Return to Coyoacán! This time, Professor Gómez and I traveled back into the district in order to visit the homes of Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky. On the car ride over, Professor Gómez described Coyocán – much as Salvador had described it to me a few days before – as one of the youngest, trendiest areas of the city, where real estate is highly coveted.
It certainly is colorful! Although our mission to visit Kahlo’s home was unsuccessful (lines out the door and only about twenty minutes remaining before it would close), we got to see the deep, vibrant, almost periwinkle color blue of the outside walls. And the wall surrounding Trotsky’s compound was covered with a red and black mural of the Russian’s face.
Stalin had expelled Trotsky from Russia in 1929 for Trotsky’s sharp and vocal critiques of the Stalinist regime, and in 1936 Trotsky received asylum in Mexico City. Although Trotsky died thirty years before the guerrilla women began their Marxist struggle, the fact of Trotsky’s asylum in Mexico evidences a longstanding Mexican interest in the Communist cause. Trotsky and his wife had originally moved into Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s Coyoacán home – during which time Trotsky and Frida famously had an affair – but the Trotsky household moved to a heavily fortified compound in the same district shortly thereafter, and it was there that Trotsky was assassinated in 1940. The estate consists of a house, courtyard, guards’ quarters and animal holding areas, all surrounded by a wall with watch towers. It is clear from the fortifications that surround Trotsky’s last home that he had known for many years before his death that Stalin’s supporters, indeed Stalin himself, wished him dead.
My second trip into Coyoacán brought a slew of new adventures. We stopped at an open market to buy fruit, a bird told my fortune, and a magazine salesperson caught Professor Gómez in conversation for about 15 minutes as he explained his own, highly politicized view of the Mexican revolution.