Dionisio Carrera Ruda aka "Pepe Banales"

Dionisio Carrera Ruda, better known by his nickname “Pepe de las Banales” was born in Cazalla de la Sierra [north of Seville] in 1897. The son of José Carrera Naranjo and Montes Rudes Haro, he was married to Teodora Cabeza Ortega and fathered two daughters, Montes and Carmen. Residing at No 5, Calle Tercera and a day labourer by profession, he was, throughout its existence, one of the most influential members of Cazalla’s anarchist trade union, the CNT. A founder member of the Farm Workers’ Union and affiliated to the Amalgamated Trades Union, he served on the union steering committee, switching, during the short periods of freedom he knew between 1931 and 1936, between posts on the union leadership board and serving as the CNT delegate on several of the municipal commissions set up under the republican town council at the time in an effort to get to grips with the many socio-economic problems affecting Cazalla’s labourer population.

First arrested in 1932 during the revolutionary strike that May, he would serve a year in the penitentiary at Puerto de Santa María. In October 1934, after but a few months back in town following his release from prison in late July that year, he was again arrested over the strike at the olive oil press that autumn and this earned him a further year in prison in Seville. After the Popular Front coalition won the February 1936 elections, he (as one of the leaders of the local CNT) became the CNT representative on the Special Commission set up by the municipal authorities to look into unemployment issues.

He was accused by many of having served on the local Defence Committee during the fraught times of the summer of 1936, but the fact and truth of the matter is that he did not. The letter that Zacarías Rubio Torres, one-time Republic Union councillor on Cazalla Town Council sent to the military judge emphatically refuting the allegation is telling. And the writer knew what he was talking about. It does appear that Pepe took part in the raid and robbery at the Hispano-Americano Bank in the early hours of 11 August or was at least in touch with the perpetrators for a range of reliable testimony connects him to the matter and to the money, in Cazalla as well as in Azuaga, where the proceeds were distributed in small sums ranging from 25 to 50 pesetas to locals arriving as penniless fugitives from the area.

After a stay in southern Badajoz until late September, Pepe moved on to the area around Pozoblanco in Córdoba and was later evacuated to Vilamanrique in Ciudad Real where his class was called up in January 1937, at which point he joined the 88th Mixed Brigade of the Republican Army, serving on the Córdoba front. In 1939 he was posted to an Auxiliary Services unit in Cuenca, staying in that city up until the end of the war, when he headed for Valencia where he was arrested and interned in the castle of Santa Barbara in Alicante, where he spent eight months.

In February 1940 he was transferred from Alicante prison to the 114th Work Battalion in Arizcón (Navarra), spending six months there at convict labour. In early October he was reassigned to Pamplona Provincial Prison, remaining there until 22 December 1940 when he was released and made his way back to Cazalla. The very first day after he arrived back in town, in early January 1941, he was rearrested and dispatched to El Partido prison. On 30 January, Standing Court Martial No 2 instituted summary proceedings against him – Case 72/41. On 14 May he was moved to the provincial prison in Seville on the instructions of the head of the court. On 18 November the judge confirmed the remand order and laid charges against him. At the council of war held in Seville, starting at 10.30 a.m. on 31 July 1942, Pepe was sentenced to life imprisonment. On 15 October this was commuted to 20 years’ close imprisonment. On 14 August 1947, after serving eight years in prison, Pepe was freed on licence. Despite what he had been though, it was not long before he rejoined the fight against Franco.

Towards the end of that year he was to help reorganise the Cazalla CNT’s comarcal committee, holding the position of general secretary and handling liaison with the regional committee in Seville. In 1948 he had a number of contacts with the guerrilla band of Godoy del Pueblo (Hilario Martínez Aranda) and the commander of the 150th Battalion asked him to act as their link with the [Spanish Communist] Party; Pepe Banales declined albeit that he smuggled rations to it for a time. At the beginning of 1949 he began service as the liaison between Ventura Durruti’s anarchist guerrillas and the Seville regional committee until, on learning that his fellow CNT member from Cazalla, Luis Mejías (aka Pocarropa) had been captured and executed at the beginning of January 1950, he left for Seville, lodging for a few days at the home of his sister Trinidad who lived in the Triana district, and, later, with his cousin José Camargo. Later still, he moved into a boarding house in the Plaza de la Encarnación and thence to the home of Francisco Garabito.

After taking part in overtures mounted by the CNT regional committee in Seville designed to smuggle its leadership out of the country along with a team of Cadiz guerrillas, he emerged unscathed on the night of 29 May from a shoot-out with police as they were trying to board ship. Shortly after that Pepe moved away to Barcelona where he was harboured by his cousins Bibiana and Francisco Garcia Rua who lived in Villanueva y Geltrú, where Pepe found work in a quarry before moving on to a job as a labourer in a metal cable plant.

On 9 May 1951, after the guerrillas Ventura Durruti, Vicente del Puente, Botasfinas and Mojino had been captured a few weeks before, he was arrested by officers from the Civil Guard post in Villanueva y Geltrú at the instigation of the Seville command. He remained in the holding area in Villanueva y Geltrú until he was transferred on 21 June to Seville provincial prison where he was incarcerated on 19 July. The day after he was committed, the head of the Standing Special Court Martial for Fugitives, Fructuoso Delgado Hernández, took a statement from him and brought charges for “aiding and abetting malefactors” in cases 2 and 308/50, plus outstanding charges from the previous year. Pepe’s release on licence in relation to Case 72/41 - which he had enjoyed since 1947 - was revoked.

At a summary court martial – Case 308/50 and related cases 2/50, 576, 194 and 775 dating from 1949 – held in Seville on 14 December 1951, he was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment for “military rebellion” and a further 30 for “aiding and abetting bandits” and was sent to Puerto de Santa María to serve his sentence. He would remain there up until he was transferred at the beginning of 1959 to Burgos Central Prison. On 10 June 1963 he was taken to the General Prison Hospital in Madrid where he died of stomach cancer on 8 August the same year. He had spent 22 of the last 25 years of his life in Franco’s prisons.

From: www.todoslosnombres.org. Translated by: Paul Sharkey.