Torres Martínez, César

Cesar Torres Martinez

Politician and lawyer trained at the University of Santiago de Compostela and civil governor during the Republic of Lugo, Almería, Ávila, Jaén and Granada, where he was surprised by July 18. He was the only authority in Granada during the Second Republic who was not shot by the rebels. However, he was subjected to a court martial. Along with him, on August 1, 1936, tried and sentenced to death, were Virgilio Castilla, president of the Provincial Council; Juan José Santa Cruz, engineer; José Alcántara, CNT trade unionist and Antonio Rus Romero, UGT leader. To César Torres the court applied the exoneration of due obedience.

In June 1980, he agreed to participate in a colloquium on the death of García Lorca in the RTVE program The Key, along with figures such as Luis Rosales, Santiago Ontañón and Ian Gibson.
Although of Catholic convictions, he militates in the Autonomous Galician Republican Organization, a nationalist and left-wing party founded in 1929 by Santiago Casares Quiroga, with whom he has a close friendship. He later joined the Republican Left of Manuel Azaña and was elected mayor of his hometown.

The post that forces his name into the history books was the most ephemeral: civil governor of Granada between June 27 and July 20, 1936. César Torres, in the turbulent days in which he occupied the post of governor, following the instructions of Casares Quiroga, refused to distribute arms among the Granada workers’ organizations that had demanded them to defend themselves in the face of the imminence of the coup d’état. When, on July 20, the garrison revolted and the commander Valdés presented himself at the headquarters of the Civil Government, Torres did not resist and surrendered immediately, two circumstances that could have influenced the benevolence with which he was treated by Franco’s authorities compared to the fate of other officials who were shot almost immediately.

César Torres Martínez, in the program The Key of TVE in 1980.
César Torres Martínez, in the program The Key of TVE in 1980.

July 18 surprised the city authorities in a moment of interim: the mayor’s office had been vacant until the beginning of July when it was occupied by the socialist Manuel Fernández-Montesinos, and the new military governor, Manuel Campins, did not join until July 11. Both were shot.

César Torres only served eight of the 30 years in prison to which he was sentenced. In 1954, he recommenced his civilian life as a member of the board of directors of the Bank of Vigo. In June 1980, he agreed to participate in a colloquium on the death of García Lorca in the RTVE program The Key, together with figures such as Luis Rosales, Santiago Ontañón and Ian Gibson. He died in November 1988.

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