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Encyclopedia > Vittorio Vidali

Vittorio Vidali (1900, Trieste1983; aka Vittorio Vidale, Enea Sormenti, Jacobo Hurwitz Zender, Carlos Contreras, "Comandante Carlos") was an Italian-born Stalinist assassin and what is commonly called a "communist agent". Outside of Spain (where Vidali is said to have killed 400), he is known primarily for orchestrating the deaths in Mexico of Julio Antonio Mella and Joseph Stalin's rival Leon Trotsky, and the public notoriety of his lurid love life. 1900 (MCM) is a common year starting on Monday. ... Trieste (Latin Tergeste, Italian Trieste, German and Friulian Triest, Slovenian and Croatian Trst) is a city and port in northeastern Italy right on the border to Slovenia. ... 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Stalinism is a term used to describe a form of authoritarian communist state, much like the political regime of Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. ... Jack Ruby murdered the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, in a very public manner. ... Communism refers to a conjectured future classless, stateless social organization based upon common ownership of the means of production, and can be classified as a branch of the broader socialist movement. ... An agent is an autonomous entity with an ontological commitment and agenda of its own. ... Julio Antonio Mella (25 March 1903 - 10 January 1929) had been a founder of the Cuban Communist Party [1]. Mella studied law in the University of Havana until he was expelled in 1925 [2] and is considered at hero by the present Cuban Government e. ... (help· info) (IPA:) (Russian, in full: Иосиф Виссарионович Сталин (Iosif Vissarionovich Stalin), born Джугашвили (Dzhugashvili), Georgian: იოსებ ჯუღაშვილი (Ioseb Jughashvili); (December 18 [O.S. December 6] 1878 – March 5, 1953) was the leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s to his death in 1953 and General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist... Leon Trotsky (help· info) (Russian: Лев Давидович Троцкий; also transliterated Leo, Lev, Trotskii, Trotski, Trotskij and Trotzky) (November 7 [O.S. October 26] 1879 – August 21, 1940), born Lev Davidovich Bronstein (Лев Давидович Бронштейн), was a Bolshevik revolutionary and Marxist theorist. ...

He is described as a Bolshevik in the file kept on him by the police in Fascist Italy. Vidali is said to have been one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party, but was expelled from the country after Benito Mussolini ascended to power in 1922. Leaders of the Bolshevik Party and the Communist International, a painting by Malcolm McAllister on the Pathfinder Mural in New York City and on the cover of the book Lenin’s Final Fight published by Pathfinder. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Partito Comunista Italiano (PCI) or Italian Communist Party emerged as Partito Comunista dItalia or Communist Party of Italy from a secession by the Leninist comunisti puri tendency from the Italian Socialist Party (PSI) during that bodys congress on 21 January 1921 at Livorno. ... Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (July 29, 1883 – April 28, 1945) led Italy from 1922 to 1943. ... 1922 (MCMXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ...


Comintern agent

After Italy, Vidali relocated to Moscow, where he was enlisted into the NKVD. While in the Soviet Union, he was officially rebuked for indulging in love affairs (Cacucci, 1999). With Socorro Rojo Internacional as his cover, Vidali was sent by the Comintern to Mexico to discipline the Mexican Communist Party. His time there brought Vidali's romantic involvement with communist photographer Tina Modotti, who had previously been Diego Rivera's lover. Moscow (Russian: Москва́, Moskva, IPA: (help· info)) is the capital of Russia and the countrys principal political, economic, financial, educational and transportation center, located on the river Moskva. ... Black Ravens by Boris Vladimirski, a depiction of the cars used by NKVD agents. ... International Red Aid (in Spanish, Socorro Rojo Internacional or SRI) was a Spanish Soviet organization affiliated with the Comintern, making its first appearance in Spain as a charity organization during the workers’ revolt of October 1934 in Asturias. ... The Comintern (from Russian Коммунистический Интернационал (Kommunisticheskiy Internatsional) – Communist International), also known as the Third International, was an independent international Communist organization founded in March 1919 by Vladmir Lenin, Leon Trotsky and the Russian Communist Party (bolshevik), which intended to fight by all available means, including armed force, for the overthrow of... The Mexican Communist Party (Spanish: Partido Comunista Mexicano, PCM) was a communist party in Mexico. ... Tina Modotti in the 1920 film, Tina Modotti (1896 – 1942) was born Assunta Adelaide Luigia Modotti Mondini in Udine, Italy. ... Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo (photographer: Carl Van Vechten) Diego Rivera (born December 13, 1886 in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico – died November 24, 1957)), full name Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez) was a cubist painter...

The Murder of Julio Mella

Vidali’s interest in Modotti is believed to be related to the killing of her then current lover, Cuban communist Julio Antonio Mella, a founder of the Stalinist version of the Communist Party of Cuba [1] (Tennant, 1999). Mella had fled Cuba in Gerardo Machado’s time, to join and then leave the Mexican Communist Party. Julio Antonio Mella (25 March 1903 - 10 January 1929) had been a founder of the Cuban Communist Party [1]. Mella studied law in the University of Havana until he was expelled in 1925 [2] and is considered at hero by the present Cuban Government e. ... The Communist Party of Cuba (Spanish: Partido Comunista de Cuba, PCC) is the ruling party of Cuba. ... Gerardo Machado, Time, 1933 Gerardo Machado (y Morales) (28 September 1871, Camajani – 29 March 1939, Miami Beach, Florida) was a Cuban general of Cuban War of Independence and the 5th president of Cuba. ...

Many political murders, often of communist backsliders, have been attributed to Vidali's "bloody hand." The famous operative is immortalized in Diego Rivera's mural In the Arsenal [2]. The extreme right [as you face it] of the mural shows Tina Modotti holding a belt of ammunition. Vidali's face, partly hidden, stares suspiciously from under a black hat, as he peers over her shoulder, while Modotti gazes lovingly at Julio Antonio Mella (shown with light colored hat) - it is noted that in an avowedly communist Italian web site Mella, Modotti and Vidali are cropped from the image [3]. A mural by brightens the walls of this air-raid shelters in south London. ...

Given the closeness of Diego Rivera to the people involved, and the fact that the painting is said to slightly predate the murder, some consider it to be evidence of Vidali's and Rivera's involvement in Mella's assassination, also related to Rivera's subsequent expulsion from the Mexican Communist Party.

Vidali is believed to have used the revolver he commonly carried to murder Mella, rather than the .45 ACP 1911 Colt Automatic that Modotti kept in her house. The assassination took place in Mexico City on January 10, 1929, one month after Mella was expelled from the Mexican Communist Party for association with Trotskyists. Mella had rejoined the party just two weeks prior to his death, although this circumstance -like much else related to Vidali- is murky. The Colt Single Action Army, one of the most popular revolvers of all time A revolver is a multishot firearm, usually a handgun, in which the rounds are held in a revolving cylinder that rotates to fire them through a single barrel. ... The . ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Mexico City (Spanish: Ciudad de México) is the name of a megacity located in the Valley of Mexico (Valle de México), a large valley in the high plateaus (altiplano) at the center of Mexico, about 2,240 metres (7,349 feet) above sea-level, surrounded on most sides... January 10 is the 10th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. ...

After Mella's death Vidali "inherited" Modotti. She as well is believed to have acted as an assassin [4]. Modotti by Mella's side as he was shot, and was holding his arm in a manner which may be likened to their pose in Rivera's mural. Vidali's rivalry for Tina Modotti's affections may have been partial motive for the murder.

The Mella assassination illustrates the complexity of the issues, and demonstrates Vidali and his superiors' skills at obfuscation and covering tracks. Officially, José Agustín López (said to have no particular political affiliations) was charged with Mella’s murder, but two other known criminals, Jose Magriñat and Antonio Sanabría, were also suspect. The police investigators were given conflicting eyewitness reports. In one version, Mella and Modotti were walking alone, whereas another stated that Vidali was walking together with the two. Since Mella's wounds were from point-blank range, neither Modotti or Vidali were injured, and, as Modotti had given a false name to the investigators, the police were suspicious of her alibi - she was arrested, but released soon after. Magriñat, himself in custody, was also set free: apparently a loose end, he was ultimately killed in Cuba (allegedly by communists) in 1933 (Albers, 2002). Point-blank range is the distance between a gun and a target such that it requires minimal effort in aiming it, in particular no allowance needs to be made for the effects of gravity, target movement or wind in aiming the projectile. ... for alibi used in the sense of a legal defense, see the Wiktionary entry Alibi Alibi is a 1929 film written by Elaine S. Carrington, J.C. Nugent, C. Gardner Sullivan, Roland West and John Griffith Wray, from the play Nightstick by Carrington, Nugent and Wray. ...

The official position of the present Cuban government is still that Mella was killed on Machado's orders, but it too admits that Tina Modotti was a Stalinist operative in a number of countries. Yet even in Cuba there are those who seem to believe that Vidali was responsible [5]. How Machado’s men could have operated alone and independently in the highly politicized environment of Mexico City is not explained. Adding to the mystery, according to Abers (2002), both Magriñat and Rivera (who had just returned from Cuba) would have warned Mella that he was in danger. [6].

The Spanish Civil War

After Mexico, Vidali and Modotti left for Spain during the Spanish Civil War, where Vidali headed the anti-Trotskyist faction of the International Brigades [7]. He is thought to have participated in the assassinations of many who were believed to be anti-Stalinist there, in collaboration with GPU agent Iosif Romualdovich Grigulevich. In Republican Spain, many of the "accidental deaths" of fellow activists, especially those of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification [8] and probably the "disappearance" [9] of their leader Andreu Nin [10] were said to have been carried out under his direction. As a result, Vidali was greatly feared. The Spanish Civil War (July 1936–April 1939) was a conflict in which the incumbent Second Spanish Republic and political left-wing groups fought against a right-wing nationalist insurrection led by General Francisco Franco, who eventually succeeded in ousting the Republican government and establishing a dictatorship. ... Blason of the International Brigades The International Brigades were Republican military units in the Spanish Civil War, formed of many non-state sponsored volunteers of different countries who travelled to Spain, to fight for the legitimate, elected government in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939. ... Soviet poster of the 1920s: The GPU strikes on the head the counter-revolutionary saboteur State Political Administration was the secret police of the RSFSR and USSR until 1934. ... Iosif Romualdovich Grigulevich (1913-1988), worked for the NKVD with codenames MAKS and FELIPE. He was one of the most remarkable Soviet illegal operatives (an agent without diplomatic cover) during the 1930s and 1940s. ... History of Spain series Prehistoric Spain Roman Spain Medieval Spain -Visigoths -Al-Andalus -Age of Reconquest Age of Expansion Age of Enlightenment Reaction and Revolution First Spanish Republic The Restoration Second Spanish Republic Spanish Civil War The Dictatorship Modern Spain Topics Economic History Military History Social History Flag of the... The Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM, Spanish: Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista; Catalan: Partit Obrer dUnificació Marxista) was a Spanish political party around the time of the Spanish Civil War. ... Andreu Nin (1892-1937) was the leader of the pro-Trotskyist POUM (Unified Marxist Workers Party) which was founded after a merger of Izquierda Communista and Bloc Obrer Camperol (worker and Peasant Bloc), led by Joaquin Maurin. ...

In Mexico and Italy

Back in Mexico, Vidali was definitely involved in the May 24, 1940 failed frontal assault on Trotsky's residence in Mexico City, along with Grigulevich and Mexican painter David Alfaro Siqueiros. Vidali is thought to have been involved with the insertion of assassin Ramón Mercader into Trotsky's inner circle - Mercader was to kill Trotsky later that year. May 24 is the 144th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (145th in leap years). ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... David Alfaro Siqueiros (December 29, 1896 - January 6, 1974) was a Mexican painter and muralist. ... Ramón Mercader Jaime Ramón Mercader del Río Hernández (February 7, 1914 – October 18, 1978) was a Spanish Communist who served as a foreign agent of the NKVD during Joseph Stalins time as ruler of the USSR. In that role, he became famous as the assassin...

Vittorio Vidali returned to Trieste in 1947, to become a high ranking communist party member, and served as a member of Parliament. He lived merc to ripe old age. 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Parliament of Italy (Italian: Parlamento Italiano) is the national parliament of Italy. ...


The circumstances relating to Vittorio Vidali, Ramón Mercader and the other assassins (Trotsky's murder, the lethal purges of agents in the Soviet Union and Fulgencio Batista's Cuba (such as Sandalio Junco [11], [12]), as well as Vidali's travels through Cuba before and after Fidel Castro's coming to power, and his presence in Turkey, Mexico, Spain, have drawn comparison with a James Bond story [13]. Tina Modotti is said to have told Valentin González in Spain, after he had decided not to kill Vidali, words to the effect: "You should have shot him, I hate him". Yet she continued: "I have to follow him until I die" (which she in fact did) [14]. Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar General Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar (January 16, 1901 – August 6, 1973) was the de facto leader of Cuba from 1933 to 1940 and the countrys de jure President from 1940 to 1944 and the countrys unchallenged leader, after a coup, from 1952... Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz (pron. ... The James Bond 007 gun logo James Bond, also known as 007 (pronounced double-oh seven), is a fictional British spy created by writer Ian Fleming in 1953. ... Valentin González González (Malcocinado, 1909 - Madrid, 1983) was a Republican military commander during the Spanish Civil War. ...

External links

  • Julio Mella [15]
  • Cuban Communist History [16]
  • Modotti [17]

Printed sources

  • Albers, Patricia 2002 Shadows, Fire, Snow: The Life of Tina Modotti. Clarkson Potter 382 pages; ISBN 0-609-60069-9
  • Cacucci, Pino (Translated by Patricia J. Duncan) 1999 Tina Modotti: A Life. St. Martin's Press 225 pages; ISBN 0-312-20036-26
  • González Aguayo, Rosa María, René Aguilar Díaz, Gerardo Aragón Carrillo, Eduardo Morales Trujado, Jaime Peralta Benitez, and Enrique Salame Méndez (accessed 05/12/2005) Diego Rivera, Chapingo, Capilla Riveriana. Universidad Autónoma de Chapingo. http://www.chapingo.mx/academicos/capilla/Nrev/ND1.htm
  • Ross, Marjorie 2004 El secreto encanto de la KGB: las cinco vidas de Iósif Griguliévich, editorial Farben/Norma, Costa Rica
  • Tennant, Gary 1999 Dissident Cuban communism: the case of Trotskyism, 1932-1965 PhD Thesis, University of Bradford, England . http://www.cubantrotskyism.net/PhD/central.html
  • Thomas, Hugh 1997 The Spanish Civil War. Harper and Row, New York Revised and enlarged edition. ISBN 0060142782
  • Thomas, Hugh 1998 Cuba or the Pursuit of Freedom, Da Capo Press; Updated edition (April, 1998) ISBN: 0306808277

  Results from FactBites:
Vittorio Vidali - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1118 words)
Vidali is said to have been one of the founders of the Italian Communist Party, but was expelled from the country after Benito Mussolini ascended to power in 1922.
Vidali’s interest in Modotti is believed to be related to the killing of her then current lover, Cuban communist Julio Antonio Mella, a founder of the Stalinist version of the Communist Party of Cuba [1] (Tennant, 1999).
Vidali is believed to have used the revolver he commonly carried to murder Mella, rather than the.45 ACP 1911 Colt Automatic that Modotti kept in her house.
Vittorio Vidali - definition of Vittorio Vidali in Encyclopedia (182 words)
He has been described by various different authors as "ruthless," violent," unscrupulous," and at best, "resourceful." One of the founders of the Italian Communist Party, Vidali was expelled from Italy when the Fascists took over and moved to Moscow where his talents and abilities and loyalties were more appreciated.
He seems to have fallen in love with photographer Tina Modotti, fueling suspicions that he might have had a hand in Mella's killing.
Vidali is belived to have been instrumental in the May 23, 1940 attempt on Leon Trotsky's life and in the eventual assination of Trotsky on August 20, 1940.
  More results at FactBites »



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