The guerrillas continued to fight until the 1950s


After the war in Spain was over, hundreds of anti-Franco guerrillas fought in the mountains of the Campo de Gibraltar from Tarifa to Ronda. In the hope that western democracies would help to overcome Franco after the end of World War II, they fought against the dictatorship with the aim of re-establishing the Republic. They didn’t stop until the 1950s, by which time the western powers had already forgotten about Spain. They, however, did not forget. As late as 1949, communists and anarchists set up the General Staff of the Fermín Galán Guerrillera Group, in the Sierra de Las Cabras, in the north-east of Cádiz province.

The first to swell the ranks of guerrillas were numerous militants from unions and left-wing parties who, fleeing from Francoist repression, had gone to live in the mountains before the war ended. They were popularly known as ‘los huidos’, the fugitives.


Those who fought in the guerrilla warfare in Cádiz province and the Sierra de Ronda were men and women who, to a greater or lesser extent, were committed to the ideals which had led them to fight the insurrectionists, to defend the Republic and freedom. And it was those same ideals which made them decide to carry on fighting, with the aim of overthrowing the regime which had been imposed by the rebels under Franco’s mandate.
Luis García Bravo, the founder of the Foro por la Memoria del Campo de Gibraltar and one of those who has most researched this subject, calculates that between 500 and 600 men and women took part in the guerrilla movement in this area. This fight can be said to have lasted from 1939 to 1952, and there were ups-and-downs in their history and their level of activity; this partly depended on the circumstances of their life in the mountains, but was also due to the influence of national and international political factors.
We can identify three stages in the history of the guerrilla movement. The first, from 1939 to 1944, was that of groups of fugitives and refugees in the mountains, who began to organise themselves and became increasingly active. The second phase was from 1944 to 1949 and is the most important, because by then it was a perfectly coordinated campaign, with well-planned activities, and its field of action was divided into areas. The third phase is that of its decline and disappearance, which began in the 1950s and coincided with guerrilla fighting being abandoned all over Spain for different reasons: the social isolation of those involved, the incessant persecution by the army and Guardia Civil, the harassment and terror suffered by the fighters’ families in the villages, and the lack of political support once the leaders of the political parties, especially the PCE, completely abandoned the idea of overcoming Franco through guerrilla action. Few of the guerrillas managed to escape death or repression. They were persecuted, jailed and, together with many of their relatives, suffered all types of humiliation before being sentenced after summary proceedings. Many also succumbed to the promises of the regime, and ended up in overcrowded concentration camps where they were made to work like slaves.
But nobody can say they didn’t try. In their fight, the guerrillas were organised into groups of combatants. Some groups began with only three or four people and others gradually joined them, recruited from those fleeing the war, fellow union or party members, or those who had fled post-war repression in villages and towns.
These first guerrilla fighters were not only active in the mountains, against the army and the Guardia Civil; they also helped to secretly organise political and union movements in every village. So, bit by bit, the local committees began to make a comeback, as did provincial committees of the different parties and unions, in which the guerrillas were represented as the armed or military wing. And gradually, from the initial fugitives, the parties even managed to form a large guerrilla action group in this area, comprising members of the CNT, the Communist Party, socialists and UGT militants.
At a meeting of heads of guerrilla groups held somewhere between Castellar and Jimena de la Frontera on 17th August 1945, the National Board of Antifascist Guerrillas of the Southern Sector was set up, a group in which all ideological trends were integrated. The designated leader was Bernabé López Calle (Comandante Abril), who had arranged both the meeting and the agreement. The Board comprised Pablo Pérez Hidalgo (Manolo el Rubio), communist; Antonio Córdoba Herrara (Cuervo), of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI); Miguel Pérez Pérez (Polonio), socialist; Francisco Moreno Barragán (Benito), of the Unified Young Socialists (JSU); a member of Esquerra Republicana, one from the Unión Republicana and another from the General Workers Union (UGT).
In February 1949 in the Sierra de Las Cabras, in the municipality of Jerez, between Algar and Alcalá de los Gazules, another meeting of the heads of parties took place and the Fermín Galán Guerrilla Group was formed, led by Bernabé López Calle with Miguel Pérez Pérez as assistant;
Pablo Pérez Hidalgo was chief of staff; Juan Virgil Quiñones, head of propaganda; and Cristóbal Ordóñez Núñez, in charge of administration. This group, like the previous Board, was unusual in being the first and last to unite communist and anarchist leaders under the direction of an anarcho-syndicalist. The group approved regulations and codes of behaviour and relationships which enabled it to live and operate with total discipline and organisation in the mountains of Cádiz province and Ronda. 

Links to find out more about the anti-Franco guerrilla movement:

- http://eprints.ucm.es/13421/1/T33187.pdf 
- https://revistapolemica.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/la-guerrilla-antifascista-en-espana-bernabe-lopez-calle/ 
- http://www.garciabravo.com/cuadernos-de-la-guerrilla-antifascista-1.html 
- https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/5169197.pdf 
- https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernab%C3%A9_L%C3%B3pez_Calle 
- www.redroja.net/docs/La_guerrilla_antifranquista.doc