Canary Islands Independence Movement

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Canary Islands Independence Movement
Movimiento por la Autodeterminación e Independencia del Archipiélago Canario (MPAIAC)
LeaderAntonio Cubillo
FounderAntonio Cubillo
Founded1964 (1964)
Dissolvedinactive since 1979
Merged intoNational Congress of the Canaries (CNC) in 1985
Political wingPartido de los Trabajadores Canarios (PTC)
Armed wingFuerzas Armadas Guanches (FAG)
IdeologyCanarian nationalism
Revolutionary socialism
Radio StationLa Voz de Canarias Libre
Party flag

The Canary Islands Independence Movement (CIIM), also known as the Movement for the Independence and Self-determination of the Canaries Archipelago (Spanish: Movimiento por la Autodeterminación e Independencia del Archipiélago Canario, MPAIAC), was an independentist organization that had a radio station in Algiers and resorted to violence in attempts to force the Spanish government to create an independent state in the Canary Islands.


The Canary Islands Independence Movement was started by Antonio Cubillo in 1964. Based in Algeria, the MPAIAC was recognized in 1968 by the Organisation of African Unity. Its armed struggle was carried out by the group's armed wing, the Fuerzas Armadas Guanches (FAG), which in 1976 bombed a mall in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. In 1978 Antonio Cubillo was the victim of an attempt against his life in Algiers, organized by the Spanish secret services, as a result of which he became disabled.[1]

The CIIM's radio programmes called for the Canarian people to "go back to their roots" and tried to popularize the Berber language.[2] But its efforts were mostly unsuccessful because Canarios were averse to the violent methods of the movement and at its height the CIIM had no more than 100 members.[3] The flag of the movement became very popular, however, and was adopted without the stars for the pre-autonomous government.[4]

In 1979 the CIIM (MPAIAC) made a formal declaration renouncing the "armed struggle".[1]

The CIIM or MPAIAC ceased activity after the Spanish government created the Autonomous Community of the Canaries Archipelago in 1982.[3] A royal pardon was granted to Antonio Cubillo and he returned to Spain.[1]

The political wing of MPAIAC was known as Canarian Workers Party, Partido de los Trabajadores Canarios (PTC). It did not manage to rule any municipality in the islands before disbanding. Other pro-independence organizations that have succeeded MPAIAC, such as the Popular Front of the Canary Islands (FREPIC), have remained largely marginal.[5]

Violent acts[edit]

As part of its self-declared armed struggle CIIM bombed the offices of South African Airways in Las Palmas on 3 January 1977, its first attack.

CIIM terrorists bombed a florist shop in Las Palmas Airport on 27 March 1977, injuring eight people.[6] Members then threatened to explode a second bomb in the airport, forcing police to shut down air traffic while they searched for the bomb. The chain of events forced the closing of the airport, diverting traffic to the Los Rodeos airport in Tenerife, 120 km (75 mi) away and contributing to the Tenerife airport disaster, the deadliest accident in aviation history. Antonio Cubillo, secretary general of the movement, denied responsibility for the accident, saying "[t]hat was the fault of the control tower at Las Palmas. We had nothing to do with it." He also noted that the group had warned tourists to stay away from the Canaries.[7][3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Javier Nart i Antonio Cubillo (MPAIAC)". Archived from the original on 15 May 2006. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  2. ^ History
  3. ^ a b c MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base
  4. ^ "Canary Islands (Spain): Political movements". Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  5. ^ "Coalición Canaria". Retrieved 10 April 2017.
  6. ^ Wreck of 747s Sets Back Cause Of Insurgents on Canary Islands, New York Times archive
  7. ^ Canary Island Separatist Says Group Planted Bomb But Did Not Cause Crash, New York Times archive, 1977