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Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:3PM
Spanish Communist Party leader Santiago Carrillo (file photo)

Spanish Communist Party leader Santiago Carrillo (file photo)

I am a politician with a sense of reality." Veteran Spanish Communist Party leader Santiago Carrillo
Veteran Spanish Communist leader Santiago Carrillo, who fought in the country’s 1936-1939 Civil War, has died at the age of 97. "He died peacefully after a few days where he was weakening, but he never lost his good spirits," his son, also named Santiago, was quoted as saying on Tuesday. His cause of death remains unknown, but Carrillo was hospitalized for poor blood circulation in July. Carrillo, who led the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) between 1960 and 1982, was instrumental in his country’s transition from dictatorship to democracy. Known as one of the giants of the 20th century, he led Republican forces resisting General Francisco Franco in 1936. During his nearly 40 years in exile, mostly in France, he clandestinely helped organize the PCE. Presenting a documentary in 2009, Carrillo said, "I am a politician with a sense of reality." "If you can say anything good about me, it's that I have lived many years and actively participated in many episodes of Spain's history," he said at the time. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy lauded Carrillo's "outstanding role during the transition and his contribution to the constitutional order, a new way of living together and a common future without giving up his deep convictions". Born in the northern city of Gijon, Carrillo was the son of a Socialist Party leader. Carrillo joined the Communists after the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936 with Franco's uprising against the Republican government. Carrillo quit as head of PCS in 1982 after the Socialist Party won a general election. Two years later, he left the party and got retired n 1991 to concentrate on writing books about politics and history. KA/AS
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