Lucio Urtubia Jiménez (born 1931 in Cascante, Navarre) is a Spanish anarchist known for his practice of expropriative anarchism. At times compared to Robin Hood, Urtubia carried out bank robberies and forgeries throughout the 1960s and 1970s. In the words of Albert Boadella, "Lucio is a Quijote that did not fight against wind mills, but against a true giant".
Lucio Urtubia was born in Cascante, the fifth child in a very poor family. His father, a Carlist was imprisoned and, while in jail, experienced a conversion to communism.
Recruited for military service, Urtubia and his companions ransacked a warehouse belonging to their company and deserted, fleeing to France in 1954. In Paris he began to work as a bricklayer, an occupation he continued with throughout his life. Additionally, he became involved with the Young Anarchists of the Fédération Anarchiste and befriended André Breton and Albert Camus.
Soon after moving to Paris, Urtubia was asked to hide a member of the Maquis, Spanish guerrillas who opposed Franco from exile, in his house. The refugee turned out to be the fabled Francesc Sabaté Llopart. Sabaté stayed on with Urtubia for several years, until his death.
Sabaté guided families and anarchists exiled in Toulouse, Perpignan and Paris and members of the old Spanish CNT in Barcelona, Saragossa, Madrid and Pamplona. Before the imprisonment of Sabaté halted these activities, Urtubia began to emulate his incursions into Spanish territory. Later he undertook a series of robberies and holdups to obtain funds for the revolutionary cause. Accompanied by his inseparable Thompson machine gun which he inherited after Sabaté's death.
By this time, Urtubia's falsification of documents had begun and no guerrilla or exile left him without false papers. He united with other anarchist companions to forge currency in the 1960s. With this strategy they financed numerous groups while attempting to destabilize the capitalist economy. With these activities, in the heat of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Urtubia proposed to Simeón Rose, the ambassador of Cuba in France, to destroy American interests in France using explosives. This offer was refused, nevertheless. He then presented Ernesto Che Guevara, the Cuban Minister of the Interior, with a plan for the massive forgery of American dollars. This proposal was likewise rejected and Urtubia left the meeting disillusioned.
The masterful blow that changed his life was the forgery of Citibank travellers' checks in 1977. This criminal undertaking included 8,000 copies of 25 checks worth 100 dollars each and damaged the bank so severely that its stock price fell. The stolen money was used, as always, in the aid of guerrilla movements in Latin America (Tupamaros, Montoneros, etc.) and Europe. In spite of the audacity of the forgery, Urtubia was only sentenced to 6 months in jail thanks to an extrajudicial agreement with Citibank, which dropped the charges in exchange for Urtubia's printing plates.
His life has been a continuous adventure: targeted by five international orders, including the CIA; he prepared the kidnapping of the Nazi Klaus Barbie in Bolivia; collaborated in the flight of the leader of the Black Panthers; interceded in the kidnapping of Javier Rupérez; mediated in the case of Albert Boadella; and worked with the Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación and later with the Groupes d'action révolutionnaire internationalistes. Urtubia continues to live in Paris and is now retired.
In popular culture
A documentary on Urtubia's life, directed by the Basque film directors José María Goenaga and Aitor Arregi has been released in 2009.
- Thomas, Bernard (2001). Lucio, el anarquista irreductible. Barcelona: Ediciones B. ISBN 8466602674.