Sir: Phil Davison's report alleging that the great Mexican artist Diego Rivera was an FBI informant who betrayed his friends to the American government is wrong ('Diego Rivera's dirty little secret', 25 November). It is true that American diplomats sought out Rivera when he was expelled from the Mexican Communist Party to discover what they could about the 'Communist conspiracy' that so fascinated J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, and the State Department. It is also true that he gave them colourful accounts of the influence of Stalin's GPU (a forerunner of the KGB) in the US and Mexican Communist parties, information he had gleaned from his stormy friendship with the exiled Bolshevik leader, Leon Trotsky.
That Rivera thought the FBI would be sympathetic to the plight of Trotskyists, nationalists and other revolutionaries in the face of GPU persecution shows his considerable political confusion. However, this was an attitude shared by many in Trotsky's household who, in their isolation and adversity, sought assistance from any camp, the imperialist included, in an effort to save him from GPU assassination. In some cases, it led to a lifelong association with the FBI.
Your report's only 'proof' that Rivera was a traitor rests on two pieces of information: that the FBI tailed him throughout a visit to America and also tapped his phone. But surely this is evidence that Rivera was not an FBI agent but an FBI target] Not, it seems, to today's sleuths; they come not simply to revise history but to falsify it.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies