Padura: Trotsky’s assassination and the voracity of power

A report by Lorena Cantó for EFE.

August 21 marks the 80th anniversary of the assassination of Leon Trotsky. Leonardo Padura, author of “The Man Who Loved Dogs,” again delves into the subject.

The assassination in Mexico of Leon Trotsky at the hands of Spaniard Ramón Mercader by orders of Joseph Stalin illustrates “how tremendous this need for power to take up all possible spaces can be,” a scenario that is repeated throughout history, in the opinion of Cuban writer Leonardo Padura.

When the 80th anniversary of the crime that, for Padura, initiated the path of no return to the end of the Russian communist utopia, the writer reflects in an interview on the still valid lessons of that historical episode.

Padura: “I always say that what led me to have the idea of ​​writing this novel was my ignorance, a logical and programmed ignorance.”

The novel The Man Who Loved Dogs (2009) has made him an essential reference when talking about the murder of Trotsky, because the Havanan author dedicated five years of exhaustive investigation to the pilgrimage in exile of the Russian intellectual and reconstructing the life history of his murderer, to later be able to narrate it.


“What matters above all is the symbolic character of that murder. The Trotsky whose assassination was ordered by Stalin at that time by Ramón Mercader occurs at a time when Trotsky is more marginalized than ever, has less power than ever…, even economically he was in an absolutely precarious situation, and yet he was a light and Stalin needed to turn off that light,” says Padura.

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