Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Barbara Barbieri McGrath (1953–) Biography - Personal to Fridtjof Nansen (1861–1930) Biography » Miguel Mármol: 1905-1993: Union Activist Biography - Raised In Poverty, Learned Shoemaking And Politics, Joined The Workers' Movement, Survived His Execution

Miguel Mármol: 1905-1993: Union Activist - Joined The Workers' Movement

organized communist salvador hiding

Mármol threw himself into the organized workers' movement. He read voraciously and studied at the People's University and at schools run by the Communist International. Dividing his time between San Salvador and San Martín, Mármol organized meetings and distributed The Hammer, a newspaper published by the Regional Federation of Workers of El Salvador.

Mármol helped organize the Ilopango Society of Workers, Peasants, and Fishermen. The group cared for the sick; built and repaired roads; established a People's University and cultural center; launched a campaign against alcohol; and built a loan fund so that the women fish sellers could borrow money at reasonable rates. The Society initiated a cooperative movement among the fishermen to create beach access and stop the use of dynamite and poisons. However, when Mármol began organizing similar unions in other communities, government persecution intensified and he was forced into hiding.

With other members of the Regional Federation, Mármol organized strikes against landowners and construction companies for better wages and improved working and living conditions. In 1930 they founded the Salvadoran CP and Mármol was elected secretary of the Young Communist League. His family shared a tiny rented room with another family—seven people in all. While the men organized, the women sold fruit and tortillas to survive.

Mármol traveled to Moscow in 1930 as the Regional Federation's first official delegate to the World Congress of Red Trade Unions. However, as a recognized communist, his return to El Salvador was difficult. After hiding in Paris for almost a month, he sailed for Cuba where he was arrested as a Japanese spy. He talked his way out of prison and returned to Guatemala where, after a month, he was able to enter El Salvador despite a warrant for his arrest. As he began relaying his Moscow experiences to large audiences, the authorities forced him underground. In hiding, he organized and directed the Young Communist League and local committees.


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