Carmelo Delgado Delgado
Lieutenant Carmelo Delgado Delgado (April 20, 1913 – April 29, 1937), from Guayama, Puerto Rico, was a leader of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party (presided by Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos. Delgado joined the Abraham Lincoln International Brigade and fought against General Francisco Franco and the Spanish Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. The Republic's hero, Delgado Delgado, paradoxically a Puerto Rican by birth and national origin, is thought to be the first U.S. citizen to die in Spain's Civil War.Early yearsDelgado was one of three siblings born to Eladio Delgado Berrios and Flora Delgado Gonzalez in the town of Guayama, Puerto Rico. He spent his early childhood in his parents farm located in the Guamani sector of the town and later moved with his family to the Calle (Street) Concordia esquina (Corner) Hostos in the town of Guayama. There he received his primary and secondary education.Delgado enrolled and was accepted in the University of Puerto Rico where he befriended Puerto Rican poet and Nationalist Juan Antonio Corretjer. Delgado became a pro-independence political activist and follower of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos. He was a member of the "Cadetes de la República" (Cadets of the Republic), the youth organization of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party. After earning his bachelors degree he moved to Spain in pursuit of a Law degree.On September 22, 1935, Delgado left for Spain and upon his arrival enrolled in the Central University of Madrid. He arrived in a Spain which was about to be confronted with a civil war between the government of the Second Spanish Republic and the pro-fascists Nationalist led by the Nationalist General Francisco Franco. Delgado became politically active as a supporter of the Spanish Republic and upon the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, joined the Abraham Lincoln International Brigade. The Abraham Lincoln Brigade was made up mostly of volunteers from the United States, which included Puerto Ricans and Cubans who served in the Spanish Civil War in the International Brigades. Delgado wrote to his friend, Puerto Rican Nationalist leader Carlos Carrera Benítez the following letter:"Everyday I have more faith in our country (Puerto Rico) and I see the day coming when our people, like the people of Spain will take arms to squash the tyrants (the United States) with the same valor and resolution that the people of Spain have taken against their military and political traitors." "How I wish that you were in Spain!. I know that you would not stand with your arms crossed and that together we would write a page that would be considered an honor in our land and a motive of pride for the land of our grandfathers" "No one in Puerto Rico should know that I have joined the revolution"Delgado, was involved in the Battle of Madrid, when he became unaware that his troops were ordered to retreat. He was captured and sent to Valladolid where he faced a military war tribune. The United States Embassy offered to help, however Delgado refused their offer. According to Corretjer: "Carmelo Delgado preferred to die before a firing squad than to beg for his live to the "Yankee" (in reference to the United States) who had invaded his country"Carmelo Delgado Delgado was executed on April 29, 1937 by firing squad, becoming one of the first United States Citizens that died in that conflict. The news of his execution reached Puerto Rico and was posted in the front page of "El Mundo" newspaper on July 25, 1937 as "Se confirma la ejecución del joven Carmelo Delgado" (The execution of Carmelo Delgado, a young man, has been confirmed). Delgado's story has been narrated in the book "Galería de héroes de Puerto Rico" (Gallery of Heroes from Puerto Rico) by: José Morales Dorta.
- Biography courtesy of Wikipedia.
ALB Archival Materials
El Mundo, July 25, 1937 and La Gran Enciclopedia de Puerto Rico, Toma 2, April 29, 1985. Carl Geiser, "The First American National Captured," The Volunteer, Vol. 7, No. 2.
Full Database Record