The Death of Cerrada


Coming out of a bar in the boulevard Belleville in a working class suburb of Paris last October, comrade Laureano Cerrada Santos, one of the last of the old guard anarchist activists, was ambushed and murdered by a police agent who had managed to penetrate the ranks of the Spanish Resistance. Cerrada had discovered the activities of this despicable character who was acting for the Spanish secret police in France (working in close association with the French police) and was preparing to publish details, when this hero of fascism discovered he was known, and shot dead our veteran comrade, an unarmed man of 74.

Cerrada’s death is a double blow to the anarchist movement because, apart from his drive and energy, he was also a skilled forger whose talents were dedicated to the struggle against tyranny and the State.

Laureano Cerrada Santos was one of the few remaining survivor of a generation who were prepared to – and countless numbers of them did – risk their lives in the struggle for social justice. He had been one of the founders of the railway union of the CNT, a disciple of Francisco Ferrer and a comrade of the legendary “Sugar Baby” (Salvador Seguí) the fighting secretary of the anarcho-syndicalist union movement. He fought, it goes without saying, in the civil war, and afterwards joined the resistance which spread through France where he was one of the most dangerous to the Francoist regime.

He upset many ‘puritans’ in the movement during the period of Resistance because of his forgery on a widespread scale and a huge black market operation. It was felt that forgery gave the anarchist movement a bad name, but it did help keep the movement and the Resistance alive, and the fascist State maintained its pervasive influence in part by the control it had over rationing. Among the attempts against Franco’s life in which Laureano participated was the abortive attack on him while in the company of Hitler, and also another in San Sebastian in 1948.

He held his anarchist ideas to the end, one of the many who held back the march of tyranny and did not live to see the dawn.

What of his assassin? He is named as 52 year old Ramón Benicho Canuda, alias Ramón Leriles, nicknamed ‘el Leriles’. He has been smuggled out by the French police, into Canada. Does Canada, then, admit terrorists? We heard a lot from the Canadian Cabinet last year about their determination to keep terrorists out of their country when the editor of this paper [Stuart Christie] was to be flown for a TV interview with CBC, Not this kind however! They can be congratulated on their new citizen who should make a suitable recruit for the Mounties – if they can be quite sure he’s not acting for someone else’s Intelligence. [Note: This was an inspired guess. In fact, Leriles was subsequently named in Toronto as working for a foreign power in Canada, but disappeared.]

How the fascist gangs of Spain and the secret police of three countries must have enjoyed their Xmas when they heard the ‘notorious public enemy’ Cerrada was killed! Their triumph is a tribute to our comrade who was going to retire to write his memoirs which in turn would have been a major inspiration to all who fight for freedom. Laureano Cerrada Santos – we salute your memory!

From: From Black Flag Vol. IV, No. 13, 1977.