By Lara Pullin
Miguel Marmol, known to his people and comrades as "the living legend", and to his enemies as "the red phantom", died of natural causes on June 24 in San Salvador at the age of 75. A dinner and video showing is being held in Marmol's memory and to launch the Canberra FMLN Election Fund Drive and Campaign, on Friday, August 27.
Marmol returned to El Salvador in September 1992 after 12 years in exile in Cuba and for the last eight months had been instrumental in the transition of the FMLN from its combatant role to that of a political party preparing to participate in elections in 1994.
At a tribute organised for the homecoming, Marmol reflected on the permanence of life in the revolutionary struggle, a struggle which he implored all to join as El Salvador now faces the task of constructing a new and just political system, a new society and a new way of thinking.
In 1921, aged 16, Marmol assisted in organising the general strike of Salvadoran shoemakers. In 1928, he founded of the clandestine School of Communist Studies and in 1929 was elected secretary of finances of the Regional Federation of Workers of El Salvador, forerunner to the Salvadoran Communist Party (PCS).
In 1930 he was a founding member, along with Farabundo Martí, of the (illegal) PCS and a delegate to the fifth Congress of the Red Trade Union International. Marmol was one of only four survivors of the Central Committee of the PCS in 1932, despite being captured along with all 44 members, shot and left for dead. At the same time over 30,000 insurgent peasants and indigenous people were killed.
Marmol resurfaced four months later and began reorganising the PCS and the revolutionary movement, and from that day he was marked for death. Yet he continued to work in El Salvador until 1980. Marmol wanted to join the armed struggle with his comrades, but the PCS implored him to leave the country and
assist the revolution from Cuba.
At 75 years of age Marmol was a living archive of PCS history, and indeed of the history of the Salvadoran peoples, of immense value to a movement which lost most of its records, written and human, during the war.
For more information about the memorial dinner, contact Bernardo Zamora on (06) 258 8845.