Monday, March 25, 2013

Cipriano Mera - an Anarchist Battler

Cipriano Mera Sanz (November 4, 1897, Madrid – October 24, 1975) was a Spanish military and political figure during the Second Spanish Republic.
A bricklayer, he joined the anarchist movement and presided over the construction union of Madrid of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). During the congress celebrated in Zaragoza three months before the beginning of the Spanish Revolution, he was in favor of the most radical, collaborating sectors of the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI). Mera led a strike of construction workers, electricians, and elevator operators in Madrid in June 1936. As a result, he was imprisoned in early July.
When the Spanish Civil War exploded he was released, and led a column that put down the uprising in Guadalajara, Alcalá de Henares and Cuenca. Next, he defended the dams of Lozoya, which supplied Madrid, and fought in the mountain ranges of Ávila and the valley of the Tiétar. He was given command of the 14ª Division and it acted in the defense of Madrid, the Battle of Guadalajara (March 1937) and in the battle of Brunete (July 1937).
By 1939 Mera was convinced that the Republicans would be defeated. When Juan Negrín refused to surrender to Francisco Franco, Mera decided to support Segismundo Casado, commander of the Republican Army of the Center, and Julián Besteiro of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party to stage a coup d'etat and establish an anti-Negrin, anti-Communist Consejo Nacional de Defensa. In March 1939 he joined the rising of Casado to accelerate the end of the war and to restrain Communist Party of Spain control of the Republican zone. His forces were fundamental in the victory of Casado in Madrid against the 1st Corps of the Army of the Center sent to defeat the rising.

He marched to Valencia at the end of the war and soon by plane went to Oran and Casablanca, but he was extradited to Spain in February 1942. In 1943 he was condemned to death, a sentence that was exchanged for 30 years in prison, but he was set free in 1946. In 1947, he emigrated to Paris, where he worked as a bricklayer until his death in St. Cloud, France in 1975.

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