Jaume Aiguader

Jaume Aiguader i Miró
Jaume Aiguader i Miró.jpg
Mayor of Barcelona
In office
Preceded byJoan Antoni Güell i López
Succeeded byCarles Pi i Sunyer
Minister of Labor and Social Assistance
In office
17 May 1937 – 16 August 1938
Preceded byAnastasio de Gracia Villarrubia (Labor)
Federica Montseny Mañé (Health and Social Assistance)
Succeeded byJose Moix Regás
Personal details
Born(1882-07-24)24 July 1882
Reus, Baix Camp, Tarragona, Catalonia, Spain.
Died30 May 1943(1943-05-30) (aged 60)
Mexico City, Mexico
OccupationDoctor, writer, politician

Jaume Aiguader i Miró[a] (or Jaime Aguadé Miró, 24 July 1882 – 30 May 1943) was a Spanish doctor, writer, social activist, politician and Catalan nationalist. He was one of the founders of the Republican Left of Catalonia political party.He became Mayor of Barcelona, and was a national deputy during the Second Spanish Republic.He was Minister of Labor and Social Assistance in the government of Juan Negrín during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39).After the fall of the Republic, he died in exile in Mexico.


Early years (1882–1923)

Jaume Aiguader i Miró was born in Reus, Tarragona, Catalonia on 24 July 1882, son of Jaume Aiguadé i Serra and Rosa Miró i Castells. His father owned a transport company, and the family was prosperous. He studied in Reus, and showed a lively interest in current affairs. He joined a group of young people, many with anarchist leanings, that included Joan Puig i Ferreter. Aiguader did not want to join the family business, and around 1900 moved to Barcelona to study medicine. He wrote in Spanish for the anarchist periodical La Alarma, and in Catalan for the magazine Germinal, both published in Reus. He ran a medical consultation in Barcelona in a working-class district, and sometimes waived his fees. He graduated in 1907 and moved to Madrid for his doctoral studies, obtaining a degree as a doctor in 1909.[1]

In 1912 Aiguader published a book on Social Aspects of Social Infections in Marriage. That year he married Carme Cortés i Lladó, from a family of doctors. They would have four children: Jaume Anton, Carme, Núria and Cristian. Aiguader lived in Reus from 1912 to 1914.[1] He moved to Barcelona and continued to practice medicine. In 1919 he was one of the founders of the Catalonia doctor's union. In 1921 he gained a position on the Municipal Medical Corps of Barcelona. From 1921 to 1925 he chaired the Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular, a cultural organization.[2]

Dictatorship (1923–33)

Aiguader held left-wing and Catalan nationalist political views. In 1923 he joined the Unió Socialista de Catalunya (USC, Socialist Union of Catalonia). The USC declined after 1923 during the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera. Aiguader became involved with the Estat Català founded by Francesc Macià, while retaining his USC membership. Due to his opposition to the regime his house was searched and he was arrested several times. He was held in the Model prison from November 1926 to May 1927.[2] During and after the dictatorship he published many works on scientific and social subjects in Catalan.[2]

As a leader of the Estat Català a l'interior Aiguader travelled to Brussels several times to meet with Macià. In 1929 he was more active in illegal politics, and to 1930 he participated in the Pact of San Sebastián.[3] In March 1931 Aiguader was a founder and director of the d'Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (Republican Left of Catalonia). He was among the candidates of the Esquerra who won the municipal elections of 12 April 1931.[4] He promised radical change. At one election meeting in April he said the changes being implemented in the Soviet Union were just an "anticipation" of the plans of the Esquerra.[5]

Aiguader joined Macià and other leaders in proclaiming the Catalan Republic within the Iberian Federation on 14 April 1931, and was proclaimed mayor of Barcelona.[3] The Barcelona city government struggled due to large debts, shortage of resources and lack of management skills. It did manage to improve tax collection and greatly increase the number of children in the new municipal schools. Aiguader was elected to the provisional government council representing Barcelona in May 1931.[3] He was elected to the national government as a deputy for Barcelona in the election of 28 June 1931.[6] His position as a director of the Esquerra was confirmed in the first general congress of the party in February 1932.[3]

Second Spanish Republic (1933–39)

At the second Esquerra party congress in June 1933, after the end of the dictatorship, Aiguader represented the Federation of Tarragona. In June 1933 he and other members of the Esquerra resigned and were restored to their positions by the new government. He held office until 31 July 1934.[3] He was elected to represent Barcelona in the national government in the general elections of 19 November 1933.[6] After the disturbances of 6 October 1934[b] he was arrested, as were other members of the government, and imprisoned on the ship Argentina, anchored in the port of Barcelona. His journal Pamflet was suspended. Despite being a deputy, he was held until May 1935, when he was released on parole. He resumed publication of Pamflet in February 1936.[8]

Aiguader was again elected to represent Barcelona in the national parliament in the general election of 16 February 1936.[6] When the Spanish Civil War began in July 1936 he organized and ran the Health Committee of the Antifascist Militias, created the first hospital in the Barcelona war zone, and was a member of the Health Council of War. In the first government of Francisco Largo Caballero from September to November 1936 he was undersecretary for Health and Welfare within the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Welfare, headed by Josep Tomàs i Piera.[9] He was a minister without portfolio representing the Esquerra in Largo Caballero's second government from 4 November 1936 to 17 May 1937, based in Valencia.[10] From 17 May 1937 to 16 August 1938 he was Minister of Labor and Social Welfare in the government of Juan Negrín.[11] He resigned in August 1938 in solidarity with the Basque Manuel de Irujo because he thought some of the government's decisions on war industries harmed the rights of Catalonia, and because he disagreed with the creation of special war tribunals.[4]

Later years

After the fall of Catalonia at the start of 1939 Aiguader went into exile in France. He worked with organizations that assisted refugees in Paris.[9] While in Paris he contributed to El Poble Català and the Revista de Catalunya.[4] After the occupation of France in June 1940 by the German forces, he lived in concealment in various French cities until he was able to escape to Mexico in 1941.[9] In Mexico he continued to contribute to El Poble Català, edited the Revista de Catalunya, Pamflet and Butlletí del Sindicat de Metges de Catalunya, and contributed to other publications. He wrote a biography of Miquel Servet, which was published in 1945, after his death.[4] Aiguader died in Mexico City on 30 May 1943.[1]

Jaume's younger brother Artemi Aiguader also became a politician, and during the Civil War was interior minister of the Generalitat of Catalonia.[12]

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