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In this essay, the writer Pedro Beroes discusses various aspects of the life and work of the Venezuelan painter César Rengifo, focusing on the visual art works he produced in Venezuela, Chile, and Mexico. Beroes mentions the nationalist tone of Rengifo’s work and traces that particular influence to the artist’s training at the Academia de San Carlos in Mexico City, where he came in contact with Mexico’s maestros in the field of mural painting. Regarding Rengifo’s time in Mexico, Beroes describes his cultural and political activities there, and highlights his position on matters such as the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), the struggle for democracy in Venezuela (after several military dictatorships), and his membership in the Mexican Communist Party, which clearly revealed his political leanings. Beroes also mentions the Venezuelan and international connections that Rengifo pursued on behalf of his political and cultural activism. The essay describes Rengifo’s association with a large group of Venezuelans who had chosen to live in exile in Mexico as a result of the harsh persecution and political conflict in their own country.
The details provided by the writer, university professor, and social communicator Pedro Beroes (1912–2000) are the result of his close friendship with César Rengifo (1915?80). Beroes lived with the Venezuelan painter in Mexico and closely observed his life and work there. The two men also saw eye-to-eye on political and cultural matters, and volunteered to fight in Spain for the international brigades that supported the Second Republic, though that goal never came to fruition. They also associated with important representatives of art, culture, and politics from Mexico and other Latin American countries. Beroes’ own activism and flair for history make this essay one of the most important documents every written about Rengifo’s time in Mexico, in terms of both its many hitherto unpublished details and its spirited account of the struggle for democracy in Venezuela at that time.