At 63 years old, the Division General of the Civil Guard, Antonio Dichas Gómez, has been in an active reserve since 2013. Born in La Zarza, but raised in Ibahernando (Cáceres), he has dedicated his entire life to the Civil Guard.
Married to a woman from Cáceres and father of three children, he also has a degree in Law and a diploma in Criminology. He is in possession of, among others, decorations. of the Grand Cross of Military Merit with a white badge, the Grand Cross of the Royal and Military Order of San Hermenegildo or the Cross of San Raimundo de Peñafort.
Why did you decide to become a Civil Guard?
At 16 years old, I didn’t know what to study. Back then, you could only study Medicine, Chemistry or Teaching in Badajoz, but none of them caught my attention.
One day a relative showed up at my house who was a lieutenant in the Civil Guard and had a lot of influence in the family. He asked me if I didn’t want to do the same as him, a question that would be the trigger for me to decide to enter the General Military Academy of Zaragoza and become an Officer of the Civil Guard.
Where does your vocation come from?
I don’t know, I guess from childhood. I remember playing “war” with my friends in Ibahernando, assigning us the jobs of soldier, captain, sergeant… In addition, I saw the town’s civil guards with their uniforms, weapons, etc.
How has the Institution evolved since its entry to the present?
For those of us who have experienced directly and from the front row the development of the Civil Guard Corps in these last almost fifty years, it is difficult for us to understand that such an enormous and profound change could have occurred peacefully, at all levels, in our Institution. . This evolution, adapting to the continuous political, social, and economic changes, modifying methods and procedures of action, assuming with absolute naturalness and speed the new management and research technologies, has been, without a doubt, the great challenge faced by a Body as closed and hermetic as the world of the tricorn hat always was. And we have done it seemingly effortlessly, almost without realizing it. Our Corps today is nothing like the institution I joined so many years ago.
What have been the hardest moments of your professional life?
After so many years of professional life and almost always in destinations closely related to crime, organized crime, drugs, etc. To say that everything has been a bed of roses would be hard to believe.
I have gone through dangerous moments from the point of view of personal risk, moments with complicated professional problems, others surrounded by dramatic circumstances, crimes, murders, the drama of immigration… But I must say, I suppose it is selective memory or simply because I always lived these matters from a professional point of view, which I do not remember as moments of special hardness.
And the best?
Those who know me, those who know me regularly, often hear me say that I have been and am a lucky man, a lucky man in every sense. I have lived my life with intensity, making the most of every moment both personally and professionally, and therefore, when I look back I only see moments, flashes, continuous flashes that are always pleasant. It is very difficult for me to distinguish or classify what my best moments have been.
Of the professional destinations you have had, which one would you choose? Because?
In all my destinations I have been happy. I remember the wonderful experiences and sensations of my first assignment as a lieutenant in Villanueva del Fresno. It was my first real experience with the Civil Guard, with guards twice my age, the nights on the border, the townspeople…
I cannot forget my first contacts with the investigation, as captain of the Badajoz Information Service, my first important arrests, the pride of solving crimes and seeing its reflection in the press accompanied with congratulations and decorations.
I also remember with satisfaction my time as captain of the Fiscal and Anti-Drug Group of Andalusia, Ceuta and Melilla. The constant, incessant work, jumping from one province to another, from one continent to another, following the drug and smuggling organizations that proliferated so much throughout that area. At that time I took my first course abroad, in Washington, with the DEA, the North American anti-drug body.
The experience accumulated in that destination and some important successes obtained, led to me being promoted to lieutenant colonel to direct the regional services of the Information Corps, Judicial Police and Prosecutors, in an area like Andalusia.
Regarding my destiny as Chief of Command of Cádiz, according to my entire family it is the place where we have been happiest. For the first time I had the fortune of fully managing a large unit of the Corps. It was an extraordinary time. I think that Cádiz is the most pleasant place in the world to live, its people, its joy, its climate, its sea, its beach… Only immigration, with the enormous drama that underlies it, could tarnish those wonderful years.
The great joy that came with being promoted to General was doubled with the assignment precisely to the Andalusian Zone. Its territorial extension, its number of inhabitants, its tourist problems, its proximity to Morocco for the purposes of drugs and immigration and the 16,000 civil guards that make it up make it the most important Zone. Finally, after my promotion to Major General, I was assigned to the Traffic Group. Fewer civil guards than in Andalusia, 10,000, but all of them specialized in road safety. It was the Civil Guard Unit with the most impact both nationally and internationally and the one with the greatest risk, and the most deaths and injuries in the act of service.
I ended up falling in love with this Unit in charge of ensuring the safety of so many millions of movements of people and goods in Spain.
Ten years ago he was the youngest general in the Civil Guard. What did it mean to you?
Nothing special. I considered it an award and felt only the satisfaction of having done my job well for so many years.
If you had not been a Civil Guard, what do you think you would have dedicated yourself to?
I never thought about it, but I also don’t see myself being anything else and anywhere else than with my beloved Civil Guard.
What sections or aspects remain to be improved in the Civil Guard?
The Civil Guard is a huge machine perfectly oiled and ready to always march forward, slowly but surely. If the political powers and their representatives in charge of the Corps respect its traditional values that have made it deserve to always be among the institutions most valued by the Spanish people, and, without prejudice to developing the policies dictated by the Government, they allow those responsible for the different levels of the Corps, the machinery is reliable enough to function perfectly and time and needs will make it constantly improve.
What memories do you have of your childhood or adolescence in La Zarza?
When I was three years old, my parents moved, for work reasons, to Ibahernando, which was the town where I really grew up. We came to La Zarza on vacations, parties, etc. I still have some childhood friends.
About adolescence, how not to remember the gang and the first loves that they say are never forgotten. Seve, Juan el Trini, José from the store, Quiquino from the doorways, among other friends and Cati Naranjo, her sister Marcela, Ana Guerrero, María Jesús, etc., among the dear friends.
And in Ibahernando?
In Ibahernando, where my parents were very loved and respected, I spent my childhood and part of my youth. There he knows me and I know everyone, I have great friends and above all there is my Virgen de la Jara, to whom my mother instilled devotion in me and to whom I gave my General’s sash not long ago. I pray to him every time I go to or from Madrid.
Do you often come to La Zarza?
Unfortunately I go less and less. Because when I go there, apart from walking around my parents’ house and doing some shopping, I don’t usually see any of my friends, some because they don’t live there and others because they don’t go out. I normally go on August 5th and to the fair in September.
What are you currently doing?
My wife says that I married the Civil Guard and then her because of my hyperactivity. Currently, to fill my free time and continue to be involved with the Corps, I teach classes in Badajoz at a preparatory Academy for entry into the Civil Guard.
What hobbies do you have?
My greatest hobby is friends and thank God I have some spread across half the world, half of Spain and half of Extremadura.
In my free time I still really like flamenco, my garden and I dedicate the occasional hour or so to the bicycle taking walks along the beautiful banks of the Guadiana, as it passes through Badajoz.