Lev Davidovich Bronstein, best known as Leon Trotsky , was a Russian revolutionary politician who founded the Red Army. He went down in history for being a key figure in Russia’s October Revolution and facing Joseph Stalin to defend the interests of working people and international socialism. He was expelled from Russia in early 1929.

The Soviet leader tried to lead a normal life in countries like France, Norway, and Turkey before arriving in Mexico in 1937 with the authorization of the Mexican government which was then led by Lázaro Cárdenas.

This is how EL UNIVERSAL reported Leon Trotsky’s arrival in Mexican territory in January 1937.

Trotsky to arrive in the capital tomorrow; he will respect the laws

Sunday, January 10, 1937

When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico
When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico

He has suffered no disturbances

Tampico, Tamaulipas – January 9, 1937

The “Ruth” steamboat that brought on board refugee Leon Trotsky arrived in Barra de Pánico today at 7:00 and remained docked on the river until crew members obtained information regarding the possible arrival of a plane that would take the guest to our country’s capital.

Migration authorities, military, civilians, doctors, and some journalists were on board “Ruth.” The latter interviewed the former Russian leader who said he is satisfied and grateful for the hospitality granted by Mexico’s President and people, of whom he is sure they will not be hostile.


All the rumors about the groups that comprise the CTM protesting the disembarkment of Lenin’s colleague have vanished because so far, at noon, there have been no shows of displeasure and everything remains calm.

Trotsky has expressed his great interest in knowing our capital, of which he said he has many good things abroad. Precautions taken by authorities in the port to protect the traveler have turned to be unnecessary.

When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico
When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico

The “Ruth” steamboat is consigned for the López Hermanos house

In Tampico

The “Ruth” steamboat arrived today at 14:05 bringing from Norway Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky, who was expected until tomorrow Sunday due to the news regarding the boat.

Mr. Trotsky arrived accompanied by his wife and secretary and was welcomed at the dock by painter Diego Rivera and his wife, as well as generals Beltrán and Guerrero, the commanders of the Military Area and the Square Garrison, correspondingly, and went directly to the Imperial Hotel, where he lodged at room 203.

Upon his arrival, Trotsky expressed his great satisfaction for being in Mexico and for the hospitality of our government as well as for the kind welcome from the Lázaro Cárdenas administration and the people, for he has only received kindness and considering from them.

The travelers might leave the hotel this afternoon to spend the night onboard a special vehicle that awaits them at the station to take take the train that leaves for San Luis Potosí at 4:30.


At first, it was said that Trotsky would leave for the capital on a military airplane flown by Captain Feliciano Flores, who arrived in Tampico at noon, but soon after there were instructions from the President to provide a special vehicle to the traveler and his companions to take the train on the early morning. Hence, he will arrive in Mexico City on Monday.

The entourage, comprised of the travelers and those who welcomed them at the dock, was accompanied to the hotel by some vehicles with guards, a precaution that seems superfluous because there have been no protests so far regarding the arrival of Mr. Trotsky and the city remains calm.

The Tampico Migration Service informed yesterday to the Interior Ministry to have endorsed the passports of Leon Trotsky and his wife, who disembarked at the aforementioned dock and presented valid documents according to what is established by the Migration Law.

Before landing, both immigrants paid the repatriation warrant worth MXN $500 through their representatives; this is a mandatory expense for every migrant that visits the country without being a tourist.

When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico
When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico

Police surveillance is requested

Yesterday, painter Diego Rivera, who flew directly from Tampico just after Leon Trotsky’s arrival, was at the police station with the sole purpose of preparing everything related to the security of the former U.S.S.R. war Commissioner once he arrived in the capital.

The painter and those who accompanied him talked to Colonel Luis Higgings, the Principal Officer of the Police Headquarters, saying they deemed it necessary to assign a number of competent detectives in order to look after the safety of Leon Trotsky after his arrival.

Colonel Higgins said that, as usual, the police were willing to fulfill its duty and that it would have happened even if their service had not been requested. Several detectives were assigned to the commission, so Trotsky will be completely safe.

The CTM forbids any protests against Leon Trotsky

Mr. Rodolfo Piña Soria, one of the secretaries of the Executive Committee of Mexico’s Workers Confederation asserted yesterday that the CTM has not authorized any of its groups to protest against the former Russian war commissioner Leon Trotsky and has forbidden its members to make any protests that could be interpreted as political. It has also forbidden to use its name for hostile acts.

The Communist Party’s attitude

Mexico’s Communist Party, through its general secretary Hernán Laborde, sent us the following statement:

“The Central Committee of Mexico’s Communist Party ratifies its stance against the presence of the counter-revolutionary Trotsky in Mexico for the reasons already exposed in public statements. Our Party makes a call to working masses to demand Trotsky’s removal as soon as possible.”

When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico
When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico

Trotsky’s remarks to EL UNIVERSAL

Tampico, Tamaulipas. Leon Trotsky gave EL UNIVERSAL the following statements:

“We left Norway after four months of confinement on December 19 at night, in the boat called ‘Ruth.’ The management of the trip was in charge of Norwegian authorities. The arrangements were done in absolute secrecy.

Norway’s government feared, according to my understanding, it would be the target of an attack by my political enemies .


We traveled almost 21 days and the ship had no cargo unless you take into account the 1,200 tons of seawater. During the travel, the weather conditions were favorable. We received an extremely kindful treatment from the captain and the crew. My wife and I wish, therefore, to express our gratefulness.

Regarding Norway’s socialist government, the only explanation for its attitude is the diplomatic and economic pressure is suffered from outside. I hope to be able to give my explanation about this matter with due clarity very soon.

When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico
When Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was offered asylum in Mexico

During our confinement, they approved two special laws: the Trotsky Law No. 2, which deprived me of the right to denounce my detractors and slanderers not only in Norway but on other countries.

Leon Trotsky in an interview with an EL UNIVERSAL journalist in 1937 – Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

In general terms, this meant denying my right to take the most essential measures, such as writing letters to obtain the necessary evidence to prove my detractors wrong. Fortunately, my son Leon, who lives in Paris, was able to publish recently The Red Book: On The Moscow Tria, and on this book’s 120 pages we can find irrefutable evidence to unmask the trap set by Moscow .


We received Mexico’s goodwill to grant me the right to asylum with gratitude for Norway’s harsh attitude made me even difficult to obtain the “visa” for other countries. The Mexican government can be sure we will not violate the conditions they have imposed and that meet my own desires: complete and absolute non-intervention in Mexico’s politics and abstaining from acts that can cause damage to Mexico’s relationship with other countries.

My literary activities have always been developed under my signature and under my responsibility and have never caused any legal complaint in any country. I’m sure they will not cause them in the future.

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