Carrero Blanco, Luis

Carrero Blanco, Luis
b. 1905, Spain; d. 1973, Madrid
   Naval officer and politician
   Luis Carrero Blanco was Franco's closest collaborator for more than thirty years, from May 1941 until his assassination by ETA in December 1973. His unconditional support contrasted with the relative independence of mind of other prominent ministers, like Ramón Serrano Suñer, who, during the brief period in which he was tolerated, was sympathetic to the Falange, with which Carrero had little patience. In this sense, he helped Franco to play off against each other the various groups within the regime, thereby perpetuating his rule. A militarist, seeing Catholicism as the essence of Spanishness and the basis of stability, and intransigent in the face of any calls for change, Carrero once said that tempting the Spanish people with the attractions of liberalism and democracy was like handing the key of the liqueur cabinet to a confirmed alcoholic. The origins of this integralist worldview are to be found in the apocalyptic writings of the authoritarian Catholic ideologues of the years immediately before and after the Civil War, which depicted the conflict as a "crusade" against a threat to Christian civilization itself.
   Carrero's influence with Franco dates from the crisis of the regime in May 1941. In the attempt to curb the power of the Falangist element, the thirtysix year-old Chief of Operations of the Naval General Staff was promoted to undersecretary of the Presidency, which became a ministerial post in July, 1951. In the internal rivalry with the Falange, Carrero was firmly on the side of those who favoured a more conservative and Catholic set of ideas and eventually a monarchical solution to governing Spain.
   Although Carrero was cautious about economic liberalization, he favoured economic development as long as the "discipline" of "the administration" was maintained and Catholic virtues perpetuated. Indeed, he supported the technocrats within the government, helping to set in motion the events leading to the ditching of autarky and ultimately to the state-led economic development plans of the 1960s. As Carrero increasingly took over the running of the country from Franco, he advanced to the vicepresidency of the Council of Ministers in 1967, becoming President in June 1973.
   Both Franco and Carrero saw the future in terms of continuismo, an authoritarian transfer of power from the dictator, upon his death, to Prince Juan Carlos. In fact, Carrero oversaw the regime's disintegration during the early 1970s. As economic crisis, popular resistance and the activities of ETA threatened the dictatorship's survival, Carrero relied ever more on repression. His assassination in December 1973 removed the possibility of the regime surviving the eventual death of Franco.
   See also: armed forces; politics
   Further reading
   - Miguel, A. de (1975) Sociología del franquismo, Barcelona: Euros (this contains useful political biographies of Franco's ministers, including Carrero).
   Preston, P. (1993) Franco: A Biography, London: HarperCollins (this has useful material on Carrero's relations with the dictator).
   MICHAEL RICHARDS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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