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This document reports that a Soviet spy gained entry [into Mexico] and that this person came to work with the organizers of the Congreso de la Paz [Peace Conference]. The mural Pesadilla de guerra y sueño de paz [The Nightmare of War and the Dream of Peace] rendered by Diego Rivera was one way of disseminating communism and promoting the Peace Conference. The complaint also cites Fernando Gamboa, a "prominent communist" who served as an instrument of the PCM [Mexican Communist Party], suggesting to Rivera that he insert the figure of Stalin in the mural. Moreover, the document states that there was a plan to gather signatures for organizing the conference.
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In this incident, the composer who was director of the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes (INBA), Carlos Chávez (1899-1978) and the curator Fernando Gamboa (1908-90) were subject to criticism from both ends of the political spectrum. Perhaps it seemed contradictory that they supported communist painters and at the same time rejected some of their paintings. The members of the Frente Nacional de Artes Plásticas [National Visual Arts Front] complained about discrimination against the mural and called Chávez and Gamboa traitors for their failure to support works with political background. From the other extreme, they were accused of being “rojillos” [leftists] and even “Soviet spies.” This short newspaper article identifies the curator as an accomplice of Rivera: “Gamboa, the prominent communist, also served as an instrument, suggesting to Rivera that he place the figure of Stalin [in a mural], ridicule other countries, and of course, gather signatures for the Congreso de la Paz.”
Given the delicate political environment that was a pervasive element of life during the Cold War years, the director Chávez felt obligated to write a letter denying his links with communism. On the other hand, when Gamboa was asked in an interview what he thought about the incident, he preferred to remain silent. Both officials were taken off the hook when the Frente de Pintores Revolucionarios [Revolutionary Painters Front] declared that the responsibility should be pinned on the government, not exclusively on Chávez and Gamboa.