Biography of Elfidio Alonso Rodríguez (1905-2001)

Journalist and Spanish politician, born in Tacoronte (Tenerife) on October 16, 1905 and died on February 28, 2001 in La Laguna (Tenerife).

First years

After completing primary school in Tenerife, in 1923 he/she travelled to Madrid to enrol in medicine, in the then Central University (now Complutense de Madrid). In 1927, without still the race finished, it was affected by tuberculosis, so he/she decided to return to Tenerife, whose climate was more benign to his illness. Upon returning to the Islands, Elfidio collaborated with various newspapers, such as La Prensa, La Tarde and journal information. In the first of these he/she published his first novel serial, titled Don Juan and the donjuanismo, text which also amended to a brilliant Conference in 1928, as part of the circle of fine arts of Tenerife.

At the end of 1929, despite drag still sequelae of tuberculosis, he/she returned to Madrid to continue his medical studies. In the few months that remained in the capital began its relationship with Republican ideology, especially through the Foundation of the magazine Islands, which counted with the collaboration of other native students of the Canary Islands. In 1930, in Tenerife, he/she was appointed President of the circle of the Canary Islands Republican youth; the beginnings of his political activity were no obstacle to Elfidio continue linked to the journalistic world. Proof of this was the founding, in 1931, of the Proa magazine, published in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and where you were other journalists of the caliber of Ernesto Pestano and Domingo Molina.

The proclamation of the Republic

The journal Proa, or rather, his editorial team with Elfidio head, was based on the newspaper's Republican ideology today, where the Tenerife played the position of Undersecretary and where had several op-ed signed under the pseudonym of Sagittarius. But it was with the proclamation of the second Republic, on April 14, 1931, when Elfidio Alonso is definitely opted for political journalism, activity that he/she combined with various positions in the governmental organization of the Republic. In 1931 he/she was appointed Secretary of Antonio Lara Zárate, Republican Governor of Tenerife, although at the end of that same year Elfidio returned to Madrid as Secretary to the Group of people deputies in the Legislative Chamber. After the dissolution of the courts, accompanied back to Antonio Lara Zárate, this time as Secretary of the Ministry of finance. In 1933 Elfidio presented his candidacy Deputy for the constituency of Tenerife, within the Republican Party of Tenerife, incorporating Parliament from that year until that the insurrection of 1936, cause of the Civil War, ended with the representativeness of this body.

In his journalistic work, Elfidio was linked to the newspaper El Imparcial, which published the Chronicles of the parliamentary sessions and where he/she met the writer Ricardo Baroja. Similarly, the periodic Republican followed today having his usual collaborations. Also at this time of feverish intellectual, political and literary activity should date writing his most famous novel, the guanches in the cabaret. In 1936, after participating in the split of the Republican Union, Elfidio was presented as candidate to the Congress by the newborn left Tenerife, where was chosen along with other outstanding Canaries Republican politicians, such as Luis Rodríguez Figueroa and Emiliano Díaz Castro. In May 1936 he/she would move along with his companions to Madrid, where he/she was surprised the military coup of general Franco, and with it the Civil War. (See Civil War Spanish).

El ABC in the Republic

On August 15, 1936, Elfidio Alonso became the Manager of the newspaper ABC, which became known as ABC - newspaper left Republican. The challenge of the Tenerife journalist was, undoubtedly, become a consistent with government newspaper to a daily newspaper totally contrary to the interests of the Republic. As editor head and right hand of Elfidio was another great journalist, Mariano Espinosa, in addition to a very young Julián Marías which took its first steps in journalism within the Republican ABC. As the wording of the conservative ABC moved to Seville, the popular newspaper was the only one that was published during the Civil war in two formats, one in favor of the Republic and the other in favour of the military uprising. Elfidio, in front of the first, tried to enhance images, photographs and all the information relative to the front, playing a decent role in Spanish journalism of the time despite the paucity of means with which counted.

At the political level, Elfidio continued to work in favor of the Republic as a member of the National Committee of the Popular Front and also as Secretary-General of Union Republican. During the Presidency of Francisco Largo Caballero, Elfidio was appointed under-Secretary of the Ministry of public works, so in 1937 moved to Valencia, the precarious Republican government in war. A year later, the hand of the Government of Juan Negrín López, moved to Barcelona as an Undersecretary of the Ministry of transport and merchant marine. At the end of that same year he/she had to go into exile to France, although fell prisoner of the Francoist troops who detained him in a concentration camp of the frontier between France and Catalonia. Given the circumstances that it was the international footballer of the F. C. Barcelona, José Samitier, which helped him to escape from his prison. Elfidio only had the option of exile.

Exile to return

The first destination of the exodus of the Canarian journalist was Santo Domingo, where he/she worked in the newspaper La Nación. Mexican newspapers print and now graphic, as well as the Venezuelan our people was also honoured with the work of this master of journalists. After the death of Franco in 1975, Elfidio returned to Spain and settled in San Sebastián (Guipúzcoa), although since 1990 he/she returned to his native Tenerife. On April 28, 1998, the autonomous Government of the Canary Islands, in the person of its President, Jerónimo Saavedra, granted Elfidio Alonso the Canary gold medal, the highest dignity of the Islands. The marriage between Elfidio and his second wife, Josefina Rodríguez Machado, was born a son, Elfidio, one of the most prominent group of musical roots Canarian folk singers: Los Sabandeños. Until weeks before his death, on 28 February 2001, Elfidio collaborated with Canary Islands newspaper La Gaceta and Diario de Avisos, which maintained a weekly opinion column.

Links on the Internet; Article by María Gabino fields in Latin magazine of Social communication, about the evolution of Elfidio Alonso in the direction of the Republican version of the newspaper ABC (in Spanish).


GARITAONANDIA, j., et to the. Communication, culture and politics during the second Spanish Republic and the Civil War. (Bilbao, Ellacuría, 1994).

LÓPEZ DE ZUAZO, A. catalogue of Spanish journalists of the 20th century. (Madrid, Fundación Universidad-empresa, 1981).

VV. AA. journalism and journalists in the civil war. (Madrid, Fundación Banco Exterior, 1987).