Juan Tomas de Salas

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Person.png Juan Tomas de Salas   WikidataRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Juan Tomás de Salas.png
BornApril 30, 1938
Died22 August 2000 (Age 62)
NationalitySpanish, Colombian
Alma materUniversidad Complutense de Madrid, Sorbonne
Liberal Spanish journalist and editor. His magazine was one of the most prestigious and widely read liberal publication in Spain during the Spanish Transition in the late 1970s.

Juan Tomás de Salas (1938–2000) was a Spanish journalist. His magazine was one of the most prestigious and widely read liberal publication in Spain during the Spanish Transition in the late 1970s. He was the founder of Cambio 16 and Diario 16.[1] In the 1960s he also worked for the the Economist and Agence France Presse.

Education and exile

Tomás de Salas studied law in Madrid and obtained a PhD in Economic History at La Sorbonne in Paris.[1] During his youth he also showed enthusiasm for journalism and interest in political activism. He began to engage in anti-Francoist activities, and in 1961 joined the Free Spanish Press Agency, associated with the People's Liberation Front.[2] In 1962, when police arrested nearly a hundred members of the organization, de Salas had to seek political asylum. He managed to take refuge in the embassy of Colombia in Spain, and moved to Bogotá.[2]

In Colombia he started working with the newspaper El Tiempo, and that is where he seriously began to be involved in journalism.[3] In 1966 he went to Paris, where he worked until 1968 in the Latin American service of Agence France Presse, and then to London, where he temporarily wrote for the Spanish edition of The Economist magazine, which would later be discontinued. But his dream was to return home and he was able to make it tangible in 1969, thanks to an amnesty decreed by Franco.


Chambers founded in 1971, along with 15 other journalists and media professionals the weekly Cambio 16. Under Francoist Spain, the magazine focused on issues of "Economy and Society", and after Franco's death, became a magazine of general information. The success of the publication led him to found a general newspaper called Diario 16, which was released on 18 October 1976.[3]

With Franco's death in November 1975, Cambio 16 emerged as the most prestigious and widely read liberal publication in Spain, and it achieved great prominence during the Spanish Transition, and as a nuisance for several Latin American dictatorships. There were weeks when it printed half a million copies. Salas enjoyed enormous power and respectability. It was one of the emblems of the Spanish transition to democracy. King Juan Carlos read it. Sometimes he went to dinner at his house.[1]

During 1980, the good sales of his two publications led him to form a media conglomerate. He created Grupo 16, under which magazines like Motor 16 or Marie Claire were also released.

However, during the 1990 publications went through a serious crisis, led by the poor economic performance of Diario 16. This crisis ended with the sale or even closure of almost all the magazines within his group.[4]

Diario 16 began bankruptcy proceedings in 1997 and Juan Tomás left the group entirely. In 1998 he launched the satirical weekly El gato encerrado,[5] but it failed for lack of funding and De Salas gave up all entrepreneurial activities.[1]

For the rest of his life he continued to publish opinion pieces in various publications. He adopted Colombian dual citizenship, for which he was entitled for his years of work there and as a reminder of the country that welcomed him during his exile.

Juan Tomas de Salas died on August 22, 2000 at age 62, victim of cancer.[1][3]


Event Participated in

Bilderberg/198411 May 198413 May 1984Sweden
The 32nd Bilderberg, held in Sweden
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