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Ramon Mercader
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    (February 7, 1913-October 18, 1978)
    Born in Barcelona, Spain
    Birth name was Jamie Ramon Mercader del Rio
    Spanish Communist
    Assassinated Leon Trotsky
    Imprisoned in Mexico for 20 years (1940-60)
    After his release, lived in the Soviet Union and Cuba
    He used the aliases Jacques Mornard, Frank Jacson and Jacques Vendendreschd, and had the name Ramon Ivanovich Lopez inscribed on his tombstone.
    He seduced one of Trotsky's followers, Sylvia Ageloff, in order to be admitted to his inner circle.
    His initial role was to scout out Trotsky's villa to get info for planning an attack by a 20-man hit squad headed by David Alfaro Sisqueiros.
    When that attack failed, he was assigned the task of carrying out the assassination himself.
    He struck Trostsky in the back of the head with an ice ax, inflicting a fatal wound.
    He claimed to police that his motive for the killing was that Trotsky had tried to prevent him and Ageloff from getting married.
    He refused to identify himself and it was over ten years before a check of fingerprint records with Spanish authorities established that he was Ramon Mercader.
    After the collapse of the USSR, declassified documents proved he had been a Soviet agent. (Not that there was much doubt.)
    After Sisqueiros's failed attack, he had the cojones to predict to Trotsky that the Soviets would use 'other methods' next time. (Although he was not quite bold enough to add, 'For example, they might send me after you with an ice ax.')
    He was beaten up by Trotsky's guards. (And was saved only by Trotsky shouting, 'Do not kill him! This man has a story to tell.')
    While in prison, he taught other inmates to read.
    After his release, he was named a Hero of the Soviet Union, that country's highest award (1961).

Credit: C. Fishel

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