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First of October Anti-fascist Resistance Group

First of October Anti-fascist Resistance Group

ALTERNATE NAME: GRAPO

LEADER: Manuel Perez Martinez

USUAL AREA OF OPERATION: Spain

OVERVIEW

In 1975, days after Spanish dictator Francisco Franco died, the First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group was formed with the goal to overthrow the transitioning Spanish government and replace it with a communist state. The group, called Grupo de Resistencia Anti-Fascista Primero de Octubre (GRAPO; First of October Anti-fascists Resistance Group), was created as the armed wing of the illegal Communist Party of Spain-Reconstituted. GRAPO has spent the last decades after Francisco's death resisting the democratic changes to the Spanish government through assassinations and bombing of government and political targets, leading to the deaths of eighty-two people. In addition to the creation of a communist state, GRAPO is vehemently opposed to the presence of the U.S. military in Spain. As such, the group has targeted U.S. military personnel and bases. The group is opposed to Spanish membership in both the European Union and NATO. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, GRAPO issued a communiqué in support of the action against the United States. In December 2001, the group was designated for sanctions as a terrorist organization by presidential Executive Order 13224. Since 2001, French and Spanish authorities launched a cooperative effort to seek GRAPO operatives throughout Europe. As a result, twenty-two of its members were arrested. One of the operatives detained and charged was Manuel Perez Martinez. Martinez was identified at the time of his arrest as the leader of GRAPO. Since his conviction for criminal conspiracy with terrorist intent, no replacement leader has been named, and the group has been largely inactive.

HISTORY

In 1975, Spain emerged from the authoritarian regime of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. Franco had ruled the country since the end of the Spanish civil war in 1937. Franco had been chosen by a military junta to rule the country as leader of the Nationalist Party, and in 1947 passed the Law of Succession, which named him ruler for life. Franco never formed a formal constitution and was the final authority over all decisions of state. Blaming the political parties for the chaos that preceded the civil war, Franco outlawed all political parties. The leader moved to create institutions that would maintain his authoritarian system of governing. Those laws, including the Law of Succession, made it possible to create a parliamentary monarchy after his death.

In 1975, Francisco Franco died and his hand-chosen successor assumed power, Juan Carlos Delgado de Codex. By 1976, King Juan Carlos and his prime minister began to make sweeping reforms to the Spanish government, which moved the country toward a democracy. The first free election since the civil war occurred on June 15, 1977. During this time, GRAPO sought to disrupt the transition from an authoritarian state to that of a parliamentary monarchy. The group was founded in 1975 by Juan Carlos Delgado de Codex and declared its goal to be the creation of a Marxist-Leninist state. As the parliamentary monarchy began to take formation in Spain, the group began to seek the overthrow of the Spanish state in order to achieve its political goals.

As the newly emerging Spanish state established foreign relations with Europe and the rest of the world, GRAPO began to strike international targets located within Spain. GRAPO's first action occurred in Madrid on August 2, 1975, as operatives murdered two members of the Spanish Civil Guard. In October 1975, members of GRAPO killed four policemen in Madrid in retaliation for the police execution of two associates of ETA (Basque Fatherland and Liberty) and three of the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces.

In 1977, GRAPO claimed responsibility for an explosion at a German cultural center in Madrid. Another foreign target in Spain was struck by GRAPO in May 1977 as a bomb exploded at the U.S. Information Service and cultural center in Madrid. There were no injuries from the bombing, but it caused extensive damage to the building. In July 1977, a bomb exploded at the French Cultural Institute in Madrid, causing extensive damage to the building and injured two people. The next foreign-based targeting within Spain occurred in February 1979 as a bomb exploded in the basement of the French Embassy in Madrid. In a GRAPO communiqué, the group explained that, "the action is in response to the latest measure adopted by France against Basque refugees in France." Also in 1979, founder Juan Carlos Delgado de Codex was shot and killed during an altercation with police. After Codex's death, Manuel Perez Martinez took control of the group.

GRAPO also targeted foreign businesses in its activities. In April 1979, the group claimed responsibility for an explosion at a Ford Motors showroom in Valencia where thirteen cars were damaged. Another bombing occurred in July 1979 at the newly opened offices of the Banque Nationale de Paris in Madrid; two additional explosive devices were found and detonated by National Police. A GRAPO communiqué expressed that the operation was in retaliation for the deaths, which the group called assassinations, of two leftists in Paris.

The group's activities continued through the next two decades. In June 1995, GRAPO kidnapped Publio Cordon, a businessman. Cordon was never released, even though his family paid the ransom demanded by GRAPO for his return. In 1990, GRAPO embarked on its first international activities by detonating a bomb in a car dealership in Freiburg in the then-German Democratic Republic. In 1998, the group continued its domestic activities by planting three explosive devices at tax offices in Madrid. Two of the devices were set off before being discovered. Only one device was found and diffused by police. In addition, in April 1998, GRAPO claimed responsibility for two bombs found at the Previasa Insurance agency. One bomb exploded resulting in no injuries; the other bomb was found and diffused by National Police. In June 1998, GRAPO began to target temporary employment agencies. The first attack successfully exploded a bomb at an agency and injured two policemen. In November, a package of explosives was planted at a temporary employment agency in Vigo. The bomb, however, was discovered and diffused before it could detonate. Another bomb exploded at a temporary employment agency in Madrid, destroying the building. In June 1999, GRAPO began to target political opponents by planting a bomb in the women's restroom of the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party. The bomb detonated and caused damage to the building. Another politically motivated attack occurred in March 2000 as a bomb exploded in the Socialists of Catalonia headquarters building in Barcelona. In May 2000, operatives killed two security officers in an attempt to rob an armed truck carrying $2 million dollars. The attempt was unsuccessful and eventually led to the arrest of some GRAPO members. In September 2000, the group once again targeted temporary employment agencies by placing bombs in sites at Valencia, Vigo, and Madrid. Only one of the bombs exploded as a telephone caller representing GRAPO warned the police in time for the other bombs to be diffused. Within days of those attacks, the El Mundo newspaper in Catoalonia was targeted as an explosive device was planted in a trash can outside the building. The next month saw the arrest of seven GRAPO members, including leadership. As a result, GRAPO members shot and killed a police officer.

LEADERSHIP

MANUEL PEREZ MARTINEZ

Manuel Perez Martinez was born in Manila. He was the secretary general of the Communist Party of Spain Reconstituted before assuming the leadership of GRAPO in 1979, after the death of founder Juan Carlos Delgado de Codex. He was arrested in 2000 after a failed attempted robbery of an armored vehicle. He was sentenced to ten years for criminal conspiracy with terrorist intent. Since his detention, no replacement for leadership of GRAPO has been publicly named.

Of the men arrested in November 2000, many were considered leaders of GRAPO. Manuel Perez Martinez was widely considered the group's leader. Also arrested were Jose Filipe Lopez who was credited with directing GRAPO's central command operations and Fernando Silva Sanda, the head of the military network. In addition to the arrest, a cache of detonators, remote-controlled explosive devices, forged papers, and currency were also seized. Additional arrests were made in 2002, with the capture of twenty-two operatives. By 2004, sweeping arrests throughout Spain and France had left the group with fewer than thirty active members.

KEY EVENTS

1975:
GRAPO founded by Juan Carlos Delgado de Cordex as the armed wing of the Communist Party of Spain Reconstituted.
1975:
GRAPO operatives kill two members of the Spanish Civil Guard.
1975:
Four policemen in Madrid are killed by GRAPO members in retaliation for the police execution of five allies: two Basque operatives and three members of the People's Revolutionary Armed Forces.
1977:
GRAPO strikes foreign targets in Spain by planting explosive devices at the USIS Cultural Center, the French Cultural Institute, and the German cultural institute. The German embassy was also damaged in the explosion on the German cultural institute.
1979:
Founder Codes dies in a shoot-out with police. Manuel Perez Martinez assumes the leadership of the organization.
1979:
Bomb is exploded at Ford Motors showroom in Valencia, damaging thirteen cars.
1979:
French targets are hit in retaliation for the deaths of Basque operatives in France: bombs explode in the basement of the French Embassy and at the offices of the Banque Nationale de Paris.
1990:
GRAPO undertakes its first international action by planning a bomb at a car dealership in Freiburg, the German Democratic Republic.
1995:
GRAPO kidnaps businessman Publio Cordon. Although his family pays the ransom requested, he is never released.
1998:
Bombs are placed at Previasa Insurance agency, Madrid tax offices, and temporary employment agencies.
1999:
Explosives device is planted and detonates in the Spanish Socialist Worker's Party.
2000:
A bomb is exploded at the headquarters of the Party of the Socialists of Catalonia in Barcelona. Another bomb detonates at the office of the electoral census in the National Statistical Institute of Barcelona.
2000:
A series of bombs are left at temporary employment agencies, as well as at the El Mundo newspaper in Catalonia.
2000:
An attempted robbery of an armored vehicle carrying over $2 million in cash leads to the arrest of seven GRAPO members, including leader Manuel Perez Martinez.
2000:
In retaliation for the arrest of its members, GRAPO operatives kill a police officer.
2001:
GRAPO issues communiqué in support of the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.
2002:
Twenty-two GRAPO members arrested throughout Spain and France.
2004:
An additional twenty-four members of GRAPO arrested, leaving the group with a remaining active base of less than twenty members.

PHILOSOPHY AND TACTICS

The First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group seeks to overthrow the Spanish parliamentary monarchy with a self-styled, Marxist-Leninist state. The group also employs Maoist influences of peasant rebellion in its ideology. In addition to the creation of a communist state in Spain, the group seeks to purge Spain of U.S. influences, which entails the removal of all U.S. military bases and personnel from the state. GRAPO also desires the withdrawal of Spain from NATO. To reach these goals, the group employs the tactics of kidnappings, assassinations, and bombings. GRAPO specifically targets police for killings and targets political and economic sites for bombings. The group has hit French and U.S. businesses, the Madrid Stock Exchange, the Economic Ministry, and Constitutional Courts. The group funds its activities through robberies and kidnappings, such as the 1995 kidnapping of businessman Publio Cordon. The group has also developed ties with other organizations such as the German Red Army Faction, the Red Brigades, and Irish Republic terrorists.

OTHER PERSPECTIVES

Since its formation in 1975, GRAPO has operated within Europe. As a result, the group has become sought after by both the Spanish and French governments. In 2001, GRAPO was identified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. through Executive Order 13224. By 2004, much of its membership was imprisoned for their activities with the organization. However, the Center for Defense Information states, "Although GRAPO lacks the popular support of other terrorist organizations in Spain (such as the Basque Fatherland and Liberty, or ETA), it still remains a threat to the Spanish government and the United States." In 2003, the Spanish government outlawed both GRAPO and the Communist Party of Spain-Reconstituted, identifying the two organizations as a single unit for the first time.

PRIMARY SOURCE
First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO) Grupo de Resistencia Anti-Fascista Primero de Octubre

DESCRIPTION

GRAPO was formed in 1975 as the armed wing of the illegal Communist Party of Spain during the Franco era. Advocates the overthrow of the Spanish Government and its replacement with a Marxist-Leninist regime. GRAPO is vehemently anti-American, seeks the removal of all U.S. military forces from Spanish territory, and has conducted and attempted several attacks against US targets since 1977. The group issued a communiqué following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, expressing its satisfaction that "symbols of imperialist power" were decimated and affirming that "the war" has only just begun. Designated under EO 13224 in December 2001.

ACTIVITIES

GRAPO did not mount a successful terrorist operation in 2004, marking the third consecutive year without an attack. The group suffered more setbacks in 2004, with several members and sympathizers arrested and sentences upheld or handed down in April in the appellate case for GRAPO militants arrested in Paris in 2000. GRAPO has killed more than ninety persons and injured more than 200 since its formation. The group's operations traditionally have been designed to cause material damage and gain publicity rather than inflict casualties, but the terrorists have conducted lethal bombings and close-range assassinations.

STRENGTH

Fewer than two dozen activists remain. Police have made periodic large-scale arrests of GRAPO members, crippling the organization and forcing it into lengthy rebuilding periods. In 2002, Spanish and French authorities arrested twenty-two suspected members, including some of the group's reconstituted leadership. More members were arrested throughout 2003 and 2004.

LOCATION/AREA OF OPERATION

Spain.

EXTERNAL AID

None.

Source: U.S. Department of State. Country Reports on Terrorism. Washington, D.C., 2004.

SUMMARY

In 1975, Spain emerged from the dictatorship of Generalissimo Francisco Franco and began the process of moving toward a democracy. During this time, Juan Carlos Delgado de Codex formed the First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group. The objective of the organization was the creation of a communist state, one that adheres to Marxist-Leninist ideology. As the organization flourished during the last few decades, the group has claimed responsibility for attacks on police, business, and government installations that have resulted in over 200 people injured and the deaths of eighty-two people. By 2004, the majority of its active members had been imprisoned by either French or Spanish authorities. As such, the group's membership is presumed to be less than twenty, rendering it largely inactive.

SOURCES

Web sites

Center for Defense Information. "In the Spotlight: First of October Anti-Fascist Resistance Group." 〈http://www.cdi.org/program/document.cfm?DocumentID=2873&from_page=../index.cfm〉 (accessed October 15, 2005).

CNN World Edition Online. "Spanish Terror Suspects Arrested." 〈http://edition.cnn.com/2000/WORLD/europe/11/09/france.grapo/〉 (accessed October 15, 2005).

MIPT: Terror Knowledge Base. "First of October Antifascist Resistance Group." 〈http://www.tkb.org/Incident.jsp?incID=13139〉 (accessed October 15, 2005).

Overseas Security Advisory Council. "First of October Antifascist Resistance Group (GRAPO)." 〈http://www.ds-osac.org/Groups/group.cfm?contentID=1312〉 (accessed October 15, 2005).

SEE ALSO

Basque Fatherland and Liberty

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