Stealing cash or papers from the field 156: the motive for the assault on the Central Bank of Barcelona, ​​an enigma 40 years later

On May 23, 1981, three months after the 23F coup try, the younger Spanish democracy held its breath earlier than a brand new siege. A complete of 300 hostages, 263 of them workers, had been held in a theft on the Central Bank of Barcelona. The captors demanded compromising paperwork relating to the occasions of February 23; The negotiation with the safety forces and the federal government of Calvo Sotelo lasted 37 hours and ended with the discharge of all of the hostages, the arrest of 10 assailants and a robber killed by the GEO. Four many years later, the true motives for the assault stay a thriller. Mar Padilla publishes, with Assault on the Central Bank (Editorial Prensa del KO), one of many few journalistic investigations that exist on this episode of the Transition.

Padilla has had 80 testimonies for this: hostages, cops, journalists and the ringleader of the theft himself, José Juan Padilla, often called ‘El Rubio’ or ‘Number 1’.

Question: What led you to write down about this mysterious episode of the Transition?

Answer: I studied Anthropology and the Transition period has all the time me. In the 12 months 81 I used to be a pre-adolescent, I used to be 13 years previous and I bear in mind 23F completely. On the opposite hand, from the assault on the Central Bank I bear in mind the photographs that TVE confirmed of the hostages who had been run over and the big police drive. I’m from Barcelona and I’ve handed many instances in entrance of the constructing that housed the Central Bank, it’s in Plaza Catalunya, and I all the time puzzled concerning the unknowns of what occurred. I used to be shocked that that they had barely investigated the case whereas there are tons of of works on 23F.

Q: What do you suppose is the rationale for this lack of analysis?

A: The coup try was very spectacular and vital within the historical past of the Transition. The financial institution theft got here three months later at a really turbulent time. The similar journalists have informed me that they spent months attempting to elucidate what had occurred, they put groups to analyze however nothing was clear. In the tip, the notion remained that it was a standard crime, a narrative of cops and robbers. But it was an episode that affected civilians, the federal government entered into negotiations nevertheless it might, it was a tragedy in modern historical past and the true causes have remained a pending challenge.

An armed sniper guards subsequent to a subway exit. In the picture, a member of the National Police, stationed subsequent to the subway stairs in Plaza de Catalunya, in entrance of the Central Bank. Eph/

Q: Various hypotheses have been thought-about concerning the causes for the assault. Which ones do you defend after finishing your investigation?

A: For me the tried theft of cash could be very clear, along with the truth that the police discovered cash saved within the lodge subsequent to the financial institution. And many instances the obvious idea is probably the most correct. The group, made up of 11 folks, had been financial institution robbers and had been chasing loot.

Then there may be the idea of political destabilization, which was greater than fulfilled. Ronald Reagan had simply develop into president of the United States and was within the state of affairs of Spanish democracy. So did François Mitterrand. The query is whether or not the destabilization was sought or not.

The third idea is that Lieutenant General Manglano, director of Cesid between 1981 and 1995, commissioned the theft as a smoke display in order that they may steal some paperwork on 23F from the secure 156, which included the names of all these concerned. . José Juan Martínez affirms that that is the case however doesn’t present proof. It is tough for him to imagine the character and the particular person, however in such an odd second and so fragile for democracy, nothing may be dominated out.

Q: Did you handle to interview the so-called ‘El rubio’ or Number 1′, José Juan Martínez, the ringleader of the assault. How was the contact?

A: The writer accepted the mission in December 2019 and as a way to transfer ahead it needed to interview José Juan Martínez. I bought it in February 2020 and I knew I might write the e book. I discovered a biography of him in a second-hand bookstore in Barcelona’s Raval, ‘Some name him El Rubio’, written by Law professor Juan M. Velázquez, and I discovered the biography fascinating. The assault is just one a part of his life trajectory. I contacted the professor to ask for his contact data and José Juan agreed to talk with me. I traveled to San Sebastián and he collaborated from the primary second.

In the picture, members of the GEO through the launch of the final hostages in one of many corners of Las Ramblas, after a powerful rescue operation.In the picture, members of the GEO through the launch of the final hostages in one of many corners of Las Ramblas, after a powerful rescue operation. Eph/

A: He likes to elucidate what occurred in these days. He has a really up-to-date biography of this nation. As a younger man he determined to be a prison. He fell in love with the concepts of anarchism however adopted his skilled profession as a financial institution robber. He has devoted himself to all of them his life and has accepted the principles of the sport, going to jail after they caught him. In late Francoism he was very younger and suffered some torture, so he was in communion with anarchist concepts. He was an individual with a sensible, road intelligence. He led the assault on the Central Bank when he was solely 25 years previous. Some hostages say that he was a bit cocky however they haven’t spoken badly.

A: He has been free for some time, he completed some pending group work. He lives in Guipúzcoa and has a part of the household in Catalonia. He comes now and again.

Q: Despite being linked to anarchism, you had been linked to sections of the acute proper within the Civil Guard. Did these contacts exist or did he benefit from the psychosis of 23F to realize credibility within the financial institution theft?

A: He maintains that he was commissioned by the key companies. It’s a cloudy spot. It could also be that José Juan, as a road prison, had connections with members of the safety forces and these, in flip, shaped a part of the teams most reluctant to implement democracy. He denies the connection with the acute proper however we can not ignore that there have been exchanges of favors with some members of the safety forces.

They mentioned they had been going to explode your complete constructing, they clothed it with political motion and the negotiation was utterly completely different.

Q: In the primary assertion they despatched through the assault, they requested for his or her launch. They demanded “cleanse Spain of a lot filth and finish crimson terrorism”, they demanded a airplane for Antonio Tejero (the lieutenant colonel of the Civil Guard who led the entry into Congress on 23F) and three different troopers, and one other for them or they threatened with blowing up the constructing, and ended with a “Long stay Spain!”. Why was that message issued then?

A: They launched this relationship with the 23F coup try however it’s unknown whether it is true or not. In truth, the Government requested Tejero that he was in jail, and he contemptuously denied such a relationship. It was years later when José Juan Martínez defined the reference to the key companies. It is unknown if he wished to present himself extra significance by stating that the assault was commissioned by the key companies. As a financial institution robber, you already know that the way in which you may be handled is completely different for those who hyperlink it to a political motion. They mentioned that they had been going to explode your complete constructing, they clothed it with political motion and the negotiation was utterly completely different.

Q: Was it a well-prepared assault or off-the-cuff?

A: From what the testimonies have defined, the concept was good however it was not effectively ready. The instruments they carried could not pierce partitions, they used planes that did not match. They had an unshielded basement as a result of it was once a part of a lodge, however when it was transformed right into a financial institution, that house was shielded. They sinned innocently or that they had the phantasm of considering that they would depart with the loot.

Q: You say {that a} hostage met a captor on a terrace they usually ended up speaking about their kids. Stockholm Syndrome or much less reckless assault for insiders?

A: We are used to the violence of the flicks and different issues is actuality. José Juan has no prison report. His modus vivendi was financial institution theft however he was not a sadist. In truth, to ensure that the police to imagine they had been critical, they shot one of many hostages within the leg and selected a powerful younger man. He needed to present that he was able to hurting.

With all of the hostages contained in the financial institution, the notion between one another was very completely different

Q: In addition to the captors, you may have spoken with dozens of hostages. What has shocked you most about his testimonials?

A: When everybody was contained in the financial institution, the notion of one another was very completely different. Jordi Mas informed me that it was a easy theft and he by no means believed the reference to the acute proper. On the opposite hand, one other hostage, Teresa Vallisa, who was a militant of the acute left, affirms that they had been members of the acute proper.

I used to be additionally shocked by the democratic second. Two financial institution staff with whom I spoke had come to work as a part of their political motion, to persuade their colleagues of their battle. Then they saved working and retired as financial institution staff. The disappointment they skilled is frequent. With Franco’s loss of life, the sensation of freedom was very robust, there was a variety of enthusiasm for getting issues achieved. From the 12 months 79, disenchantment gained floor, along with a serious financial disaster.

Q: Did José Juan Martínez cost for the theft?

A: The assailants didn’t take a penny and went to jail. He says that he charged for the order and that he was paid in an account that he had in Switzerland, however he doesn’t present any proof. He says that he already spent the cash.

A: It is silent about an important factor: to what extent the CESID fee is true and if there may be proof.