Av. Río Churubusco 410, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX
55 5658 8732
Leon Trotsky was one of the leading figures of the Russian communist revolution alongside Vladimir Lenin, he dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of the working class in the Soviet Union until Lenin died and Joseph Stalin rose to power. Trotsky eventually lost his influence and position within the Stalin regime and was finally sent into exile in 1929. He moved around several countries in the next few years, including Turkey, France, and Norway, but always found himself under close surveillance by the authorities, who watched his every move and inspected his correspondence, both ingoing and outgoing. He didn’t make matters any better by continuing to be an open critic of Stalin’s regime and wrote prolifically about the political situation in his country and was one of his most vocal critics.
His situation became untenable in Norway, with the authorities keeping him under house arrest 22 hours a day (he and his wife were allowed 1 hour to walk around the farm) and finally put him on an oil tanker called the Ruth and sent him out of the country. Fellow communist enthusiasts Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, eccentric as ever, thought it would be a good idea to bring Trotsky to Mexico and made the proper arrangements, Frida even went to the port of Tampico to welcome the oil tanker with Trotsky on it in January of 1937. Mexico’s then-president Lázaro Cárdenas didn’t see the harm in the whole situation and even arranged for his official train to bring Trotsky and his entourage to Mexico City.
Trotsky lived at Frida & Diego’s La Casa Azul in Coyoacán for a couple of years until he had a falling out with Rivera in 1939, it’s alleged Trotsky had an affair with Kahlo. And he finally settled with this family and bodyguards at a house of his own choosing, also in Coyoacán a few blocks from Frida & Diego. Unfortunately, Stalin was a person that knew how to hold a grudge and on August 20, 1940, Trotsky was murdered with an ice ax by Spanish-born Soviet agent Ramón Mercader, after a fierce struggle.
The house, the room, and the whole crime scene of the incident remain intact as it was that fateful day over 80 years ago. It’s now the Museo Casa de León Trotsky on Avenida Río Churubusco #410 in Coyoacán and it’s operated by his grandson Esteban Volkov. Access costs $50 pesos and it’s a couple of long blocks away from either Metro station “Coyoacán” or “Eje Central”. The Trotsky house is a fascinating place that celebrates the life and times of the man that was murdered there. A stone stele, designed by architect Juan O’Gorman, contains Trotsky’s ashes and is located in the main garden of the house, the Soviet hammer and sickle imprinted on the stone figure in remembrance of what the man that lived here believed in and fought for.