Founder of Spain's largest union dies at age 92
Marcelino Camacho, the founder and the first secretary general of Spain's largest union Comisiones Obreras (CCOO) who spent years in prison during the Franco regime, died Friday at the age of 92, the union said.
Camacho had been in serious condition at a Madrid hospital since Wednesday suffering from a prolonged illness.
The current head of the CCOO union, Ignacio Fernandez Toxo, said Camacho "was on the front lines the most decisive moments of the Spanish working class in the 20th century."
"He is without a doubt a symbol of work and union activity in the recent history of our country," Toxo added in a statement posted on the online edition of left-wing newspaper El Pais which is close to the union.
The CCOO, which now has over one million members, was founded in 1976, one year after the death of General Francisco Franco. Camacho served as general secretary of CCOO since it was legalised in 1978 and 1987.
As leader of the union, in 1985 he organised Spain's first general strike since the country returned to democracy to protest against government moves to tighten the rules for qualification for old age pensions.
He also served as a lawmaker representing Spain's Communist Party between 1977 and 1981.
Born on January 21, 1918 in Soria in northern Spain, Camacho joined the Communist Party in 1935 and he fought against Franco's nationalist forces during Spain's 1936-39 Civil War.
After the war he was sent into exile to Algeria where he met his wife, Josefina Samper.
Camancho returned to Spain in 1957 where he worked at a metallurgical factory.
His efforts at unionisation and opposition to the Franco regime soon landed him in trouble with the regime and in 1967 he was sent to the Carabanchel prison in Madrid for nine years.
Camacho will be buried in Madrid on Saturday.
© 2010 AFP