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28 November 2011

Florencio Pla Meseguer (1917 - 2004) shepherd, maquis, political prisoner.

Teresa Pla Meseguer was born on a small farm in Castellón, Spain. Her parents, upon seeing her genital malformation, raised her as a girl, so that she would not have to do military service. As she grew older, her parents put her to work as a shepherdess - she went to school for only two weeks, and as she grew older still and somewhat masculine, they called her Teresot.

At the age of 32 in 1949, the Francoist Guardia Civil picked up on the local village gibe and took Teresa in for interrogation. On release, Meseguer never dressed as female again. He took the name Florencio. He joined the Spanish Maquis which was still fighting the Fascist government although it had been abandoned by the Allies who had cut off their supply lines after 1948.

The journalist Enrique Rubio (1920-2005), described Meseguer as a “La Pastora (Shepherdess)” and as a lesbian woman with criminal tendencies. Florencio took the name Durruti after the famed Barcelona anarchist (1896 – 1936), and became La Pastora Durruti. He survived alone in the mountains for many years, doing some smuggling.

In 1960 he was arrested in Andorra, tried for atrocities that he nothing to do with, and was sentenced to death. The sentence was commuted, and he was included in the general amnesty of 1977. He had nowhere to go, so one of his jailers hired Florencio to work on his land.

Florencio finally moved back to his home province. He died aged 87.

His story was converted into a novel Donde nadie te encuentre by Alicia Giménez Bartlett, which won the Nadal Prize in 2011.

There are a couple of odd bits in the en.wikipedia article on The Spanish Maquis.  a) All of a sudden in section “The end of the maquis” the word “fascist” referring to the Francoist government is in quotes as if the writer does not consider it to be fascist.  b) of Florencio Pla Meseguer it says: “who used to disguise as a female” – which seems to be missing the point.

The es.wikipedia article on Enrique Rubio avoids completely how he got on with the Francoist state.  His comments about Pla Meseguer seem to be homophobic.  Did he make similar comments about other people?

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