solitary confinement. Born into an anarcho-syndicalist family in Catalonia, a region of Spain in which — at the time – around three-quarters of the workers were unionised in the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), the injustices and provocations of everyday life in Franco’s Spain were equally important in awakening Busquets’ irrepressible rebellious spirit. However, it was not until he moved to the French mining town of Cransac and met the young anarchist coalminers that he became more deeply involved in raising financial and moral support for those still struggling inside Spain against Francoism. Fund-raising proved not to be enough and Busquets made contact with the rural guerrilla leader Marcelino Massana at a small Toulouse hotel located near the offices of the Intercontinental Committee of the CNT. Massana tried to talk the young Busquets out of his plan, but to no avail …