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MEXICO: Marx in Hock

1 minute read

In the mahogany-paneled study of his home in suburban San Angel, Mexico’s Red-tinged labor leader, Vicente Lombardo Toledano, has amassed a library of 2,500 books. It includes many prized volumes of Mexican history, gilt-titled editions of Marx, Engels, Hegel, Kant, Darwin and Spencer. Two years ago, in order to help finance his left-wing Popular Party, Lombardo put up his library as collateral for a 6,000-peso ($696) loan from the government’s cooperative bank.

Last week the note fell due. Since the party till was empty, and its boss short of cash, the government bank attached 200 of the most valuable books in Lombardo’s library.

The dunning bank thoughtfully appointed Lombardo custodian of the books until loan and interest were paid. The labor leader’s followers took up a colecta among Mexico City intellectuals and trade unionists; they hoped to rescue the library within a week or so. A sympathetic friend remarked that now was a time for Moscow gold to come to the rescue, if there were any around. Said Lombardo, puffing on his pipe: “That’s a good idea. I never thought of it.”

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